Greyhound Racing Betting - Professional betting sites

Race to find homes for greyhounds as pandemic closes Florida tracks

Race to find homes for greyhounds as pandemic closes Florida tracks submitted by discocrisco to florida [link] [comments]

CINEPLEX INC (TSX: $CGX ) STOCK OPPORTUNITY

CINEPLEX INC (TSX: $CGX ) STOCK OPPORTUNITY

Cineplex (TSX: $CGX)
CINEPLEX INC (TSX: $CGX ) STOCK OPPORTUNITY
Another great medium risk but high potential return stock. The stock has taken a beating because of Covid19 & movie theater closures.
Investors think Cineworld's C$34/share buyout offer will be cancelled, yet Reuter's reported, "Cineworld Says No Change In Co's Position On Cineplex Takeover Since March" on April 7. That's double your money at C$11.69 (at post) if it goes through.
Investors also think Cineplex will cancel their monthly $0.15 per share dividend in their next ER that they delayed until June 29, 2020.
Investors are discounting Cineplex's possible rise of online movie rentals to offset their onsite losses.
The odds don't get better than this but do your Due Diligence before investing.
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The Motley Fool described Cineplex as having a "virtual monopoly" over the cinema market in Canada.
#StockPick $CGX -- #ShakingTheTree with #Shorts hitting all the #Bulls #StopLoss down. Easy double or triple opportunity here. Do your #DueDiligence. Good luck to all.
#StockPick #CGX $CGX $CGX.TO
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MY DUE DILIGENCE:

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52 Week Range:
Low: C$6.30 (Coronavirus Crash)
High: C$34.39 (Buyout Offer)
CGX Stock Performance
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Cineplex Inc., formerly known as Cineplex Galaxy Income Fund and Galaxy Entertainment Inc. is a Canadian entertainment company headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. Through its operating subsidiary Cineplex Entertainment LP, Cineplex operates 165 theatres across Canada. The company operates theatres under numerous brands, including Cineplex Cinemas, Cineplex Odeon, SilverCity, Galaxy Cinemas, Cinema City, Famous Players, Scotiabank Theatres and Cineplex VIP Cinemas.
Divisions:
  • Cineplex Odeon
  • Galaxy
  • Famous Players
  • SilverCity
  • Colossus
  • Coliseum
  • Cinema City
  • Scotiabank Theatre
  • Cineplex Cinemas
  • Cineplex VIP Cinemas
Subsidiaries:
  • Cineplex Entertainment LP
  • Player One Amusement Group Inc.
  • Famous Players LP
  • Galaxy Entertainment Inc.
  • Cineplex Media
  • Cineplex Digital Media Inc.
  • Canadian Digital Cinema Partnership (78.2%)
  • Topgolf-Cineplex Canada LP (75%)
  • SCENE LP (50%)
  • Cineplex Entertainment Corporation
  • World Gaming Network Inc. (80%)
  • Alliance Cinemas
2019-present: Proposed acquisition by Cineworld
On December 16, 2019, Cineplex announced a definitive agreement to be acquired by the British cinema operator Cineworld Group, the second-largest film exhibitor worldwide, pending shareholder and regulatory approval. Cineworld would be paying $34 per-share—a 42% premium over Cineplex's share price prior to the announcement, valuing the company at CDN$2.8 billion. Cineworld planned to pay US$1.65 billion, and to fund the remainder by taking on debt.
The sale was approved by Cineplex shareholders in February 2020. Activist shareholder Bluebell Capital Partners called for the Canadian government to block the sale, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. which in turn led to the temporary closure(s) of all Cineplex movie theatres across Canada since March 16, 2020, and up until further notice.
https://www.cineplex.com
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cineplex_Entertainment
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Cineplex Store
Browse from over 8500 HD movies including the latest releases and earn SCENE points every time you rent or buy. Watch online or look for the Cineplex Store.
https://store.cineplex.com
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ESPORTS: WorldGaming Network (WGN), formerly Virgin Gaming (now owned by Cineplex), is an online video gaming platform that hosts head to head matches, tournaments and ladders for consoles and PC gamers. WorldGaming has had over 3 million gamers register for its platform worldwide which makes it one of the most robust and dynamic global eSports communities. There have been over 6.7 million matches played over 20,000 tournaments held on WorldGaming.com since 2010.
Newzoo: Global esports will top $1 billion in 2020, with China as the top market (Feb 25, 2020):
Global esports revenues will surpass $1 billion in 2020 for the first time — without counting broadcasting platform revenues, according to market researcher Newzoo.
Globally, the total esports audience will grow to 495.0 million people in 2020, Newzoo said. Esports Enthusiasts (people who watch more than once a month) make up 222.9 million of this number.
In 2020, $822.4 million in revenues—or three-quarters of the total market—will come from media rights and sponsorship.
“As the esports market matures, new monetization methods will be implemented and improved upon,” said Remer Rietkerk, head of esports at Newzoo, in the report. “Likewise, the number of local events, leagues, and media rights deals will increase; therefore, we anticipate the average revenue per fan to grow to $5.27 by 2023.”
https://venturebeat.com/2020/02/25/newzoo-global-esports-will-top-1-billion-in-2020-with-china-as-the-top-market
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VIRTUAL REALITY
On September 13, 2018, Cineplex announced that it would acquire a stake in VRStudios—a Seattle-based provider of virtual reality installations, and utilize its equipment for as many as 40 VR centers across the country.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cineplex_Entertainment
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PLAYDIUM
Playdium is a family entertainment centre chain owned by Cineplex Entertainment through its subsidiary Player One Amusement Group. The flagship location in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada launched as Sega City @ Playdium near Square One Shopping Centre on September 7, 1996. The 11 acres (480,000 sq ft) centre cost CA$17 million to build and included an arcade, batting cages, go-karts and mini-golf. A partnership with Sega GameWorks, it featured many arcade games from that company such as Daytona USA, and eight-player racing setups for Indy 500 (as Virtua Indy) and Manx TT Super Bike. Indy 500 remains available today. In 1999, the centre was renamed to Playdium. The company opened up two more locations in Brampton and Whitby in late 2019.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Player_One_Amusement_Group#Playdium
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The Rec Room
The Rec Room is a Canadian chain of entertainment restaurants owned by Cineplex Entertainment. First opening in Edmonton in 2016, its locations feature entertainment and recreational attractions such as an arcade, driving simulators, recreational games, and virtual reality, as well as restaurants and bars, and an auditorium with a cinema-style screen, which can be used for concerts and other live events.
The Toronto location features The Void virtual reality attraction. In July 2018, Cineplex announced that it would become the exclusive Canadian franchisee of The Void and add additional locations (such as the Mississauga and West Edmonton Mall locations).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rec_Room
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SCENE (loyalty program)
SCENE is a Canadian loyalty program established in 2007 by Cineplex Entertainment and Scotiabank.
The main reward is a free movie ticket, starting at 1,250 points for a regular or 3D ticket. Over the years, the program has expanded to include a greater variety of rewards, including restaurants and sporting goods.
https://www.scene.ca
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FOOD & BEVERAGES
Cineplex has an Outtakes (French: Restoplex) restaurant in 94 theatres, some which replace previous restaurant partners (Burger King, KFC and New York Fries) and others which introduce restaurants at locations which did not previously feature one. VIP Cinemas and some Xscape locations feature a licensed lounge with more premium offerings compared to Outtakes. Poptopia is a flavoured popcorn restaurant offered in a full-service format at 22 locations. Other Cineplex theatres may feature Poptopia at the concession stand, but only in the caramel corn and/or kettle corn flavours.
Ice cream at Cineplex locations debuted with Baskin-Robbins and TCBY. Beginning in December 2007, Yogen Früz became the preferred partner. On January 1, 2014, Cineplex acquired a 50% stake in Yoyo's Yogurt Café. As of January 2017, 77 Cineplex theatres feature Yoyo's restaurants, while Yogen Fruz is still available in 23 Cineplex theatres while TCBY is available in 16 locations. Cineplex also manages Melt Sweet Creations, an in-house dessert bouqtiue brand targeted at women ages 19-35 debuted in December 2017 at Cineplex Cinemas Queensway and VIP. Melt is available at 13 locations.
Beverages are available in both cold and hot formats. Cold beverages include the Coca-Cola lineup, which replaced the Pepsi lineup used at locations formerly owned by Famous Players. 12 locations feature Coca-Cola Freestyle. Hot beverages include Starbucks as the incumbent provider with 105 locations, all which offer Pike Place Roast coffee (regular or decaf) and Tazo tea. Select locations also offer premium drinks such as caffè mocha or caramel macchiato. Tim Hortons is available as a full-service restaurant in five locations,[75] with Brossard being the only location to offer both Tim Hortons and Starbucks.
In most theatres, Cineplex offers sale of alcohol to 19+ guests in Ontario (18+ in Alberta) similar to the VIP theatres albeit from a selection of beer or cider beverages.
If Aurora Cannabis (ACB) & Cineplex (CGX) partnered up to offer CBD & THC infused Cannabis 2.0 edibles in movie theaters, especially the IMAX & 3D ones, it should do very well. Canadian Cannabis Industry stocks should also do well as I posted earlier Cannabis Stocks Opportunity.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cineplex_Entertainment
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RECENT NEWS:

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Cineworld to buy Canada's largest movie theatre chain in $2.8B deal (Dec 16, 2019):
Cineplex’s stock had been trading close to the Cineworld offer price of C$34 per share through early 2020, but has since plunged 40% following the virus outbreak.
Cineplex could lose a potential lifeline if its outstanding debt exceeds more than $725 million. As of December 31, 2019, the debt level was $625 million. The debt might balloon past the threshold with a further lockdown extension.
https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/cineworld-to-buy-canada-s-largest-movie-theatre-chain-in-2-8b-deal-1.4731547
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Cineplex shares fall after short seller raises concerns about Cineworld deal (March 5, 2020):
https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/cineplex-shares-fall-after-short-seller-raises-concerns-about-cineworld-deal-1.4840173
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Cineworld Dives After Cineplex Activist Urges Rejection of Deal (March 16, 2020):
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-16/cineworld-dives-as-cineplex-activist-urges-canada-to-block-deal
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Cineplex closes locations, provides Cineworld acquisition update (March 17, 2020):
https://mediaincanada.com/2020/03/17/cineplex-to-close-all-canadian-locations
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Cineplex Inc. cuts salaries of full-time employees after part-time layoffs (Mar 23, 2020):
P/T employees laid off in Canada & USA. F/T employees take reduced base salaries & senior executive team takes 80% reduction in pay.
https://www.cp24.com/news/cineplex-inc-cuts-salaries-of-full-time-employees-after-part-time-layoffs-1.4864434
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Cineworld halts dividend and says will 'monitor progress' of its buyout of Cineplex (April 7, 2020):
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/cineworld-halts-dividend-and-says-will-monitor-progress-of-its-buyout-of-cineplex-2020-04-07
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Staggered seating, nostalgic films: Cinemark offers a look at movie going post-coronavirus (Apr 15, 2020):
Cinemark, the third-largest movie theater chain in the U.S., hopes to reopen at least some of its doors to the public in July.
With no major movie release until mid-July, theaters could play “library” movies, which are movies that have already previously been released in cinemas, for several weeks.
If social distancing restrictions are still in place the company said it would either sell every other reserved seat in the theater or suspend reservations and just sell 50% of the tickets per theater.
“Even at peak periods of time in a normal environment, our occupancy levels range from 20% to 30% and we can operate profitably during those scenarios...” - CEO Mark Zoradi
He added that Cinemark has seen attendance as low as 10% and still was able to turn a profit.
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/15/cinemark-offers-a-look-at-movie-going-post-coronavirus.html
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North Vancouver's Park & Tilford Cineplex permanently closed (May 20, 2020)
The company closed all 165 theatres across Canada in March due to COVID-19, but the 1,382-seat Brookesbank Avenue location won’t be among those reopening, Cineplex has confirmed.
With Cineplex closing its Lower Lonsdale theatre in 2019, it leaves Park Royal as the only place to catch a big screen flick on the North Shore.
“We thank the community for their patronage over the years, and look forward to welcoming them at neighbouring Cineplex Cinemas Park Royal and VIP,” said Sarah Van Lange, executive director of communications. “I’ll note that our intent is to repurpose the Park & Tilford theatre space, which we’ll have more details on at a later date.”
https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/vancouver-news/park-tilford-cineplex-movie-theatre-permanently-closed-north-vancouver-bc-2365365
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OTHER NEWS & RUMORS:

Why Amazon’s Rumored Buyout of AMC Entertainment Makes Sense (May 12, 2020):
If Amazon can buy AMC, they can most certainly by CGX & dominate & control most of North America's movie theaters. Amazon would then control Hollywood! Why stop there, they should buy Cineworld too.
https://investorplace.com/2020/05/why-amazons-rumored-buyout-of-amc-entertainment-makes-sense
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AMC Entertainment Surges 56% on Report of Talks With Amazon (May 11, 2020):
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/amc-entertainment-surges-56-report-133822697.html
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Alert: Cineplex (TSX:CGX) Could Be Acquired by This Incredibly Unlikely Source (May 12, 2020):
Despite Cineworld maintaining its commitment to buy Cineplex, the market has a different opinion. Remember, Cineplex agreed to be acquired at $34 per share. As I type this, the stock trades at $14.44. There’s no way the spread would be that wide, unless investors were writing off the acquisition completely.
Fortunately for beleaguered Cineplex shareholders, a new suitor could very well come along — one virtually nobody sees coming.
Although I think there’s potential for a private equity group or some other deep-pocketed investor taking a run at Cineplex’s cheap assets, there’s a much more interesting suitor on the horizon.
That acquirer is Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN).
https://www.fool.ca/2020/05/12/alert-cineplex-tsxcgx-could-be-acquired-by-this-incredibly-unlikely-source
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AMC says it will no longer play Universal Studios films (Apr 28, 2020):
“AMC believes that with this proposed action to go to the home and theaters simultaneously, Universal is breaking the business model and dealings between our two companies,” AMC Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron said in a letter addressed to Universal Studios Chairman Donna Langley.
Universal added that the company looked forward to having “additional private conversations” with AMC but was “disappointed by this seemingly coordinated attempt ... to confuse our position and our actions.”
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/28/amc-says-it-will-no-longer-play-universal-studios-films.html
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Cineworld joins AMC in banning films from Universal Studios (April 29, 2020):
Cineworld, the world’s second largest cinema chain, has followed its rival AMC in banning Universal Studios films from its cinemas when they reopen, after the Hollywood film-maker released Trolls On Tour direct to streaming platforms.
“There is a certain system of windows which are a custom in the market and this sets the time difference between the theatrical market and other ancillary markets, among them streaming. Any movie that will not respect this window will not be shown in Cineworld group,” Mooky Greidinger, Cineworld’s chief executive, said on Wednesday.
https://www.ft.com/content/3cc70161-e157-4ff1-bfbd-a886dd6d9af5
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Odeon bans all Universal Pictures films as studio skips cinema releases (Apr 29, 2020):
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/ap29/odeon-bans-all-universal-pictures-films-as-studio-skips-cinema-releases
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AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc.
AMC Theatres (originally an abbreviation for American Multi-Cinema; often referred to simply as AMC and known in some countries as AMC Cinemas or AMC Multi-Cinemas) is an American movie theater chain headquartered in Leawood, Kansas, and is the largest movie theater chain in the world. Founded in 1920, AMC has the largest share of the U.S. theater market ahead of Cineworld and Cinemark Theatres.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMC_Theatres
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Cineworld Group PLC
Cineworld is the world’s second largest cinema chain, with 9,518 screens across 790 sites in 11 countries: the UK, the US, Canada, Ireland, Poland, Romania, Israel, Hungary, Czechia, Bulgaria and Slovakia. The group’s primary brands are Regal (in the US), Cineworld and Picturehouse (in the UK & Ireland), Cinema City (throughout Europe) and Yes Planet (in Israel).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cineworld
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And Action! All the Movies We Can't Wait to See in Summer 2020 and Beyond (May 22, 2020):
Fingers crossed that it’ll be safe to step into a theater this summer. If they open, there will be plenty to watch. “Summer hits are the popcorn movies,” says film historian, author and podcast host Leonard Maltin. “They can be the biggest box-office hits of the whole year.”
Rest of 2020:
  • To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar - VIP (Jun 1)
  • Unhinged (Jul 1)
  • Tenet (Jul 17)
  • Mulan (Jul 24)
  • Summerland (Jul 31)
  • Random Acts Of Violence (Jul 31)
  • The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run (Aug 7)
  • Sound of Metal (Aug 14)
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (Aug 14)
  • Fatima (Aug 14)
  • The One And Only Ivan (Aug 14)
  • The New Mutants (Aug 20)
  • Bill & Ted Face the Music (Aug 21)
  • Antebellum (Aug 21)
  • Monster Hunter (Sep 4)
  • A Quiet Place Part II (Sep 4)
  • The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Sep 11)
  • The King's Man (Sep 18)
  • Candyman (Sep 25)
  • Tom Clancy's Without Remorse (Oct 2)
  • BIOS (Oct 2)
  • Death On The Nile (Oct 9)
  • The Witches (Oct 9)
  • The French Dispatch (Oct 16)
  • Halloween Kills (Oct 16)
  • Snake Eyes (Oct 23)
  • Lord And Miller Connected (Oct 23)
  • Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Oct 23)
  • Come Play (Oct 30)
  • Black Widow (Nov 6)
  • Clifford The Big Red Dog (Nov 13)
  • Deep Water (Nov 13)
  • Godzilla Vs. Kong (Nov 20)
  • Soul (Nov 20)
  • Happiest Season (Nov 20)
  • James Bond ‘No Time To Die’ (Nov 25)
  • Free Guy (Dec 11)
  • Dune (Dec 18)
  • Untitled Coming To America Sequel (Dec 18)
  • West Side Story (Dec 18)
  • Top Gun: Maverick (Dec 23)
  • Untitled Tom & Jerry Film (Dec 23)
  • The Croods 2 (Dec 23)
  • News Of The World (Dec 25)
  • Escape Room 2 (Dec 30)
2021:
  • Mortal Kombat (Jan 15)
  • Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (Jan 15)
  • 355 (Jan 15)
  • Chaos Walking: The Knife of Never Letting Go (Jan 22)
  • Rumble (Jan 29)
  • Cinderella (Feb 5)
  • Nobody (Feb 26)
  • Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Mar 5)
  • Raya And The Last Dragon (Mar 12)
  • Sony/Marvel Morbius (Mar 19)
  • The Boss Baby 2 (Mar 26)
  • Reminiscence (Apr 16)
  • Ron's Gone Wrong (Apr 23)
  • Shang Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings (May 7)
  • Spiral: From The Book Of Saw (May 21)
  • Cruella (May 28)
  • F9 Fast & Furious (Apr 2)
  • Bob's Burgers (Apr 9)
  • Infinite (May 28)
  • Space Jam 2 (Jul 16)
  • Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (Jul 16)
  • In the Heights (Jun 18)
  • Minions: The Rise Of Gru (Jul 2)
  • All This Victory (Aug 7)
  • The Woman in the Window (TBD 2021)
  • Blithe Spirit (TBD 2021)
  • The Personal History of David Copperfield (TBD 2021)
  • Greyhound (TBD)
& MUCH, MUCH MORE MOVIES than listed coming to the big screens.
THE 65 MOST ANTICIPATED MOVIES OF 2020 (May 20, 2020):
https://editorial.rottentomatoes.com/article/most-anticipated-movies-of-2020
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CONCLUSION:
Nothing beats watching a great movie on the big screen in premium format:
  • Prime Seats
  • IMAX
  • UltraAVX
  • D-Box
  • VIP Cinemas
  • 4DX
I'm sick of the congested internet & buffering of online movies & services during Covid19. They need to upgrade the internet infrastructure to 5G & Fiber Optics before it can really grow in my opinion -- especially buffering 4K & 8K movies & future tech that will only require more bandwidth going forward.
Younger people are not afraid of Covid19 like the older crowd. When theaters open, they will rush in to see their favourite movies.
Betting that people won't want to go to movie theaters when they re-open, is like betting the same against live sporting events or music concerts.
No home movie theater can match a real movie theater, even the smaller discount ones, unless you're Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos etc.
With Cineplex's Canadian Monopoly & diversification into other entertainment arenas like eSports & Virtual Reality, as long as they don't go bankrupt & social distancing restrictions are loosened, the stock should increase 2 to 3 times by end of 2021 in my opinion -- especially if the Cineworld Buyout goes as planned or another company like Amazon buys them out for a strong presence & control in Canada.
If a Coronavirus Vaccine is discovered sooner than later, then this stock will rebound accordingly & rapidly -- especially if they don't cancel or even if they do, resume Dividend payments in the future. At current prices, Dividend yield is about 13% per year.
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Social distance cinema: drive-in theatres boom – in pictures (May 5, 2020):
We are all social creatures & want to go to movie theater as a social activity, to see & be seen; otherwise, why would Drive In Movie theaters boom during Covid19?
If no one goes out to be seen anymore, then all the Vanity Goods & Services will go under too & we will all dress in sweat pants & T-Shirt -- no need for designer suits & dresses working & staying at home. LOL ;p
https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2020/may/05/social-distance-cinema-drive-in-theatres-boom-coronavirus-in-pictures
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Internet Bandwidth Requirements:
Online streaming remains the biggest source of 4K content, led by Netflix and Amazon’s growing selection of original series. But many consumer broadband connections aren’t fast enough to allow reliable 4K streaming.
Home Theater Movie Resolutions:
  • 4K (UHD): 3,840 x 2,160 pixels
  • 1080p (Full HD): 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
  • 720p (HD): 1,280 x 720 pixels
  • 480p (SD): 640 x 480 pixels
  • 8K: 7,680 x 4,320 pixels
For comparison purposes, 70mm film - still considered by many to be the gold standard - is roughly equivalent to a 12K resolution in digital terms, so digital's still got some catching up to do on that score.
submitted by extriniti to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

[Tales From the Terran Republic] Crimson

The rest of the series can be found here
***
Sasha Blake lounged near a Starsprinter, a small fast “courier class” Terran freighter. She tried to at least look calm. A Terran Intelligence operative just standing here with her tits hanging out with the fucking Feds on the way? Not smart.
She took a long slow hit on a vape pen taking in a lungful of bliss, a mild relaxant and euphoric, something she would normally never do on a mission but her nerves were shot. They had slaughtered over a hundred Fed agents not that long ago.
Hell, she had pulled the trigger on a few of them herself. They had to be dying for payback.
Helen had better fucking know what she was doing.
A nondescript pale gray cargo van pulled up and a very nervous looking pol-ka got out. Sasha winced. He was so fucking obvious… and scared. He actually looked worse than she did. It was the opposite of reassuring. There were way too many raw nerves and itchy trigger fingers in one spot for her comfort.
The pol-ka, his crest fully deflated and looking around constantly, spotted her. She raised her hand and brushed her hair over her left ear, the signal. He walked up.
“Excuse me, is this ship the Green Greyhound?” he asked.
“No, it’s the Silver Slipper,” she replied.
“I see,” he replied swallowing back a mouthful of nervous mucus. “I am very sorry for your loss, ma’am.”
“Eh, I never really did like the miserable fuck. Good riddance to bad rubbish,” she replied completing the passphrase.
The pol-ka nodded and returned to the van. He opened the back and guided a floating coffin over to where Sasha was standing.
“Sign here, please,” he said producing a tablet. She scrawled a couple of nonsense words. “So, is this as strange for you as it is for me?” he asked with a little smile.
“Stranger,” she replied returning his smile. “I was half expecting a stun bolt and a neural inductor.”
“And I,” he said still looking about, “am expecting to be gifted with an extra orifice any second. Let’s hope things go back to normal soon. I am much more comfortable stabbing your kind in the shadows.”
“Likewise,” she laughed. “Nice meeting you, peckerhead.”
“Have a good trip, Terran animal,” he replied finally relaxing a little. He, trying not to trot, quickly walked to the van and drove off.
Sasha just shook her head as he drove off. “Can’t believe I’m fucking doing this...” she muttered as she guided the floating coffin into her ship.
***
Jaxona was standing in Jon’s office swinging back and forth anxiously in her globe while Jon drank a cup of coffee and reviewed some reports.
“Great!” Jaxona said with a happy little swirl. “Just got word that the, um… package… has been delivered!”
“Good,” Jon replied with a smile, “Glad that’s over with. Thanks for not shooting our agent.”
“Oh we would never do that!” Jaxona exclaimed. “We had a deal and everything!”
“Yeah,” Jon chuckled, “And you actually kept it. We have have some scientists just dying to tear into the little present you just gave us.”
“Super!” Jaxona exclaimed. “I hope you guys have better luck than we did cause we didn’t find out a darn thing!”
“No promises,” Jon replied. “We’ve been going over some pretty detailed scans for a little while now. I have to hand it to her. The vampire has really done it this time. I know you have your hopes up because of our reputation but what she has achieved… fuck. It’s years ahead of its time.”
“Vampire?”
“A Terran monster legend from the days of old, a quite fitting title for our mutual friend.” Jon smiled.
“Oh neat! I will read up on them!” Jaxona exclaimed bouncing up and down happily. “Well, I should probably scoot! Bye!” Jaxona said as she started backing out of his office. “Bye!… Bye!...”
“Bye!” Jon replied smiling despite himself. He liked the little fish. He was, however, disinclined to buy her whole “nice fish” act. You don’t get to be a Kalent Forum anything by being all sweetness and light especially at her age and she was “innocently” wheeling and dealing corpses like it was everyday business. He really wished he could bring Republic Intelligence to bear on that little eel, find out what her deal actually was.
Still, despite more than a few suspicions, he liked her. Didn’t trust her any further than he could throw her bot but he liked her.
***
Mark Black sat at the yacht club with his wife Shelly.
“You’re staring again,” she said with a smile on her face.
“I can’t help it, you’re beautiful,” he replied. She was. She was just as beautiful as the day he bought her. He was just a young raider back then. Not only did she cost everything he had he had to kill two other people just to keep her.
On the bright side, the killings catapulted him into a leadership position among the Long Shanks. Over the years during both the Sol Wars and the years that followed he built upon that, clawing, biting, and killing his way up the ranks until he finally sat on Grant Shanks right side.
After Mr. Shanks’ untimely demise he was the one who wound up on top. Now, with the fall of the Red Teeth they were poised to become the single most powerful human organization, both legal and illegal, in the Federation.
And he owed it all to her, his muse, his princess. The fight to obtain her and to keep her was what put him where he was today. He took a sip of wine and smiled at her again.
She was just too beautiful.
Shelly smiled back at him fondly. He wasn’t exactly what one would call ravishingly handsome but he certainly wasn’t ugly and what lurked between his ears was rare, a combination of intelligence, ruthlessness, and yet at the same time warmth and love… well for her anyway.
And after all isn’t that what matters?
He took her from a slave pen, starvation, and rape to a safe warm cabin. After she met him she was never hungry (well starving anyway) or afraid again. After the wars, their prospects steadily rose higher and higher as they climbed a blood soaked stairway all the way to the top. What he couldn’t outsmart he simply crushed beneath his feet. He was the perfect man, warm and caring to his family and utterly ruthless to everyone else. Back in the day she ruled the station. Few dared challenge her when all she had to do was snap her fingers and Mark would kill.
She looked down at her hands, the hands of a young woman! This was unbelievable, truly miraculous.
She frowned. She just wished that they didn’t have to make a deal with the literal devil to get it.
“What’s wrong?” Mark asked, “Did they screw up your steak again? If they did...”
“No, it’s fine,” she replied slicing it and holding up a piece for inspection. “Look. Perfect medium-rare.” She took a sip of some truly excellent wine and tried to smile. He wouldn’t buy it. He always saw through her fake smiles.
“Then what is it?”
“I just wish we weren’t in bed with that monster.”
Mark sighed. They have had this conversation before, several times.
“Grant wasn’t much better, darling,” he replied as he sipped some more wine. “Dark days require dark deals, remember?”
“But are they?” Shelly asked. “Are they dark days? We have everything we ever wanted. We’re even legitimate now… mostly…”
“Slowly dying of old age make for some pretty dark days in my book,” Mark chuckled. “It’s nice not hurting every goddamn morning and being able to properly make love to you without throwing out my back is worth another dance with the devil or two. You have to admit it’s nice.”
“Yes, dear, but at what cost?” Shelly asked scratching her arm uncomfortably.
“It’s still itching?” Mark asked with concern.
“A little,” she replied. “The doctor says that it’s a normal reaction to the treatment. According to him it will pass.”
“Great!” Mark replied. “And as far as dealing with her is concerned, she may be evil incarnate but she respects strength. It will work out just fine. You’ll see! We will have everything we ever dreamed of!”
“We already did,” Shelly said in a less than happy voice.
***
Late that evening Jon was laying awake in bed at the embassy. Skippy had gone back to her home system to handle council business. Christ, he missed her. It was only for a few days but it felt like forever.
He chuckled. He was pining away like some lovesick kid. He pulled out the latest message from her and played the little video she attached for what was probably the hundredth time. It was just her walking through some very normal looking woods doing some foraging and identifying various plants and strange looking animals for him. Nothing tawdry but he just loved watching it. Her toothy grin just lit up the whole room.
It sucked when she was gone but he did enjoy going to the noodle shop without her. The owner was much freer with the disapproving glances when she was gone. He decided that he was going to try to learn their language. There was no way in hell that he could ever speak it but he would just love to know what that ratty hare was muttering under his breath when nobody else was around.
He bet it was funny as hell.
As he was drifting off to sleep the communicator he kept under his pillow issued a series of tones in a particular sequence. It was their code for “incoming”. He reached into a pocket that he had next to his mattress and pulled out his sidearm.
Just as he got himself properly positioned and the pistol properly concealed the door to his room silently opened and a slender figure entered completely without a sound.
“Easy, there,” a familiar voice purred. “I just came to chat.”
Oh shit, Jon thought, Crimson. He was more than a little concerned. He had read her file. She was bad news. If she made a move he wasn’t entirely sure he could stop her. Red-tips only work if you actually hit the target.
“Ok, so talk,” Jon replied standing up no longer bothering to hide his sidearm. His people were on the way. He didn’t have to stall her for long.
“Just wanted a few minutes with the man who denied the queen bitch herself,” Crimson said with a smile as she plopped onto a couch intentionally putting herself in a vulnerable position. “You’re the only one who has, in case you didn’t know.”
“She send you here to give it another try?” Jon asked with a smirk. “Hang on,” he said pulling out his communicator. “Stand down,” he said into it.
“Sir?” Toby’s voice replied.
“We’re good here,” Jon said. “Just hold position for now.”
“Yes, sir.”
Crimson smiled. “Thanks for calling off the death squad.”
“Didn’t feel like getting my bedroom shot to hell for no reason,” Jon replied.
“Returning to our conversation, she didn’t send me,” Crimson replied, “And while I would love to have a taste of what she couldn’t get I’m pretty sure you won’t let me get close enough to try.” she chuckled. “Besides, your heart belongs to another doesn’t it?”
“What?” Jon asked as nonchalantly as he could. He could hear his heart beating in his chest. If they know...
“It’s the only logical conclusion,” Crimson chuckled. “When Patricia visited you the night before you absolutely humiliated her,” she said her eyes gleaming with delight, “she dosed you with a pretty nasty poison.”
“Did she now?” Jon replied calmly.
“Before she entered the room she bit into one of these,” Crimson said putting a small capsule on the coffee table. “The vapors trigger an avalanche of hormones and neurotransmitters in the victim. It causes something akin to the combination of love at first sight, your wedding day, and seeing your newborn child all at the same time but several times more powerful. When she hit you with that and then did something to imprint herself in your mind it should have locked her in as the sole object of your… well your everything. It’s pretty nasty stuff.”
Jon nodded silently. That explained a lot.
“There are only three ways that you could have shaken it,” Crimson said. “The first is that you just happened to have an antidote and even we don’t have a good one. We can only treat the effects. The second way is that you simply have the will of a god.” she chuckled. “Even then it would still be eating you up inside. Unless you are the actor of the century that doesn’t seem to be the case.”
“I did take theater in high school,” Jon snickered.
“The third and only way that I consider remotely possible,” Crimson smiled, “Is that you already had someone you already were bonded to. For a normal person, it wouldn’t be enough. That bond would be overwritten by that snake. However, if the victim has a strong enough will and their feelings for their mate were deep enough it is possible that the poison would drive them into their arms instead of the clutches of our favorite bitch. You have someone we don’t know about, don’t you?”
“That sounds like the plot of a really bad romance novel,” Jon said dismissively as he planned the shot he was about two seconds from taking.
“You left the embassy not long after she dosed you and were gone the entire night,” Crimson said, “We couldn’t follow you because we were being hunted but we do know when you left and when you returned… in a much better mood.”
Jon frowned. That meant they had eyes in the front of the house.
“Ralph Jessup,” Crimson said with a grin. “You are wondering who told us, he’s one of ours now.”
Jon didn’t reply. He just snarled. He had known Jessup for years. She could be lying but he knew deep down she wasn’t.
Crimson pulled out a slip of paper.
“Here is a list of everyone we have turned here in the embassy,” she said as she dropped it on the coffee table alongside the capsule.
“Awfully nice of you,” Jon said narrowing his eyes at Crimson. “Why the gift? I’m pretty sure the vampire wouldn’t be too happy with you if she found out.”
“Short answer,” Crimson replied, “I hate her.”
“And the long answer?”
“I assume you have a file on me?” Crimson asked. “What did it say about how I joined her merry little band of psychopaths?”
“It said that you were a member of a raider gang they hit and that your final stand was so impressive that she recruited you.”
“Heh,” Crimson chuckled darkly, “That’s one way of putting it. Do you know why my last stand was so ‘heroic’?”
“That wasn’t in the file.”
“My epic last stand was in a corridor. There were… people behind me… people very important to me.”
“Oh,” Jon said grimly.
“Yeah, out of ammo, using one of their swords… I was holding my own… Until she walked up. She… toyed with me… I was nothing but a joke to her, Jon. It was like fighting… nothing… a shadow. She just laughed and knocked me down… again and again and again… taunting me… Each time she knocked me down she just laughed and reminded me who was behind me… Told me what they were going to do to them… Over and over and over till I couldn’t get up anymore… Then she… she… just kicked me to the side and walked past me with her men and they… they… I could hear them… the begging… the screams…”
“Christ...” Jon muttered.
Crimson trailed off into silence for a little while.
“Then they came for me. I thought I would be next but no. I was brought in front of her. They had a… a table laid out… She told me that I had proven my worth and that I had a choice. I could sit at the table and live or I could join my friends and family on it… alive… I… I should have spit in her face… or attacked her… but… I wanted to live, Jon. There was nobody left to defend, no lives to protect anymore except my own so I… I ate. I ate my own… God… I just wanted to live, Jon. I should have… well it doesn’t matter now does it?”
“Crimson… I’m sorry...”
“Don’t be. I don’t deserve it. I was a coward… am a coward… Anyway, I had just done the absolute worst thing I could have ever done… it broke me. For a long time I didn’t care anymore. I was a horrible person running with horrible people and doing what I needed to in order to survive. I was in hell and if I was in hell I might as well become one of her demons. She was… is… very good to those who please her so that’s exactly what I did. No matter what she asked, no matter how fucked up, how evil, I did it without hesitation. Wasn’t long before I died inside and it became easy and I was just another of her lieutenants, and later a Bloodlord.”
“So you are saying that you didn’t have a choice?”
“No. I had a choice and I made it,” Crimson replied calmly. “I chose to do whatever I had to to survive and prosper. And it paid off. After the wars we became a business and political organization and I had wealth and power and all the nice things that came with it. For most of the last hundred and fifty years I’ve handled paperwork and less than above board deals. I was a businesswoman, mostly. Aside from the sacrament we were just like any other mega-corporation.”
“The sacrament?” Jon asked dubiously.
“Yeah, her ladyship likes to ‘remind us of our roots’ by having the upper echelon engage in ritual cannibalism on a regular basis. Well, that and she enjoys it.”
“Christ...”
“It’s mostly porkies,” Crimson said dismissively. “Well that and people who cross her. Your little mouse hasn’t been brought to the table yet, by the way, but she will. Her ladyship has her sights on that poor little rodent.”
“Dawn?” Jon asked in alarm.
“Yeah, poor kid,” Crimson replied. “She has no idea what she is about to get into. Soon, very soon, she will be given the same option we all had. Sit at the table or be on it.”
Jon took a deep breath and with a little effort kept his composure.
“If anything happens to her...”
“You have much bigger worries than the mouse, my friend,” Crimson replied. “Right now her ladyship has bigger concerns but once the next phase of her plans are underway she will be coming for you and your sweet little girlfriend. She had dreams of adding you to our fold but those dreams have been dashed and you are now a threat not to mention the fact that you humiliated her in front of her men. Too many of us know exactly what happened. We don’t dare speak of it but we know she was defeated. She can’t let that stand. She is also a petty vindictive bitch. You need to be ready and if there is someone that you love here in the capital you need to get them the fuck away, far away.”
“Since you are in a talkative mood,” Jon said sitting down on the edge of his bed, “feel like letting me know what her plans are?”
“Sure,” Crimson said with a smile. “Her endgame goal is complete control of the Republic and to remake it into her vision of what humanity should be. It might come as a surprise that her vision of humanity doesn’t have a lot of humanity in it. She is going to tear the whole Republic down, plunge it into anarchy, just like the good old days.”
“Fuck me,” Jon said quietly.
“Yeah, she wants to bring the Sol Wars back and this time she is planning on winning. Patricia Hu will be the Zeus Corp of the thirty-second century and the Republic will be just a memory if she pulls it off.”
“Easier said than done.”
“True, that’s why she has been planning this for decades, putting the right people in the right positions, stockpiling materials, supplies, food, and weapons, funding research, development, exploration… you name it. Looking back, I believe she has been thinking of this ever since the Sol Wars ended.”
“As much as I want to say this would be impossible I have studied history,” Jon said grimly. “How is she planning on doing this?”
“War,” Crimson replied. “She is going to cause total war with the Federation. Originally it was supposed to be a war with the Empire but after the Great War she altered her plans. After our last little dance the Federation isn’t going to fuck around. They will mass their entire fleet and their entire army and they will won’t be trying to ‘liberate’ or subdue us. They will be coming to destroy us. Their fear of us will turn them into exactly the tool that she wants them to be.”
“Even then,” Jon said, “even if they send their entire fleet it will just be one big shooting gallery. Our system defenses and our navy-”
“Will be compromised,” Crimson said. “She has people everywhere. Our defense stations and our ships will be sabotaged. Ideally it will be civilians and just enough military left to put up a valiant, doomed, resistance.”
“How?” Jon asked his blood running cold. At any other time he would laugh something this ridiculous off but considering the source it sounded entirely too possible.
“I’m not involved in that part of the planning,” Crimson replied. “From what I’ve gathered it is going to be a combination of good old fashioned bombs, even the Retribution can’t survive if one of it’s nukes goes off inside, and malware that will knock out the controls of the numerous smaller craft like the shrikes or cause a premature detonation of ordinance. Pretty much the entire navy will go down. Then, it will just be the civilians and whatever few naval vessels that can slip the noose. It will still be one hell of a fight but we will tragically and heroically lose that first decisive battle. It will then be revealed that ‘traitors’ inside the Republic’s own government were responsible and a coup under the guise of eliminating those ‘traitors’ will take place. The coup will be intentionally very messy and result in the engineered collapse of the entire Republic. From the fires, death, and chaos a new leader will rise. People will be afraid, enraged, grief-stricken… hungry… They will be screaming for revenge and who better than the Horde Mother of old to offer them exactly what they will want, fire, blood, and death. She never trusted peace. She never trusted the Republic. She never trusted any other race except Republic humans, just like anyone with any sense should. She will have supplies, ships, weapons, medicine, everything the Terrans will need. She will be their salvation.”
“But what about the Federation?” Jon asked.
“Even if they win and win big at first do you honestly think they can hold Terran space? If the Juon Empire at its worst couldn’t take Sol what chance does the Federation have? New forces will be raised and new ships built at the Grand Shipyards all under the ‘immortals’ that have taken power in the chaos. They will then put her in charge and under her leadership the Federation will be driven off. Then, with the Terrans bloodied and screaming for payback the war will be taken to the Federation and it won’t stop. The more bloody and costly the better, at least at first.”
“She can’t possibly think she can destroy the entire Federation,” Jon said quietly.
“Never underestimate the Terran people, Jon,” Crimson said with a grim smile. “With the Grand Shipyards untouched, the rapidly recovering economy completely mobilized, and the entire remaining population as potential warriors we can field an amazing force in a very short time and we can keep pumping out the next generations of cannon fodder as we go. If raised to fight from birth you can field a warrior at a very young age especially if they are flying a fighter or crewing a warship. Child soldiers are unthinkable now but when the survival of the ‘real’ human race is a stake? Of course that also involves indoctrination from birth doesn’t it? In a few short decades mankind as you know it will no longer exist, replaced by a species where their very humanity has been replaced by ‘resolve’. The genocidal rise of the Terran Empire will begin. She has a flag and everything.”
“She’s insane.”
“You just figuring that out?,” Crimson laughed. “She's bugshit crazy but it doesn’t mean it won’t work. The details are chilling.” She reached into a pocket and pulled out a data crystal and set it on the coffee table next to the slip of paper and capsule of love poison. “I wrote down everything I know about it on there including lists of all known conspirators.” She smiled sadly. “Unfortunately I don’t have a complete list of those in the Republic. Aside from her ladyship only Monarch and Marrow knows all of them. I do, however, have a complete list of those in the Federation and that will be very important very soon.”
“I’m afraid to ask.”
“To answer that we have to ask another question,” Crimson said with a grim smile. “You’ve never asked how she is so sure that her people will do exactly what she tells them to do and will hand over power to her without any issues.”
“I was wondering about that.”
“There is an old saying, ‘If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.’ Her fountain of youth is a perfect example,” Crimson said with a dark chuckle. “Let’s just say that if I had an option I wouldn’t have taken advantage of it.”
“Oh?”
“It isn’t a cure for old age, it’s a treatment,” Crimson said with a smile. “And once you start that treatment you really really don’t want to stop. You stop the treatment, you die… badly. Your cells start to mutate and die and you go from young and beautiful to necrotic and cancerous. They don’t realize it yet but every single person who has taken her up on her wonderful generous gift is now completely dependent upon her for the rest of their lives. She is, of course, in complete control of the formula. She isn’t happy with you, you get cut off and die. She dies or becomes imprisoned, everyone dies. Of course she also offered the treatments to their spouses and other family members as well.”
“How did she manage to pull that off?”
“The formula is in several parts all of which are encrypted. Only she has the codes. Each of her labs has no idea what they are making and someone as fanatical as Marrow himself is present during the entire synthesis. The doctors know how to assemble the retroviruses and other components and administer the treatment but they are just following a recipe and scanning is not the best idea because once again, one of her mindless zealots is standing right there. The actual researchers are sequestered at a very secure site and sorry, I don’t know where it is. From what I understand it’s quite lovely but they are never leaving. You would have to ask Marrow or maybe Monarch but I don’t think they will be very forthcoming. Besides, the researchers are still very very busy for a very good reason.”
“Do tell.”
“It may not surprise you but we are very big on innovation but not quite so big on ethics,” Crimson said with a wry smile.
“Shocker,” Jon replied calmly as he tried to process everything he was hearing.
“You know all those pesky regulations when it comes to human trials? Yeah, we skipped those,” Crimson chuckled. “Funny thing about all of those guidelines and regulations. They do slow you down, a lot, but they also enforce good research, good science. They keep you from cutting corners.” Crimson grinned with genuine pleasure. “In this case, maybe cutting all those corners wasn’t the best idea.”
“Are you saying what I think you are saying?”
“Yep, this wonderful magical fountain of youth?” Crimson laughed, “It’s flawed. We’re all dying... slowly... but dying just the same.”
“No shit?” Jon asked happily.
“No shit,” Crimson chuckled. “The treatments still work but we are having to slowly but surely increase the frequency of them to prevent degradation. What was supposed to be a yearly treatment became every ten months, then eight… It’s still a little less than eight months but we are doing them twice a year now. The increased frequency seems to slow down the underlying issue but it’s not stopping it. We are young and pretty but our lifespans definitely have not gone up, quite the contrary actually. We probably only have a few years to fix this, if it can be fixed, and our research team has, despite very strong encouragement, not made much progress.”
“And she’s still planning on this whole Terran Empire bullshit?”
“Not until she fixes the treatment,” Crimson smiled grimly. “That’s where the porkies come in.”
“What do the porkies have to do with this?”
“Do you honestly think Patricia fucking Hu would ever work with the porkies?” Crimson laughed. “She hates them more than any person that I know. Seriously, take the worst hate-monger you have ever heard and multiply it by a hundred. I think it’s why we were so fucked up back in the day. She just hated them that bad. And speaking of fucked up, what she has done to them this time is one of the worst things she has ever done to our little curly-tailed friends.”
“I take it that their ‘treatments’ have a little less treat in them?” Jon asked dreading the answer.
“You got it. Our favorite psychopath decided that what this little problem required was a larger sample size. The treatment that they have received is rapidly degrading, designed to last just long enough to look good before it turns to shit.”
“That’s a lot of trouble to go to for just a few more lab rats,” Jon replied.
“Not just a few more lab rats,” Crimson said grimly. “There is another difference between our treatment and theirs. Our treatment relies heavily on retroviruses. Their treatment, however, has a true viral stage.”
“Oh fuck me...”
“Yep. It is becoming very very contagious, like bio-weapon contagious. It will spread like wildfire targeting the people in closest proximity first, namely the other movers and shakers. In one fell swoop she will start to wipe out the porkies from the top down. From country clubs to boardrooms they will all start to sicken and die horribly as the effects of end stage degradation sets in immediately. Both the rapid spread and the status of the first victims will immediately have researchers across the Federation, both human and non human on the case within days. Fearing its spread the Republic and the Empire will undoubtedly follow suit. Instead of one research team working on her little problem she will have the entire galaxy. Think of it as enforced crowdsourcing. We may even get lucky and someone will wind up to be immune to the effects.”
“If she wants a war that will do it,” Jon said grimly.
“Way ahead of you,” Crimson chuckled. “A manifesto from an as yet unknown porkie terrorist group is about to be released calling it retribution for the rich corrupt “porkie slime” starting the war that destroyed their homes and killed their loved ones. They will of course be found only to discover all of them dead from the same killer virus. Their research logs will indicate that the virus was not intended to be easily transmittable. Quite the contrary in fact. It will look like they screwed up big time and that the porkies unleashed the plague on themselves,” Crimson said with a dark laugh. “We can’t have civilization ending just yet. We need them to fix our fuck up first. When they come up with a cure for the bio-weapon we will be able to use that to either completely fix or at least treat our degradation problem. At the very least we get centuries of extra man hours worth of research. As a plus she gets to kill a shitload of porkies.”
“I would shoot her myself but I have to figure out a way to fix this,” Jon muttered.
“You don’t think it hasn’t been tried?” Crimson laughed. “She’s… inhuman. It’s like she can smell the bullets and now that this ball is in play she is going to be well protected by some very good people.”
“You mean people like you?”
“No.”
“No?”
“You think I’m walking back there after this little visit?” Crimson laughed. “I’m walking right out the front door and then I’m going to run and never look back. The degradation can claim me. I deserve it. I’m done with this, all of this. I… I just can’t… not anymore… Not again… I can’t… I won’t.”
“Why?” Jon asked, “Why now?”
“Because you have given me hope,” Crimson replied. “When you overcame the poison, overcame her, it showed that you are stronger than she ever will be. I’ve never seen that before. Nobody has ever been stronger than she is. I didn’t think anyone could stop her, ever, but you… You just might. I have long thought that I was only ever going to get one shot at bringing her down. I’ve just taken it.” Crimson pointed her finger towards the back of the embassy and said, “Bang.”
Jon looked into her exhausted eyes and nodded.
“I will stop her,” Jon said evenly, “Nobody fucks with my Republic, nobody. Hey, instead of turning tail and running how about actually standing up to that bitch? We could use you. You know more about her organization than anyone. While you are waiting to die why not take a few more shots at them?”
“You would actually trust me?” Crimson asked hopefully.
“Fuck no!” Jon laughed. “I’m envisioning a safe house with a nice heavy locking door and some really nice Terrans who are very skilled at getting the truth out of people.”
Crimson just laughed… then cried… and then just nodded.
“Right,” Jon said, “Keep your ass right on that couch.” He picked up his communicator.
“Toby.”
“Sir.”
“I need the security van and an armed escort team, our people. Tell them to be ready to play.”
“Yes, sir.”
***
Once the hallways had been cleared and secured and Crimson handcuffed and led away Jon walked to his office with all of the items Crimson left behind. He brewed himself a cup of coffee and paged through the contents of the data crystal that Crimson gave him.
This could work. God help us. This could actually work, he thought in horror then after a moment he smiled wickedly. All he had to do was fuck things up. He was good at fucking things up.
Speaking of fucking things up… Command decision time!
He picked up his communicator and dialed a number.
“Wha?… ” a very sleepy kalent voice answered.
“Having a good evening?” Jon asked.
“I… I...” Jaxona said really groggily.
“Well wake up, I’m about to ruin it. We need to meet. Now.”
“It had better be fucking important, cockbite.” she growled in a very odd yet strangely familiar tone of voice.
“What the fuck?!?!”
“Wha?… Sorry… still waking up… Sorry! Forgive me! I didn’t mean it! I was just...”
“No problem,” Jon said as a grin slowly started to spread across is face. “Are you awake, now?”
“Yeah! Sorry! What do you need? Sorry!” Jaxona exclaimed in a nervous squeaky voice.
“I need to meet with you, both of you, right fucking now!”
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[SF] The first chapter of a potential book that I submitted as an assignment for Science Fiction at school. It involves the Trump Monument, Nuclear War, and a human thought experiment to preserve humanity. Let me know what you think!

-1-
It was a cold November morning in Washington, D.C. The sun had yet to peek over the Trump Monument, the tallest point in the capitol since 2020. In fact, the sun hardly covered more than half the city at a time because it was usually blocked by what some might call a ‘pinnacle of engineering aptitude.’ The monument appeared nearly identical to that of the Washington Monument, but after the demolition of the latter, for what congress called “something much better”, the Trump Monument now towered at 2,500 feet from the ground, and covered a span of nearly 5 blocks. According to the history books, the monument was originally erected as a “tribute to the greatness of this country”, proclaimed by then president Donald Trump, although to the wise it may stand as a symbol of oppression; keeping those deemed lesser in the shadow of those deemed greater, only for the lesser to be inevitably crushed by (possibly quite literally) their tribute to greatness in the end. Each year, this fate became seemingly more certain to those who know it, but as money filled the pockets of the capitalists in their endeavors, accepting ignorance in exchange for giving up morality and aptitude, the care for the matter seemed less and less urgent. Those outside of the government were too concerned for their wallets to be concerned about the world outside of business. The year is now 2051, and the government that has worked so hard to plug the holes in their sinking ship of debt has reached the brink of global nuclear war. The air carried a cloud of doubt, that these men and women that were soon to arrive at the downtown hover-rail station might change the fate of all those around them.
As the train neared the city, the only lights that could be seen through the thicket of bramble and fog were that of the capitol, since, as of early last year, all federal employees have begun working rotating shifts 24-hours a day to maximize profit, including weekends, typing furiously at computer screens to the point of callous, trying to prolong the inevitable for just a couple more days, a couple more days—And each day, they typed a little faster, a little faster, sending and receiving international transactions until you could barely see their fingers yet but a blur of flesh and skin and bone across each key in each fell swoop, until they would return home each night, armpits damp from anxiety, twiddling their fingers endlessly as they typed away into their dreams, never sleeping but never awake, but always working, for there was always more work to be done.
The magnetic brakes kicked on automatically as the train hovered down the rails to the final station, quickly but gently slowing down the behemoth. An unsecured brown leather backpack fell from a faulty overhead compartment onto the head of a younger woman.
“Ouch! Whose stinking bag is this?”
“Sorry about that, looks like I didn’t pack in my luggage good enough. Are you okay?” John picked his bag up off the pristine floor of the luxury train cab and carefully secured each arm through the shoulder straps. his cheeks swelled and reddened from embarrassment. Elevator music played in the background.
“Whatever, you’re lucky I don’t have that money yet or I would have sued your ass.” The woman looked at him, annoyed, before turning her back to him and departing from the awkward conversation. People are too sensitive these days, John thought. He wasn’t going to let one sour encounter ruin his day, however, for as she reaffirmed, there was a lot of money to be earned from this little week-long endeavor, whether they wanted to be there or not.
These 100 men and women, all of which were from diverse backgrounds, cultures, educations, and wealth, were all there for the same job inquiry—they had all received hand-delivered letters to their front doors by men in black suits and sunglasses, bearing official U.S. badges representing their affiliation with the US Department of Future Security, a military agency that focuses on protecting the United States from any and all future terrorist and domestic threats. Each delivered envelope contained the same message, which reads as follows:
IMPORTANT NOTICE
Dear (insert name),
You are hereby ordered to report for induction into a 7-day testing program at your nearest UNITED STATES FUTURE DEFENSE facility. Transportation will be provided to and from the facility. Be prepared for pickup by FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11 @ 5:00 AM at your residence.
$50,000 USD will be electronically transferred to your E-Wallet upon completion of the program as reimbursement for lost time.
Willful failure to report at the place and hour of the day named in this Order subjects the violator to fine and imprisonment. Bring this Order with you when you report.
Your country thanks you for your service.
David Koehl, Overseer of U.S. Future Defense
The doors of the train cab slid open with a long, hydraulic breath. The men and women aboard the train, all clenching their envelopes and anxious to finally stretch their legs, slowly and clumsily made their way out of the only couple doors available, and per instruction of a nearby official from the Future Defense Department, lined up: men on the left, women on the right, until they were left with two perfect rows of 50 men and 50 women. The official checked each person’s papers before a Greyhound arrived shortly for each line to provide the remaining transportation to the facility, although the personal space proved to be inconsistent with the luxury accommodations provided by the hover-train, and people were finally forced to small-talk with each other, something that has become outdated in modern society, and is generally avoided.
“What do you think they’ll be testing us over?” whispered someone in the back.
“I don’t know,” replied another, “but the sooner this is over and I get my money, the better.” There was a long silence before someone spoke again.
“…Do you think it’s gonna hurt?”
“They wouldn’t do that.”
“So then why won’t they tell us what we’re—"
“Just shut up and be glad you’re getting paid!”
The Greyhound was silent the remainder of the way to the facility. The Future Defense Building was located on the very edge of the city, down a mile and a half of gravel back roads and through three electric barbed-wire fences with security checkpoints, each more thorough than the previous, until finally arriving at the underwhelming front driveway of the two-story Future Defense Building in what seemed like the middle of the swamp. It looked like a crumb on the crust of the earth compared to the mighty Trump Monument, and this was most people’s immediate observation. How ugly, this building! Only two stories? Pfft! My vacation home is probably worth more than this whole facility…
The two groups of fifty were escorted by men in their full military uniforms from the Greyhound up to the main entrance of the Future Defense Building. John was near the back of the line, pondering this operation that was about to unfold in the coming days. The group of women were immediately separated from the men and led around the back of the building, while the men were led through the front doors. Coming from the outdoors where it was much darker outside, most men in the group grunted and groaned as they were temporarily blinded by the white fluorescent lamps that composed the majority of the ceiling in the facility. The air was warmer than outside, but smelled of sterility and latex gloves.
An older looking doctor in all-white scrubs with only a single wisp of grey hair covering his shiny head popped out of a side door in the lobby to greet his subjects.
“Good morning everybody. We are thankful for your safe arrival!” began the doctor, “I am Doctor Mayflower, head of the E.D.E.N, project, Short for the Extended Deep Equilibrium Network. I’m sure you have a lot of questions, so let me try and explain some things.” Doctor Mayflower reached into his lab coat pocket, withdrawing a tiny micro-chip, and held it for everybody to see. “At E.D.E.N, we’ve been perfecting the science of recording data. Not computer data, but rather, biological data. That is, the data that each and every one of you carry up here.” Mayflower tapped his index finger on the side of his head. “As many of you may know, our country has been on the brink of war for quite some time.” They did not know. The quiet hush of the crowd was replaced with panicked whispers and faces. “Oh, you aren’t aware? Well.” He cleared his throat. “See, nature is a cat-and-mouse game of survival of the fittest; Humans are bred to survive, and adapted over generations to catch each and every mouse, and prove time and time again his dominance over nature until there was nothing left to dominate. But as arrogant as humans are and always have been, we will time and time again neglect to realize that the greatest enemy to man is himself. The apex predator. The only difference this time is that we jingle the very keys to the atomic ending of life as we know it, and do so as if attempting to entertain a child.”
“We aren’t at war, we paid our debts!” blurted out someone from the crowd, believing what the doctor said to be borderline hysterical.
“Allow me to continue, please,” proclaimed Mayflower. “The government has exhausted its options for peace negotiations. If money is truly god, then god will not save us now. E.D.E.N. is our only escape.” The crowd became silent. Mayflower took a long pause, allowing his subjects to absorb everything he just said. After a moment, he began again. “Clear your mind and stay with me for a second. I would like to demonstrate a mental exercise.” He did not begin until the entire group was at his attention. “When I say the word ‘tree’, I want you to close your eyes and imagine the first image that comes to mind. Study that image in your head closely, but don’t overthink it.” John closed his eyes, and imagined a gnarled and ancient oak tree in a corn field. It was the very one that he used to swing from as a child. “Now,” said the Doctor, “I want you to imagine the first thing that comes to mind when I say the word ‘home.’” John did not picture his home where he currently lived, but envisioned the home where he grew up—a small farm house with a tin roof and vines creeping up the ancient oak siding. This image brought a smile to his face, if only long enough to have his fantasy interrupted by the doctor once more. “Okay. Lastly, I want you to think about the tree again.” The crowd stirred restlessly, not really seeing the point in this exercise. John followed the instructions and thought about the tree again, however, and pictured the same old oak tree in the field. “Now, I’ll bet money that the image of the tree you saw the first and second time are the same tree, yes? And if you think of ‘home’ once more, you will see the same image of home that you first imagined?” The men all looked at each other as if the doctor had read their minds without even needing to hook them to equipment. “This is because the human mind accesses memories using what we like to call ‘triggers.’ When I say a certain keyword, your first image that comes to mind of that word will always be the same. Because of this phenomenon, we have coined these as static memories, and have made possibly the most important discovery in human history, the ability to read and download thoughts. Since these memories don’t change, they have no risk of a deviation of outcome, and can be safely stored on these chips. Have you ever tried to store abstract thought on a computer chip? Well, it’s quite an impossibility. We have to have real, tangible data or the entire system is buggered.”
“Why do you want to read our thoughts?” someone cried out.
“What, do you have something to hide?” joked another.
Mayflower ignored these comments. “For the past 5 years, we have been working on a super-computer of sorts. Imagine a perfect reality, composed off all of the puzzle pieces of society, government, weather, and economy. Every man, woman, and child are as real and tangible as in this room right now, but there are no longer any possible threats to our existence as a species. No more wars, no more violence, no more aging. Perfect harmony. Equilibrium.” The crowd became suddenly more interested in what the Doctor had to say. “When the bombs fall, there won’t be anything left if we don’t prepare for it. So, we’ve created what we like to call the Extended Deep Equilibrium Network. A virtual reality held on a central computer here at the facility that houses the very thoughts and memories of the human race in order to construct the most perfect and accurate simulation of our reality possible. That is, after we take out all of the harmful or bad memories beforehand. That’s why we need each of you—You all have been selected as the basis for simulated human life. We have set up a state-of-the-art augmented reality chamber where the participants will re-experience static memories the exact way they remember them. Touch, smell, sound, sight, and even taste will remain intact. This is the only safe and efficient way which we’ve learned to collect these memories onto our chips. All of you standing here before me today might very well be pioneering the very fate of the human race as we know it. If and when the bombs drop, we will be prepared to house up to 500,000 Americans in state-of-the-art stasis chambers miles under this very spot. Finally, After the earth’s crust is blown to bits, we will be safe and sound, living indefinitely in the paradise known as E.D.E.N.”
submitted by RealSkeezy to shortstories [link] [comments]

Mutual betting with Bitcoin on LegendaryBet

Mutual betting with Bitcoin on LegendaryBet

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Legendarybet is the first platform that is tailored towards Cybersports fans and combines this model with blockchain.
What are the advantages of betting with Bitcoin?
  • Fast -> With Bitcoin it is possible to send and get money anywhere in the world at any given time. You don’t have to worry about crossing borders, rescheduling for bank holidays, or any other limitations when transferring your money.
  • Safe -> All finalized transactions are available for everyone to verify on the blockchain. Bitcoin protocol cannot be manipulated by any person, organization, or government. This is due to Bitcoin being cryptographically secure.
  • Cheap -> Because there are no middle men, no fees (or very small fees in some places) are deducted from your transactions.
  • Anonymous -> Payments in Bitcoin can be made without one’s personal information being tied to the transactions. Bitcoin also protects against identity theft.

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Guide to Mutuel Betting
Mutuel betting, also known as pool betting, is a unique form of betting. Instead of placing wagers against a bookmaker, you’re placing wagers against other bettors who have placed wagers on the same event. All wagers go into a pool, and the pool is shared equally between those who make the winning selection. As might be expected, a small percentage of all total wagers is deducted by the “house.” When it comes to Mutuel betting, the house is typically a state run organization or a private company that provides Mutuel betting services.
Unlike some other forms of sports betting, Mutuel wagering is fully legal in almost every region around the world. It’s traditionally associated with horse racing and greyhound racing, but it can be used on any sports event in which the participants finish in a ranked order.
It’s difficult to apply any betting strategy when placing Mutuel wagers, as you don’t get fixed odds. Payouts depend on two factors: how many people placed a wager on an event, and how many people picked the winner. Payouts are officially calculated after the betting has closed (i.e. once the event has started or is about to start). As you can see, determining whether or not a selection offers any value can be very challenging.
Mutual betting is widely used in sports betting including cybersports. For many people around the world it’s the only form of legalized sports betting that’s available to them.

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Mutual betting is a system in which all bets are placed together in a pool and payoff odds are calculated by sharing the pool among all winning bets. It remains one of most adrenaline-pumping ways to bet for your favourite teams and prove yourself right. Why? Because the stakes are forever-free from corporate gambling machines and algorithms. At Legendarybet, the betting stays between humans — an experience you can’t get when the odds are fixed by a computer.
Mutual betting is very simple:
  • A bettor chooses a side to place his bet
  • Every bet made influences the winning multiplier until the pool closes
  • After the match outcome, winners split the pot proportionally to their contribution
Official site — https://legendary.bet Official chat — https://t.me/legendarybet_chat
submitted by LucillaConstantia to legendarybet [link] [comments]

Betting on the Blockchain

Betting on the Blockchain
Breaking news - 100% token only acquisition of a company that is the first of its kind. Playchip acquires 123gaming through an unprecedented zero cash acquisition, the acquisition marks the first time an unlisted token has been used as full payment in the acquisition of a US-registered business.
Those who are fans of e-sports and online betting might be happy to know there is now a universal token for a diverse and growing ecosystem. Like most things in the cryptosphere, attempts to disrupt industries are happening fast, although this story began in 2014.PlayUp is a gaming company turned prominent player in the multi-billion-dollar fantasy sports market, and currently with an annual turnover of more than $430 million in 2018. They have made great strides with their online betting token PlayChip: a universal token for e-sports, gaming, fantasy sports and sports betting.PlayChip is looking to decentralize and incentivize the global sports betting market, which according to the company’s white paper is a whopping estimated $3 trillion annual opportunity.With an IPO coming in H1 2019 and listing on the NASDAQ and ASX big things are coming for the operational online betting platform.

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Pain points aimed be solved by Playchip
While the company has identified several keys issues in the online betting industry, these two seem
to be the most significant in expanding functionality and adoption in the space:
Lack of a universal payment system:
A global solution that allows online gaming platforms to load and cash out their gaming chips using a reliable and timely mechanism for transferring funds to their current location and local currency.
Payment Lag and Transactional Security:
Too many regulatory barriers currently delay users from accessing their winnings and technology has yet to provide a seamless fix. A lot of it has to do with know-your-customer (KYC) and Anti-money laundering (AML) regulations which can be a hard problem to overcome, even in the crypto space.
Eventually, holders of the PlayChip will be able to seamlessly and instantly transfer funds between the various partner and international exchanges. This will provide a degree of control and security in a manner not seen before in online gaming.
The PlayChip Ecosystem
The PlayChip ecosystem, which is fueled by the PlayChip (PLA) token, is comprised of fantasy sports and licensed online gambling establishments as well as a PlayWallet that is scheduled to be launched in November 2018.

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Players:
Any individual with a smart device can access PlayChip services from around the globe. PlayChip with a user base of over 1 million from 70 nations, has particularly high traction in India, Australia, United Kingdom, and the USA.
Partner Gaming Platform:
Online gaming providers can integrate their services into the PlayChip ecosystem. PlayChip currently has multiple gaming platforms, including recent acquisition 123bet.
Global Crypto Exchanges:
Cryptocurrency exchange partners around the world will allow players and token holders to trade PlayChip tokens and convert them into local currency. With use of PlayXchange, users link to the PlayWallet and gives users the ability to trade the PlayChip tokens.
Team and Ambassadors
The PlayChip management team has four decades of combined experience across interactive gaming and global online businesses, with CEO Daniel Simic at the helm. They are expanding far and quickly with their offices across Sydney, London, New York and Hong Kong.
PlayChip has also engaged an established team of advisors including those from the sports and blockchain arenas. Some of their advisors include Major League Fantasy Founder Jesse Merle, as well as ‘Echelon One Founder’ Luke Lombe and IT Consultant Stephane Savanah, among others.
See more on https://www.playchip.global/#team

Brett Lee - cricket legend and a proud sporting ambassador of PlayChip & Russell Crowe’s professional rugby league team from Australia, the Rabbitohs, proudly wear the Playchip logo
Growth Potential

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  • Daily fantasy sports (DFS) revenues are predicted to exceed US$14.4 billion by 2020 and online gambling growing at 10.81% CAGR and exceeding US$500 billion according the company’s white paper
  • A current user base of more than 1M across 70 countries. The PlayChip ecosystem consists of Draftstars, ToppBetta, ClassicBet, MadBookie, betting.club, 123Gaming and of course PlayUp
  • Recent acquisition of 123Gaming places PlayChip in a strategic move toward expansion of U.S. online gaming industry, which according to Statistics Portal saw revenue of 47B in 2017
  • In the month of April 2018, SimilarWeb™ reported PlayUp in the top 10 most trafficked sports-related websites in India
https://www.playchip.global/#partners
What’s next
PlayChip has a great appeal, one whose beloved sports betters are sure to appreciate, particularly those in the blockchain community. Playchip have alot on the horizon including PlayUp Bet that offers wagering options on nine different sports, as well as the chance to bet on horse, greyhound and harness racing on more than 25 major racetracks around the globe. Many are also looking forward to a range of wagering options on the UFC and eSports of which will be included in subsequent updates.
Are you ready to PlayChip? Check out their website at https://www.playchip.global/.
submitted by DigichainCapital to u/DigichainCapital [link] [comments]

A lengthy write up of the health changes impact on this game-

i didn't write this,it was passed down to me from somebody else,i think it has some really solid points as to how things have changed because of a simple 50 HP gained.Overall everyone being an even playing field HP wise doesn't bother me at all,i would really like to bring some of these points to attention,especially with the next content update bringing the Dark Sight changes.
-VERY LONG READ-
At a base level, the health changes gave every player 150 regardless of tier. On the surface, this seems like a rather fair change right? The intention is to avoid people getting one-shot by already more experienced players, giving higher leveled players even more advantage than they already have. Understandable.
The first change that comes with that is due to the increase in health, all weapons are now based around 125 damage base instead of 100. This means that every weapon now does more damage. The lower powered weapons were the most effected by this, since they didn't even deal 100 damage to start with, but now, can deal anywhere from 100-130+ damage, depending on range and shot placement.
This indirectly effects the high end weapons just by power comparison. Now, the disparity between the high level weapons no longer includes power, but now just range. The only big thing the high level weapons offer is range, and to a lesser extent, bullet speed and penetration, which in most cases, isn't a game deciding factor. With the decrease in zoom among almost all weapons, range is becoming a less desirable upgrade. Most fights in this game happen within close range, and medium range right after it, I'd bet money on it. This means that those high leveled weapons are even less effective because their biggest tangible difference is being under-utilized. This situation means that you will see a drastic increase in short range weaponry, more so than the game already had simply because most of the time, it's the most effective option.
On a side note, the price increases, especially to the Mosin, were made when the weapons had their OLD power, which is understandable, of course. Now that the power between weapons is closer than ever, the price increase is already an outdated and ineffective balancing method, since it's not based on the new damage. This, coupled with the increased rewards and the unbelievable $1000 level up reward, the games economy has no apparent value. The most effective weapons cost very little, besides the Dolch and Nitro. The gap between the most effective weapons ion terms of price is anywhere from $15 - $60 to 600 and 700+, which seems strange, instead of a logical progression in price vs power, which is, the more you spend, the more effective your weapon can potentially be. That is currently not the case.
I personally have been dying left and right, barely making it out with 25 or 50 dollars because I was playing with cheap weapons and a crappy connection. I have 10k. I do not deserve nor have I earned 10k, but despite dying constantly and only ever extracting a few times lately, I'm ROLLING in money. It makes absolutely no sense.
The fact that you claim to see a variety of weapons, especially Mosins, is one that I have serious trouble believing. I play on US East and have not, I repeat, HAVE NOT seen nor heard a SINGLE Mosin varient since this patch. Not a single one. Do people use them, sure, but no where NEAR as much as they used to, and for good reason.
The only weapons I see now are Winfields, Dolchs, and Nitros, with the occasional Vetterli, Shotgun and Avtomat. I'df argue people only bring the Vetterli to bolster their Dolch ammo.
This is undeniable. The players will use what is most effective most of the time, and they're showing us which guns are most effective over time. This, coupled with the ammo changes, make those guns yet even more effective, especially when the long ammo varients received no buff to ammo, and now resupply less from boxes. Resupply boxes give a smaller percentage, but when you can accrue 23 rounds from a single box for a Winfield and Revolver combo, it actually skews the percentages because the weapon now has much more overall ammo to base the percentage off of. The Nitro also gains 2 rounds up from one, which is a third of it's spare ammo. Boxes can spawn in groups of 3, 4 and even sometimes 5, so the Nitro has absolutely NO trouble staying at max ammo. This means the gun is used more liberally, and does not need to manage its ammo nearly as much, resulting in much more shooting and reckless behavior, simply because it can afford to. This is not a good balance spot for a weapon that can "oneshot" people in the chest.
The Dolch can also rest at around 39 spare and 10 in the magazine if brought with a Vetterli. THe most effective weapon in the current meta can run around with near 50 rounds from the get-go. Tell me that's not silly...
One of the worst offenders though is the Chain Pistol + Fanning combo. With it's increased damage, and fanning being unlocked at an unreasonable level, even new players can essentially equip themselves with a bootleg Avtomat. It will still two-shot in its range like the Avtomat can, it has almost has big of a magazine, has more ammo to chew through, and can have it's trigger held like the Avtomat, allowing it to essentially be a machine pistol.
A Machine pistol that is much more widespread than it ever used to be. Now that its a low-level option, it's clearly the best option. Previously, high leveled players had many more choices to bring with them than a fanning pistol, so it wasn't as common because of that, and it has unlocked at 86.
It's unlocked at 36 now, and because not a lot is unlocked at that level, it is an obvious go-to choice. An awful oversight if you ask me and a balancing blunder.
The meta is paper thin, the same few guns are being used en-masse. It's not refreshing or engaging at all.
The guns pre-patch weren't perfect before, but almost every gun was used back then, since there was real, tangible differences between them, and incentive to use them as you leveled up
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Hunter tiers mean arguably nothing. The place where this health change had the most negative impact is at high leveled play.
Health upgrades are an afterthought as well. You now have many more skillpoints to load your Hunter with trait after trait, making the specialization perks for snipers and bolt actions weightless, since you can almost always get them. The banishment reward would have been a fantastic incentive pre-patch for low health players to go for the boss, but as is, it's just a chunk of 50 replaced for sloppy gameplay, since it heals at the beginning of the banish instead of the end. Killing bosses is even easier, since you can pretty much ignore most damage they deal to you. If the banishment reward healed at the completion of the banishment, you'd be left without health for longer while people zeroed in, meaning you'd have to fight the boss with care, instead of making it a pure DPS race.
Since everyone has 150 health, Tier 3 Hunters at high levels have almost no immediate benefit over tier 1s and 2s that would justify their cost. Sure they may have more traits, but I'm not paying 200-800 more dollars just for fanning and greyhound when I can get them both and more after one solid game. Money is near valueless though, so whats it matter anyways?
One of my favorite things that did was choosing low level hunters to try and play a budget round. They were cheaper, but at a disadvantage, meaning you'd have to play safe and careful, giving yourself a challenge at high levels. If you succeeded, it was immensely rewarding. You bought a Tier 1 or 2, saved money, and through hard work,made them as powerful as a tier 3. It was an alternative playstyle that is fundamentally gone from the gameplay.
----------
That's just PvP however, and a brief, yes brief look into it. PvE was thoroughly gutted as well and it shows in how people play the game, as well as just basic testing.
Common monsters are now much easier to kill because of the global damage increase.
Grunts can die to one body shot of compact ammo within it's range. This allows not only for the quick dispatchment of groups of previously-threatening Grunts, it allows the Revolvers to kill 6 and 7 Grunts at a time before reloading, and the Winfield to kill 7 and a whopping 15 grunts before being FORCED to reload, let alone reloading between shots. Grunts aren't annoyances anymore, they're basically non-existant.
Hives weren't affected by the damage increase too heavily, as they still take two body shots to kill optimally, but at range, that damage carries better, so from a distance, they are not as threatening as they used to be.
Husks, or Armoreds, can be killed by a mere 4 shots of compact ammo. It's like they aren't even armored, even in their weak spots. Shooting them in the legs is almost a waste of ammo at this point, unless you're specifically trying to ignore them, but it's almost not even worth it. Then again, ammo is abundant, so it doesn't matter either way.
Hellhounds are in a decent spot because of their improved A.I. and increased Head health. I'm fairly certain that a Winfield can still one-shot them at very close range, so even still, the extra head health only helps at longer ranges.
Meatheads got hit the hardest. Aside from guns doing more damage, they had their base health reduced by 25%. This was obviously in comparison to the games previous damage, but increasing player damage and lowering it's HP, it's almost like it's health was reduced by 35% to even 45%. A mere 3 shotgun shells can drop one, which isn't difficult because they can be stunned. The stunning mechanic was there to allow yourself some space while fighting, BECAUSE they had such a high health pool. Same goes for the armoreds, but now, it just makes them that much easier to kill.
The Spider wasn't affected too badly from this change. While it's health was already lower than the Butchers, it's even lower now because we can hit harder. The Avtomat can kill her even faster now, and I believe 3 headshots from a Nitro will kill her, almost even 2. A competent pair of Winfields can get rid of her quickly too. The only thing keeping her from being any worse is her speed. Since she moves so erratically, she's hard to hit, making fights take longer.
The Butcher is even easier now. He was reworked to have better A.I. and to avoid being stunlocked, which are good things, but it's almost a non-issue because of course, hes a much easier target to hit. Two Winfields can drop him in record time, and his stuns only make it easier. Of course it's good that he can't be stunlocked, but that feature doesn't have as big of an impact because he's so much easier to kill. Fanning is unlocked so early too, so bring a chain pistol and in close quarters, you essentially have a baby Avtomat. Two of those will shred through a Butcher at record speeds. He's essentially a glorified meathead at this point.
So, in essence, PvE has been gutted to be a mere afterthought. Before, you had to mind your surroundings with more caution, as monsters posed a real threat, especially in a firefight. Now, monsters can be dispatched with such ease that they're hardly an issue at all. It's laughable, and in my opinion, the BIGGEST oversight in the entire patch. One system and gameplay element to their game was killed in one measly change.
--------------------------------------------------
The health changes did much, MUCH more to this game than just make it "more fair". It completely changed the entire dynamic of the game itself.
PvE is meaningless, Cash is near valueless, PvP is paper thin, Variety is dead, progression is not rewarding at all, hunter tiers are near-meaningless, the meta is boring and repetitive, the thrill of winning is gone and firefights are significantly less intense, since the dynamic of power has been removed. The game now revolves around two bullets instead of a mix between 3 to 1, depending on you of course.
The influx of new players were most likely because of the vastly increased performance of the game. That is a much more understandable reason to play a game instead of balancing issues, especially when it's cryengine, a noted heavy performance engine with most rigs.
I would put money on performance being the reason for increased players, not a botched attempt at balance.
------------------------------------------------
So many things sacrificed for a mere extra 50 hp at the start of a round.
submitted by InvestigatorSnaku to HuntShowdown [link] [comments]

Almost 1 month since I've stopped, my story. (Australia)

I stopped just over 3 weeks ago.
I'm in my early 20's, single and working full time. I started the occasional sports bet on the weekends when I was around 18, it was all just a bit of fun and occasionally I would win big. I was also a fan of the casino, but I wouldn't often make the trip (guess I'm lazy in that sense).
In my 20's I started work at a small business located in the city. There was a TAB (betting place) on the ground level. I've only been in one a couple times and I never really knew how to work the machines, most my small betting was contained to sports bets online or the occasional casino night.
My boss at the time was a big fan of betting, somewhat a gambler (however he could afford it) and would go into the TAB at least once a day. Thus began my introduction into the world of thoroughbred and greyhound racing. It was a slow build up at first; once a week, a quick bet each day and then eventually hours a day would be spent down there instead of working.
My boss and I enabled each other. I would often spend my whole paycheck down there on the same day. My life degraded from this point, debts added up as I couldn't pay bills and would get more loans. It was a viscous cycle of me betting to try get ahead, then looking to borrow any sort of money to recoup losses. As sick as that all sounds, I couldn't help but love the feeling of gambling while I was in the middle of it, it's the feeling after it that eats at you.
The money issue wasn't a problem for the boss, he's issue was more concealing it from his partner. As a result when I ran out of money, he was also lend me the money or give it to me for free just so we'd have an excuse to go down.
We eventually moved place of business as we both agreed the gambling was getting excessive. However although it wasn't so often, I would end up betting just as much online on horses/dogs/casino. He cut down his habits quite a bit but I would often bet right in front of him during work hours and he would cave.
At this point, about 2 years into the addiction, I suffered a serious bout of depression; I would stop waking up for work, I would spend excess of 10-12+ hours, music and food lost all joy, I would often break down at starting crying out of nowhere. At the same time, any left over money I had was still going towards gambling. For a short period, I did see a Psychologist, this was helpful and the conversation eventually led to the gambling. I did not stop however, and I eventually missed appointments and stopped seeing her.
I made calls to Gamblers Help Australia, which was also helpful but ultimately there advise was - you need to close down all your betting accounts and blacklist yourself. I did not do this at the time. I tried to stop myself from betting here but I kept failing, I would start off with only doing $20 or $50 but it would always end in my depleting all my funds.
Just over 3 weeks ago however, I finally took the time of blacklisting myself and closing all my online betting/casino accounts. Since then I have not gambled a single dollar. My quality of life has greatly improved, I feel a certain sense of stability (even though I may not be able to afford some bills right now, knowing exactly how much money I have and where it's going to go each week is type of stability and certainty I have not experience in a long time). I feel generally happier since I've stopped.
Although I never had any real issues with stopping myself going to an actual casino or betting place (at least not ones that are further than ground floor of the same building), the convenience of online gambling after getting hooked initially was my Achilles heel. At the time I did not feel closing my accounts would actually help, but it has helped immensely it getting me to stop. For the first time, I actually feel like gambling is out of my system.
submitted by MyGamblingStory to problemgambling [link] [comments]

How do you go about planning and testing different areas of a program? I've started writing a program for a problem in a C# book but I'm not sure how to test it.

A few months ago I casually became interested in programming and picked up a book (head first c#). Since then I've looked into python, html/css, and JS just to see what else was out there. Now I've come full circle back to c# and I'm working on a project as a way of familiarizing myself with the language again. While I certainly feel more comfortable with how programming works, I'm still not good enough to actually write anything worthwhile. Below I've added a brief description of the project as well as the code I put in last night.
The problem
You are to make a "Dog Racing Simulator" that simulates dog races at a racetrack. The program will have three people who place money on the races. The GUI will have 4 dogs that move across the screen when the race begins, as well as three RadioBoxes for selecting who is betting, and three Labels to display and update their information. The book provides a sort of skeleton code where they give you three classes with some fields and methods but they are mostly left blank so you can try to figure it out. Below this I have posted the code I have so far, the comments in the code are what is displayed in the book and the rest is what I entered last night.
using System.Windows.Forms; namespace A_Day_At_The_Races { public partial class Form1 : Form { public Form1() { InitializeComponent(); } public class Greyhound { public int StartingPosition = 0; public int RacetrackLength = 100; public PictureBox MyPictureBox = null; public int Location = 0; public Random Randomizer; public bool Run() { // Move the PictureBox forward 1, 2, 3 or 4 space at a time // Update the position of your PictureBox with // MyPictureBox.Left = StartingPosition + Location; // return True if I won the race int randomNumber = Randomizer.Next(0,5); Location += randomNumber; MyPictureBox.Left = StartingPosition + Location; if (Location >= RacetrackLength) { return true; } else { return false; } } public void TakeStartingPosition() { //Reset my Location to 0 and my PictureBox to starting position // K.I.S.S Location = 0; MyPictureBox.Left = 0; } } public class Guy { public string Name; // Display each player's name public Bet MyBet; // Creates an instance of the Bet class within each Guy class public int Cash; // Cash on hand public RadioButton MyRadioButton; // These RadioButtons will select who is betting public Label MyLabel; // This label will display each player's information public void UpdateLabels() { //Set my label to the bet's description, and the label on // MyRadioButton to show my cash ("Joe has 43 bucks") MyRadioButton.Text = Name + " has " + Cash + " bucks on hand"; MyLabel.Text = Name + " has bet " + MyBet.Amount + " bucks on dog #" + MyBet.Dog; } public void ClearBet() { //Reset your bet so it's zero MyBet.Amount = 0; } public bool PlaceBet(int BetAmount, int DogToWin) { //place a bet and store it in my bet field //return true if the guy had enough money to bet MyBet.Amount = BetAmount; MyBet.Dog = DogToWin; if (BetAmount >= Cash) { return true; } else { return false; } } public void Collect(int Winner) { //Ask my bet to pay out, clear bet, update labels //Let the Bet object do the work } } public class Bet { public int Amount; // The amount that the guy bet public int Dog; // The Dog the guy bet on public Guy Bettor; //The guy who placed the bet public string GetDescription() { //Return a string that says who placed the bet, //how much cash was bet, and on which dog he bet on // Ex. ("Joe bets $8 on dog #4") // If the amount is zero, no bet was placed // ("Joe hasn't placed a bet") if (Amount > 0) { return Bettor.Name + " bets $" + Amount + "on dog #" + Dog; } else { return Bettor.Name + " hasn't placed a bet."; } } public int PayOut(int Winner) { // The parameter is the winner of the race. If the dog won, // return the amount bet. Otherwise, return the negative of the amount bet. } } } } 
My questions
  1. Am I approaching this problem correctly? The nagging feeling I had while filling in the blanks was that I wasn't really sure if I should start by trying to fill in all three classes right away. Should I be making three separate project, each with it's own "part" of the overall project and then try to find a way to combine them? I don't know how to debug a project like this because it's incomplete so it wont run, I'm just really not sure how to proceed.
  2. How do you plan your projects? Is there a recommended path to start writing from? Should I be starting with the code, then make the GUI so that it works with the code or should I make the GUI so that I have a better idea of what might be needed to write the code.
Any advice is really appreciated. I'm eager to learn more but I get overwhelmed sometimes trying to solve some problems. At times it feels like I should just scrap the whole thing and try to write the code from the ground up so that it all is my creation, but at the same time I feel like I need to follow the book so that I can become familiar with what they want to teach me.
submitted by BrewRI to csharp [link] [comments]

Gingerbread Man

Gingerbread Man
A dim north wind sweeps down through the trees and across the park in a listless sigh. It is a cool September evening and I am taking my four year old greyhound Trevor for his second walk of the day. Ahead of me, his narrow outline trots quietly, head bowed in the perusal of some hidden scent. At my side, his nylon lead swings gently, matching the pace of my unhurried step. There is, in my opinion, no finer time of day – or year, for that matter – at which to visit the park. Everything around me is in a state of flux. The meagre warmth of the autumn day is seeping from the earth into the night. Details of the yellowed trees at the park’s edge are softened by this change. And the solitude is profound, a level of loneliness not found within the more temperate months of the year. For others, this solitude might have been cause for concern. After all, it is never a good idea for a young woman to spend long periods of time outdoors after dark. One is never alone in a place devoid of light. Not for sure. But most people who venture forth at this time do not have the assurance of a powerfully built retired racing dog. So for me the solitude is neither lonely nor threatening. I got Trevor about six months ago, shortly after arriving here myself. He is large and wiry, with gentle brown eyes that are so emotive in their behaviour that I often feel as if I am living with another person rather than an animal once used for betting. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, he will release a sigh that suggests he feels the entire weight of the world on his shoulders. On clear evenings such as this he is so absorbed in the smells and sounds of the night that I feel a vicarious thrill at his sensory accuity. I come to a halt beneath a massive horse chestnut tree and roll a cigarette. The view before me is not remarkable, but none the less pleasing in its scale and proportion. I am stood on one edge of a large common. To my back is a thin line of trees shielding the neighbouring suburb from view. The common extends flatly to left and right, accompanied by a central path that becomes indistinct in the gathering darkness. The path is unlit. Like me, Trevor is motionless, gazing across the grass and up the slight hill on the other side of the path. That is where the trees begin. The trees swallow the slope, giving them the appearance of foam falling down the front of a gentle wave. I lean back against the tree and look down at Trevor, taking a drag on my cigarette.
To begin with, having a dog was more of a tactical decision than a choice of companion. Eight months ago I completed a two year master's degree in English literature. It was not a particularly prestigious university I attended, nor was the course in high demand, but the people I met in my second year are the single most important thing that has ever happened to me. With their persistent encouragement I was able to break the social inhibitions I had held since late adolescence and thus make my first group of adult friends. They were in the year below me and were looking for a housemate to replace one of their friends who had dropped out, when they came across me – a lonely master's degree student looking for a place to live. The workload really soared in my final year, so I was unable to partake in most of their parties, film nights and narcotic experiments. But that suited me fine. I enjoyed the role I took as a slightly senior, and considerably more sober member of their group. They never once judged me for my awkwardness, or mistook my shyness for being aloof. So when it came to the end of my second year, and my inevitable graduation, I was much relieved that they wanted me to continue living with them for their final year. It fast became apparent, however, that this was not possible. The city in which the university was situated was practically devoid of work. Weeks went by and I failed to find a job. I started claiming job seekers allowance, and took to staying at home and smoking an increasing amount of cannabis. I developed a system whereby my drug dealer would meet me at the Job Centre, claim his allowance, and proceed to take almost half of mine in return for a bag of cannabis. Time started to ooze by in a cheerless sort of way. Before I knew it, two months had passed and I came to realize that if I didn't get a meaningful job soon it might harm my future job prospects. I decided to move. Not too far, but to a place where the job centre wasn't so crowded, and where I didn't feel as if I was imposing on a lifestyle of which I was no longer a part. My housemates were saddened at my decision, and vowed to join me upon completion of their respective courses. For my part, I was sad too. They had transformed me from an overly studious outsider into a member of their wild, intelligent group. So upon moving into a small studio apartment on the outskirts of a city some forty miles away, I was very much aware of the emptiness I was inviting into my life.
So I got Trevor. I look down at him, studying the finely etched curve of his abdomen. He is a magnificent creature. Large enough to instil a feeling of complete safety, yet placid. He is probably the gentlest dog I have ever known. Right now he is completely still. Barely breathing, it seems. I take another drag on my cigarette, pondering this. He ought to be full of energy right now, dashing around the park to make up for my recent negligence regarding his walking routine. I put out my cigarette quietly, not taking my eyes off him. I am mistrustful of his behaviour. He seems tense, and once, when I didn't walk him for two days he bolted and went missing for almost 48 hours. Sometimes it's just a game, and he'll return after a few laps of the park. But the tension I feel now makes me ready his his lead. I call him, gently. The first syllable has not left my mouth before his head turns round, slowly. His eyes are abrim with a milky vacancy that I do not recognise. Then he is gone. In a few effortless bounds he has reached the path and is making a narrow trajectory up the hill toward the tree line. I am stunned for a moment, caught in contemplation of the unearthly pallor of his eyes. Then I call after him, beginning a futile pursuit across the purplish grass. The wind is still pushing down from the trees. As I run I see the small grey line of Trevor's body as it is swallowed up by the dark mass ahead. I come to a halt and lean forward, hands on my knees, trying not to cough as I peer up the slope before me. He's gone. I curse myself for not walking over the last few days. I stay this way for perhaps 30 seconds, and then straighten, studying the dense swell of branches ahead and removing a few dark strands of hair from my vision. Trevor's lead dangles pointlessly from my other hand. Presently I begin to make my way up the slope. I try to picture what he would be doing right now, but my thoughts are constantly interrupted by the image of the milky, almost lunar shapes that replaced his eyes before his departure. He was not playing a game this time. Of that I am certain.
At the top of the hill I am greeted not by my dog, but by a thin carpet of fallen leaves which disintegrate underfoot. Each tree is a small cluster of thin branches that sprouts upward and outward from the ground. The Northern wind sweeps down through them again, seeming to pull some of their darkness down into the park. I do not know how deep this woodland is. I have never cared to investigate. I call Trevor twice, loudly. I listen. Wind in the leaves. At this point I must weigh my options. Most importantly, Trevor is equipped with a GPS collar. This was an expensive decision but one, it turns out, that was completely justified. This kind of behaviour I attribute to his history as a racing animal. Perhaps he is conditioned to run at a certain sound, or tone of voice. Or maybe he was mistreated, and something this evening reminded him of that experience. I got him the collar immediately after his first escape. All I need do is send it an SMS and I will receive one in return with a eight figure grid-reference describing his location. Unfortunately, however, I didn't bring my iPhone with me. I like to be alone here in the park. But the most immediate factor in this situation is the trees. I don't want to enter them. It is very dark and dense in there, and the park has no lighting. Even the path behind me is unlit. Still, if Trevor is in there and I don't search for him I will not sleep tonight. The wind is gone now, and in the absence of that grand exhalation, a great silence descends. It is the pause between breaths. Then I am inhaled into the trees.
There is no path to speak of. Merely the small clusters of branches creating a low, dense labyrinth that is almost invisible in the blackness. Nevertheless, I continue onwards, occasionally letting forth a call by which my dog might recognise me. My voice sounds small and foolish, but at the same time the acoustics of the trees make it seem as if my mouth is placed directly next to my ear. I am guiding myself by holding the narrow branches, and looking back from time to time to where the lights of the suburb glimmer faintly down the slope and on the other side of the park. Soon, however, they begin to dwindle into the branches that surround me. I feel my internal compass begin to spasm as the darkness approaches completion. I should go back. Turning, I wonder if I actually witnessed Trevor go in here. It was dark, and he's so thin. Panic is making a knot of my stomach. Yet my retreat brings with it light, and I feel an immense sense of relief at the clarity of the trees before me. As I move forward, however it becomes apparent that the light is not coming from outside of the trees, but from a point ahead. A small empty space with trees visible on the other side. Strange light it is – dim, and bluish white. It seems to come from no particular source. I am on the edge of the clearing now, dead leaves once again rustling under my feet. I do not like this. I look behind me and see total blackness. I don't know what to do. It is as if something has lead me here, quietly, away from the comforting ambience of human civilization. I look back to the clearing, and can scarcely stifle a cry at what I see there. Near its farthest edge, a couple of strides away, is a figure. Unmoving, it stands tall and masculine, the skin the same bluish white as the light around me. The same glacial shade as Trevor's eyes. Stricken, my hearing is amplified to an excruciating level. As the seconds drip by I have time to take in its clothing. It is a single shroud, hooded, shaped such that it hides the figures face. It is armless and falls to just below the knee. Because of the hood, all I can see of the face is an arrow-shaped smudge that points upward into blackness. I can faintly can make out some sort of pattern spread across its surface. But in the meagre light I can see no more than that. At last I hear the wind stir and notice a few black shapes rustling in the folds of the hood, near the neck. Dead leaves. It must have been here a long time, despite my not having noticed it upon arriving at the clearing. I approach, gingerly. About eight foot tall, the material from which it is cast is cool, matte and slightly translucent. To my amazement I realize that the light is coming from within, and marvel at not having heard of such a piece of craftsmanship whilst living here. The musculature is exquisitely carved, with a robustness that bespeaks not only an understanding of human form, but also controlled abstraction of it. It seems more complete, more evolved than modern human beings in a way that I can only put forth as intimidating. It is this slight air of, how shall I put it - malignancy - that makes me decide to leave the face hidden. On one knee I take hold of the shroud between thumb and forefinger. It is unlike anything I have ever felt. So thin, frictionless and without weight. Two-dimensional. In the meagre light cast by the figure I can make out tiny shapes scattered across the surface of the fabric. Enchanted, I look closer. Silhouettes of objects. A paw print. A bone. A tennis ball. They are repeated over and over, each one tiny and distinct. Like confetti. Shaken, I rise to my feet, turning mechanically to make my way back across the clearing. Trevor's lead is still clutched tight in my hand. I should leave now. Whilst searching in the trees I have come across not my dog, but a glowing statue. A statue that is wearing a tunic printed with what is unmistakably dog paraphernalia. And yet I cannot help but cast one backward glance. Over my shoulder I dimly perceive the light fading out, and as I turn it seems as if the figure raises an arm. Waving, no, pointing. Out ahead of me. Then, with the light, it is gone. In horror I run forward, inadvertently moving in the direction indicated by the figure. And find myself back in the park. I have practically fallen right into it. Yet I could have sworn this same area was pitch black not a moment before. In the early night I can just make out the shape of the path running along its centre. And the lights. The darling, warm lights of human civilization are visible at its edge. I do not look back. Trevor will not be returning tonight.
Once home, I am racked by an enormous fit of coughing. Having fled the park I smoked two cigarettes whilst walking hurriedly, then ran home. The coughs are huge. Ragged sobs that shake my body and make my eyes stream. I wash the contents of my lungs down the bathroom sink before catching my breath and going to the kitchen to pour myself a drink. At university, many of my friends experimented with exotic hallucinogens. They would often tell me about what they experienced, since I never took them myself. But even their descriptions don't compare to what I have just seen. Their experiences were always limited to what was there, and seemed to build from that. They talked of seeing deep structures of abstract meaning, but that re-arrangements of existing objects were always superficial. Despite this I still limited myself alcohol and cannabis. I look at the centimetre of whiskey resting in the bottom of the glass I am holding. The bright amber is a reassuring contrast to the bluish whites of the evening's events. I swallow it quickly, exhaling the strong taste out through my nose. No matter how I look at it, there is no way I can comfortably rationalise my discovery. On the way back from the park I tried to piece together what happened, and found myself puzzling over a meaningless semblance of an event. Firstly, I found an incredibly uncanny sculpture in a park that I have visited almost every day for several months. Secondly, the sculpture's attire had a canine air about it. And most importantly, my dog is gone. Like the trees, the apartment is silent. I rinse my glass noisily in an attempt to change this, but it immediately fades back. An oppressive silence, one that reminds me of the weeks spent alone here just after moving in. I can feel Trevor's absence pressing in, and quickly move to the main room where my iPhone is charging. The urge to search for Trevor is powerful, but even stronger is the need to talk to someone. I feel incredibly vulnerable, and it occurs to me that telling someone about my experience might make it feel less absurd. Scrolling hurriedly through my phonebook to “F”, I find the name of my closest friend, Faith. She does not answer the first two tries. On the third, however, I am treated to a tinny but friendly voice. It does not take me long to realise that she has taken something. Her normal placid tone is irregular and gushy. She is overwhelmed by the simplest turn of phrase. Far from being disappointed, I feel a distinct sense of relief. Her state of mind tells me that elsewhere in the world familiar people are doing familiar things. She bombards me with so many questions that I am able to forget completely about Trevor, and about the statue. We talk about university, and about work. I tell her about my job as a supermarket cashier. She is polite and tries to sound interested, which I find very endearing. We talk about her parents, who forced her to go to university, and are now trying to force her to leave. I can't stand people like that, I tell her, without meaning any offence. She takes none. We laugh about the old, and their often injurious sense of authority over the young. It is nice. In the end I decide not to tell her about what happened. It has been over an hour and I can feel her starting to tire of talking to someone who cannot share her state of mind. In any case, I don't want to bring her down. And any advice or consolation from her now would comfort me less than her cheerful intoxicated chatter. So I tie things up by asking her to pay me a visit soon, and promising (somewhat ruefully) to email her the photos of my dog she requested some months earlier. I hang up feeling a bit more sane. As if the sculpture in the park was merely part of the same warped emotional incident as losing Trevor. Which I suppose it was. I resolve to look for him, and pour myself another drink whilst sending a message to the GPS collar fastened around his neck.
The response is almost immediate, leaving me little time to ponder Trevor's position for myself. It is an eight figure grid-reference. Sipping my whiskey I take my laptop through to the main room and enter the string of numbers into Google maps. It doesn’t make sense really, when it comes. The marker on screen is planted squarely on my street, on my very apartment building, in fact. Grabbing my keys, I run barefoot down the single flight of stairs and out into the night. I call once, twice. There is no response. No skittering of claws on tarmac. No friendly panting making its way toward me. Dejected, I resend the message, refreshing the grid-reference. It is identical to the first. Back inside I check Google maps again. With the same result. The inverted tear-drop shape of the marker sits innocently on my apartment building. I lean back in my chair and finish my drink, slowly. On the way out I checked the charger for the GPS device, which I keep next to the door. It was empty, and I have never misplaced it. I also have a clear recollection of seeing it on Trevor's collar shortly before his disappearance. An uncomfortable realisation. It's just past eleven. There's no way I can call the manufacturer of the collar now. Resigned to wait until morning I put on some cheerful music – Van Morrison's Astral Weeks – and perform a quick search of each room. I know that I won't find it, but I also know that I won't sleep until it's done, if at all. All too soon, however, I find myself back in front of my computer with a cigarette, having refreshed both the grid-reference and my drink. The black arrow shape of the hood has started to play on my mind persistently. What stopped me from lifting it? This is pointless, I tell myself, and decide to do something to take my mind off it. The album finishes, and I put on another. This time Tin Drum by Japan. I close my browser, and open Gingerbread Man.
Trevor's truancy was not entirely his fault, I must admit. Gingerbread Man is a fractal exploration program, and when studying a fractal, I am barely here. Thus his normal walking routine has become somewhat patchy. I have taken to waiting for him to scratch at the door, and then simply taking him downstairs to relieve himself. I still walk him, but he is often left to lie in his bed, gazing at me with a pitiable kind of boredom. This treatment was, in hindsight, nothing short of cruel. The guilt that I feel now makes me squirm inwardly. I think I knew deep down that something like this would happen eventually. But I ignored it. I even hate myself for feeling guilty; as if some part of me thinks that I can balance my wrongdoing by a mere emotional response. What if he doesn't come back? Drifting around the countryside until gypsies find him and sell him. And the hooded face. I don't dare think about an encounter between that thing and my dog. If it was real. I wish I could blame someone but I know that it is entirely my fault. Gingerbread Man is just a piece of software, albeit one that has usurped my dog's role of partner in solitude. This is because Gingerbread Man allows one to lose the parameters of daily life.
Had you spoken to me a month ago, you would most likely have heard me say the same of a book. But fractals are superior, at least, as far as I'm concerned. Books end, and are a linear perception of a finite domain. They are often subject to irrelevance, and are always dependant upon the the subjective experience. Perhaps I simply did too much reading over the course of my masters degree, but I think it is empiricism that books lack, a self-evidence that is only too visible in the Mandelbrot fractal, which is the set explored by Gingerbread Man. The amount of sensory data contained in the Mandelbrot fractal is infinite and it never ceases to amaze me that this piece of software was given away free in a box of cereal at the supermarket in which I work. The nature of a fractal can be described in terms of a feedback loop. One starts with what is known as a non-linear equation, and inputs what is known as a complex parameter. I won't go into complex numbers since I don't understand them myself. Suffice to say they are related to the imaginary unit “i” which, in turn, is found in certain mystical areas of physics, such as the mathematics of how planes fly. To create a feedback loop, one puts the complex parameter through the non-linear equation and is given a result. This is called an iteration, and is fed back into the equation to give a new one. And so on and so on until one has an abundance of data that can, if computed correctly, be graphically depicted as a fractal. Hence the term feedback loop arises, since the output data is input into the equation infinitely. Changing the parameters and the equation will yield different results, but Gingerbread Man is limited in this respect. One can take the number of iterations of the Mandelbrot equation very high, but it is only a single equation that one can explore. This suits me, however, since I would much prefer to explore one realm in depth than a multitude of shallower realms. I have even picked up favourite routes and locations in the patterns. Landmarks, so to speak, which always provide me with new and beautiful facets upon my inspection. The simplest of these to find is the valley of seahorses, and I am heading there now, enjoying the architectural quality of the shapes on screen with my fourth glass of single malt on the table beside me. I hope that if I can find areas of the fractal that I recognise, it will have a similar effect to the phone call I made earlier this evening. It will give me a frame of reference from which I can measure the nature of tonight's events, and feel distant from them. In this sense the Mandelbrot universe is something of a reality check. Strange, really, that I use the consistency of another universe to measure that of my own. I really do see the shapes before me as a self-contained world, even if it only exists as visual information. It has laws, growth and decay of form, and information is never lost or gained. It is a closed system. Silent, and static. I have never been able to reach the maximum iteration capacity of the Gingerbread Man, since my laptop tends to overheat. So in this sense it is infinite.
Soon I have found two of my favourite formations, looking like great vertiginous root structures winding down into noise. I go further, carefully selecting the portion of the image that I wish to enlarge. Time passes. I am quite drunk, and very glad that I don't have work tomorrow. The sight of the root structures was coldly reassuring, like discovering that although you left the front door open all night, nothing has been stolen. I look at the clock. It is almost two. The music ended, I'm not sure when. I decide to sleep now, and look back at the fractal one more time. And notice a shape. It is far away, and placed awkwardly in one of the dark areas of negative space that occupy the Mandelbrot periodically. I enlarge the image, leaning forward.
Lying there, in the pool of blackness at the foot of the root like structure, is a tiny image of a dog. Transfixed.
Then my computer gives a a quiet, high-pitched whine followed by a click. Then it goes black. Panicked, I stab repeatedly at the power switch. Nothing happens. I lay my hand on the keyboard. It is burning hot. I withdraw my hand quickly and ponder what just happened. It was Trevor there. I am sure of it. The markings were identical, inasmuch as the low-resolution image would allow. The same dark patch on his right side and the same chestnut coloured face. Like a little mask. I think about the grid reference. The marker indicating my apartment building. I try to turn my laptop on again but it remains black, silent. Nervously I lower the lid of my computer. It is time for me to go to bed, I decide. I am very drunk. Swaying to my feet I aim for my bedroom, but before I can get there I am hit by another terrible coughing fit. The coughs are cacophonous, blinding. I go to the bathroom and try to drink some water but find myself doubled up on the edge of the bath, spitting it into the sink. The image of Trevor's inert body amongst the fractals spins behind my eyelids. At last the fit leaves, and I open my eyes. The sink is flecked with red.
That night is the strangest of my life. I do not sleep, really. My room becomes the stage for a collection of night terrors that seem to last for days. I can feel sleep tantalizingly close, but each time it approaches I become aware of a tall, pale intruder waiting in the corner of my vision. Sometimes it points at me. Then it drifts forward with a slow, silent step. And lets its arm fall. It remains there, face hidden. I am stuck to the bed which seems to tilt sickeningly to the left. When the sleep paralysis departs I am soaked in sweat, tangled up in the bedsheets with a raging thirst. Returning from the bathroom I ball myself up under the bed cover, not wanting to see any more of the eerie performance taking place in my room. In the small damp space I can hear the sound of my breathing. Wind in the leaves. The unlit path. My breaths become louder and louder until they wake me, leaving me sprawled across the bed in the glare of the morning. I do not forget a single part of the night terrors. They are all there, heavy and distinct as I stare at the milk billowing into my morning coffee. What I can't recall is that which I saw in the Mandelbrot last night. I have a hazy recollection of glimpsing Trevor in the fractals, but it seems incredible. And the dreams are interfering, pushing it aside. As if trying to hide it.
The next few days pass quickly. Trevor does not find me on my visits to the park, during which I stay well clear of the trees. I miss him so much. My laptop comes back to life on Sunday evening, but I daren't open Gingerbread Man for fear of what I might see there. The weekend is over and I am back at work, which is good. I can forget about Trevor's absence in the tedium of low level retail. My cough worsens. I keep seeing red. The dreams do not return, thankfully, but each night I wake up at about two O'clock drenched in sweat. When I speak to Faith about a week later she tells me that my voice sounds different. Trevor has still not come back, but I tell her nothing about what has happened. I don't want to worry her. The strangest thing about the following days, however, is the grid-reference. It has taken to following me. Each time I refresh it and enter it into the maps application on my iPhone it tells me that Trevor is with me, sharing my exact location. This is spooky at first, but fast becomes frustrating. I call the manufacturer and they perform a check to see if the GPS device is functioning properly. They tell me that it is. The following week Faith and another friend come to visit. They are shocked at how much weight I have lost, and at the frequency with which I am overcome by coughing. It becomes impossible not to tell them about what has happened, although I still withhold my encounter with the statue. Faith is distraught that I have lost my dog, helps me put up signs despite it having been over a fortnight since his disappearance. Before leaving she makes me book an appointment with the doctor, insisting that I talk to someone about my cough. I begrudgingly agree, only because she will do it for me if I don't.
When the appointment comes I am very nervous. I hadn't considered this cough to be a problem, and still smoke as regularly as ever. I tell this to the doctor – an old man with a small moustache and a persistent air of disapproval – who tells me that “of course this is a problem” and that I “should have come earlier so we could have treated it more effectively”. The last of these two phrases is very frightening, and becomes even more so when he schedules me in for an X-ray the following day. It does not take long for the results to come back. When they do I immediately call Faith to tell her what is happening. I tell her that it is what is known as a teratoma, a benign tumour that contains germ cell tissues. That is to say that tumours such as this contain tissues normally associated with organs. Hair, teeth, and even components of hands and feet have been observed. But mine is different, I tell her. Firstly, it is found in a highly unusual place. Although women are more likely to contract this kind of tumour, the lung is a place that they very rarely inhabit. In this respect I am almost medically unique. She asks if I'm okay, if I'm frightened. I tell her that fear does not really come into it. Then I tell her the second reason that my condition is unique. Why in fact, I have made medical history.
I tell her that they have never encountered a teratoma containing canine hair, and teeth.
submitted by sicklyrunt to nosleep [link] [comments]

Abducted by a furry.

I'm from Ironton, Ohio. My name is Chris. (On ICQ, Yahoo and Aim I went by Blaze). This ~is~ my life's story, so it's pretty long. I'll pretty much be writing everything down in the order that I remember it happening.
My mother had me when she was 16, my dad was illiterate and had pretty severe bipolar as well as paranoid skitzophrenia. Childhood was hell because of the constant fighting and my dad flipping out and breaking things. Anyway, my mother had me put on SSI when I was maybe 7 or 8. I was diagnosed with ADHD but it was actually autism (they didn't know much about it or how to detect it back then), they put me on Ritalin, which I personally think is wrong and there are a lot of side affects to giving a child something like that such as hormonal changes and prostate issues later on. Kinda made me become sexual at too early of an age. Was always grinding against stuffed animals and I was only 8 or so, having messed up sexual fantasies.
Oh, I was also molested by a neighboor friend when I was 11, so that also could have had some effect on me.
My mom was the typical "battered wife" - when my dad had his flip outs she'd hide me in the closet. He'd break everything in the friggin' house. When I got older I tried to defend my mom, it was like a kind of contest between me and my dad to out-crazy each other. I'd come to her defense and basically want to beat the snot out of my dad and she'd just say "he's your father, it's not his fault, he's just got the devil in him." I hated hearing that.
I'd go to school and wonder if when I came home the house would be on fire or something. Life was pretty much go to school, come home, go upstairs to my room and try to avoid drama. I'd hear my parents fight and I'd just put on music.
My dad and I would work on cars when he wasn't being a crazy destructive bipolar nut job. He'd get salvage cars to fix up and we'd pull out the dents and fill the rest with Bondo and paint over them. Fun stuff, when he was being normal. Not so fun when he'd break whatever he was working on. That was my cue to go back upstairs and play Nintendo.
Oh yeah, he was working at a Junkyard under the table (he too was on SSI) my mom "managed" his money for him.
Went to a redneck Highschool, hated everyone there except for a few actually decent people. The place I went, you had to be racist to fit in. Everyone chewed snuff and bragged about having relatives in the Klan. I didn't have many friends, maybe enough to count on one hand. I made it a point to keep my real self hidden so I wouldn't face even more bullying. Everyone already harassed me enough for being a spazzy nerdy kid, the last thing I needed was for anyone to know about me being gay... (This fear of being outed prevented me from opening up to people I knew who might be gay, and Ironton is such a small place that once information leaks it travels rapidly).
There -was- a cute guy who was in the marching band who very clearly was gay, but I never had the courage to approach or out myself to him. Kinda wish I had slipped him a bit of paper with my phone number on it, but then also my mom listened in on my phone conversations by picking up the other receiver.
Got a computer maybe sometime around 10th grade. Started spending more time on that than hanging out with "friends" - I got acquainted with "furries" pretty much by accident, I was hanging out on a Tails (Sonic fandom) message board and through that I got into furry stuff.
I started getting on ICQ a lot, talking to all these strangers who shared a common interest in cute characters. I didn't get into the pornographic side of it til much later, though I had been having those kinds of fantasies in my head for a long time and quite early. Aside from ICQ I used Furcadia a lot. Furcadia was a graphical chat "game" sorta like what Second Life is, except it's all very basic and in 2D. You pick a species and clothes and walk around talking to other furries.
I got into Yahoo Groups and traded furry "yiff" pics (porn) with people.
Got into Vocational for my 11th and 12th year of school. Took computer classes. Didn't do a whole lot with it. I couldn't afford to take A+ cert test and took C+ cabling which I did nothing with after I graduated.
Oh yeah, the summer I graduated my dad hit my mom with the telephone reciever. Gave her a big bruise on her temple. I had already taken off for my uncle's at the start of the fight because I didn't feel like sticking around. We only came back because I was scared he'd kill her. We get back and she stumbles off the porch and we get her in the car and take her to the police station. Took pictures of her bruise.
My dad tried to file for divorce then changed his mind. My mom basically made me sugar coat him on the witness stand so he'd get off light with community service instead of jail time. I started spending even more time on the computer. I didn't want to be around either of my parents because of the drama. I hardly had any local friends, I envied people who lived in better places that WEREN'T Ironton, Ohio.
Despite being graduated, my mother did not try to encourage me to "leave the nest." She didn't even try to push me to get a job or become independent in any way. She would have been content to have me live upstairs for the rest of my life. She was most definitely a "helicopter mom" - hovering over everything.
I had a few visits from some furry friends in nicer cities. Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus. My mom's opinion of "internet people" was that they're all serial killers.
When I had my first visit she asked him a whole bunch of questions. It was rather embarassing.
The same guy came back down again with some of his friends to take me to Anthrocon (2001). Told my mother it was "just an anime convention."
They all came to my house and we hung out, went to Jo Anne Fabrics so they could throw together some pretty terrible looking fursuits. Then we got in the guy's car and he drove us the 18 hours to Pittsburgh.
Got to the con and I was pretty overwhelmed. I'd hardly been anywhere outside of Ohio. There were so many people, so many suits. At one point my friends ended up ditching me to go into the "headless lounge" where the suiters go to cool off and they told me I couldn't go with them. I hung out by the piano feeling dejected. Along comes "Cal" ... A guy twice my age, not attractive in the slightest, but someone was being nice to me so I didn't care....
He started rubbing my shoulders out of nowhere, I felt creeped out but I was also lonely and felt like my friends left me, he bragged about being a trained masseuse and offered me a massage if I came up to his room with him.
I did and things went a direction they shouldn't have. It went from me getting a massage to him biting me and penetrating me... I went back to my friends' room at the con with bite marks and was promptly made fun of. Felt bad.
Despite this, when I got back home I still kept talking to the guy via his ICQ number. He wanted to keep seeing me.
He'd mail me little gifts, call me on the phone.
He even came to visit, which completely creeped out my mother since this was a 32 year old man visiting her, at the time, 20 year old son (who also still looked 16).
My mom got hold of his wallet to do background checks on him suspecting he's a pedo (she wasn't far off).
Still she didn't do anything to stop anything.
He came back again to take me and some much cuter "local" friends to King's Island. (Local being like, 45 min away in Charleston, West Virginia) I should have stayed and tried to pursue things with Villicent, the local furry who had a crush on me, lol.
But instead I'd eventually end up leaving with C. I wanted out of Ironton, badly. Enough to leave with a guy I wasn't even all that attracted to. I just wanted to get away.... Away from my parents, away from the fights, away from backwards racist homophobic redneck Ironton.
The day I was to get on a plane to leave with C to go to Washington state is also the day I learned from my mother that I had been on SSI for most of my life... The fact she never told me infuriated me. I used to skip lunches to save up my money thinking $20 was something big.
I used to go with her to donate plasma to try to save up just to afford going to the convention, and here I was getting a check I didn't even know about, that she was using... "For bills" she says... But between her cleaning house for old people and dad's SSI + junkyard job + reselling fixed up cars, there is no way we could have been that poor.
She was also taking diet pills like Adipex and Phen-Phen "for energy" she says... That makes me think "was she using my SSI on those pills?" It makes me angry because I could have been given a chance - after I turned 16, or 18 - to learn financial responsibility and manage my own finances. Instead I was kept in the dark and the only thing that forced her to tell me was me moving away.
And even then, when I moved there was a 4 month period where she was only sending me half of my check. What did she still need it for? The house was paid off.
Welp... On to C. (2002 to 2004)
He had me paying what he said was "half" of rent in a small converted basement room -- my part was 300 dollars, so his part also would have been 300 dollars... 600 for a room? - doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
He had me set up a joint account with him too, visa debit. Also a bad idea because it meant he had access to my money any time he felt like it.
When he got layed off from his job at Boeing, there was a good 6 month period where he had me paying rent for both of us, while he was drawing both Oregon and Washington unemployment checks.
He showed himself to be a schemer and abusive. He had me pretty brainwashed too. The "emotional drug dealer" talk... "I'm the only one that's going to take care of you and put up with you, everyone else hates you" kind of stuff.
I had friends I would meet at the furry meets and they'd try to save me or get me away from C but he always pulled me right back to him...
C was also a pederast. Very much the ephebopile. He would bring over underage furries from the meets and try to bend them to his will, usually with alcohol. Kids as young as 14 sometimes. If I said anything in protest it was usually ignored or he'd tell me to mind my own business.
I eventually told him I felt like he was too old for me. His reaction to this was to make a suicide threat. He had his dad's Colt 45 always sitting on the nightstand, he put it to his head like he was going to kill himself, I pleaded with him to stop. He then pointed the end of the gun to my temple and acted like he was going to shoot me instead... Click nothing happened. He had taken the bullets out.
He then laughs at me for being so gullible to think he'd kill himself over someone as worthless as me.
Why did I continue living with this person? Because I didn't want to go back to Ironton, Ohio.
I didn't want to go back to where I had no one. Hardly any local furries at all. In Washington there were so many and so close. None of that was back in Ironton.
C and I "broke up" but I still had to live there...
Eventually I ended up talking to someone in Lansing, Michigan (Loopy Foxtail) who wanted to bring me out there to visit and also go to Anthrocon again. I stayed at his place for maybe 4 months. All the while, C still had access to my money and was taking out my part of rent, me being under the impression that I'd still have somewhere to come back to after the visit was over (why did I still want to go back?).
C actually moved someone else in and was charging them rent while still taking out my part using the joint access... He called me and bragged about it. I felt hurt and like there was nothing I could do about it, when really I should have reported him to SSA for abusing his position as my payee and stealing from me.
I visited my parents, they tried to convince me to stay in Ironton but I wouldn't. I knew I'd hate it there.
I went back to Lansing and stayed with the two furries I knew there for a little while longer, then got in contact with a couple in Bellevue, Washington and made my plans to go back, despite Loopy wanting me to stay.
I rode the Greyhound back again, to go live with "Qba" and "Grazel" in Bellevue. (2004 to 2006).
Q was pretty cool. He liked collecting ROMs and emulators for old video game systems, so we definitely had common ground, also the same sarcastic humor. G was more of an MMO person and also quite a bit older than Q.
Qba and I spent more time together than he did with his "husband" (they got married in Portland before the whole thing where gay marriage in Oregon got reversed). G spent nearly all of his free time playing World of Warcraft.
Times were good, at least with Qba and I. We'd hang out, play old games, watch shows. But for whatever reason I wasn't satisfied with who I had around me so I did what I always did and got addicted to ICQ and other messenger programs talking to people. At least there was Pounced (furry personals site) that I could use to look for potential friends / boyfriends, but the person I got along with best was already there in the same apartment with me.
Despite this, I still searched and dated.
My mom kept in contact via phone, informed me that my dad had filled for a divorce to flex his control over her. She asked what she should do and I told her "give him what he wants."
Q introduced me to the world of Second Life and I started spending all of my time on it and so did he. It was an escape, a Virtual World where you can run around a giant sandbox and do whatever. Very addictive. Someday I bet something like this will ensnare everyone... It will be as bad as any drug.
Through Second Life, I bumped into Grue, who was another local Washington furry. Struck up a relationship way way way too quickly. We also got in a car accident trying to go to a Teriyaki restaurant. A delivery driver hit his car and spun us in circles, broke the rear axel. It was his first day out driving.
His uncle got us in contact with a lawyer, supposedly would come into some money since it was the other guy's fault.
Grue was getting kicked out of his parents' place so I let him move in, this was a mistake as he monopolized my space and would go into emo fits and lock himself in my room. He wouldn't explain what was wrong either. "If you don't know what's wrong I'm not going to tell you."
We got in a fight and unfortunately I was the one who was made to leave. I ended up moving into another house nearby with some friends, Steel and Draco. They were pretty bad hoarders, didn't really clean on a regular basis.
My grandfather died and my mom wanted me to come back to Ohio under the pretense of attending the funeral. Nah, she just wanted me back in Ironton again. And the only reason I even agreed to go back was because I knew a black furry in Cincinnati through Second Life who I wanted to see.
(2006)
I get on the plane to go back to stupid frigging Ironton.
I still remember the first thing my mother said to me when she picked me up when I got back and told her about wanting to see Kisach: "I don't think it's right for the races to mix." I replied to that with "well, thanks for reminding me why I hate everyone in Ironton."
I get back, my mom converts everything of mine back to Ohio, assuming I'm going to stay there with her indefinitely. Ironton is much too boring and depressing for me to handle, when you spend most of your life in a horrible redneck small town, then go to much nicer places, then come back... It's like you remember all the reasons you hate the small town and why you miss the much nicer cities you lived in.
The ray of light of course was getting to have Kisach come down to visit. He brought his PS2 and some games and we hooked that up to my mom's big rear projection TV. We had fun and got pretty close but we didn't fool around... I did kiss him rather shyly.
We went back to Cincinnati to visit too. Stayed at his dad's for a while, went to the Cincinnati Mall. It was nice up there. Kisach really wanted us to get a place together, and I should have. Instead, I drove my mother nuts constantly bitching about how much I despise Ironton and she had me set up to go back to Washington... to go live with a guy in Tacoma who I knew before I left. I should have stayed, I should have waited for Kisach and not abandoned him.
I should have stayed. I called Kisach from the motel my mom and I spent the night at and cried my eyes out, told him I wouldn't forget him, that I'd try to come back for him. Ugh. I should have just not left at all and toughed things out.
Got to Tacoma, lived with someone I'll call "R" ... R was okay, if just a bit hard to figure out. R collected shotacon, cub furry art and some.... other things. The situation eventually changed and R planned on moving to Tennessee to start a power washing business. I didn't want to go with, I dunno why. Too attached to Washington, I guess.
Got back into contact with "C" again and got a ride down to Vancouver, WA to stay with Bengalix. That was.... interesting. I lived with Bengalix in a very filthy apartment with him and two very crazy people (a straight couple with domestic problems that were worse than my own parents) I didn't know this at the time but Bengalix and the two other people were doing meth... Something I'm just not into.
I wound up leaving that situation pretty quickly. I also kinda tattled to the apartment complex management about the meth use and the fact the straight couple had their kids around that environment.
Left that and wound up living with Purrcival in Portland, Oregon. It was a cramped tiny studio apartment across from what was PGE Park. Portland was nice, you could bus everywhere, take the Max line anywhere. Could walk to Pioneer Courthouse Square, which was the big hangout center. Lots of food carts. I loved Portland.
During my stay at that apartment I decided on a random whim of memory to call up the number for the lawyer of my case from the accident I was in with Grue back in Bellevue. I wasn't even expecting anything, but I was to come into some money from the accident. Wouldn't-cha know, "C" would come back into my life to swoop in and take advantage.
He convinced me to let him handle the 4300 dollar accident settlement I'd be getting. Convinced me to let him use half of it to get a house in Beaverton and he'd pay me back. This of course was a sham. He got the house but he took the entirety of the money, saying the landlady wanted it all up front. I let the same person who always used me and scammed me do it yet again.
I was even being charged 400 for a room in a house that my settlement money helped him to get with no real plans on when I would be payed back.
I stayed there for quite a while. Eventually got woken up by my friend "S" about just how badly I got conned. Even though I was pissed about getting used again, I did enjoy living in the area. I liked being able to see other furries. I had a lot of good friends and good encounters.
(2007)
Eventually I met someone and moved again, I'll call him JV. I moved with him in his trailer in Clackamas. The relationship didn't last long as he was really addicted to MMO games like G and I really just don't like those at all. We got in a situation where he'd play his MMO's and I'd be chatting to people on Second Life or something because I felt lonely.
Probably same as how Q must have felt with G.
I was looking for outside attention a lot. Pounced, Aim, Yahoo, ICQ. Got on Myspace. Bumped into the guy I had a crush on in highschool but hadn't been courageous enough to talk to. He said I should have said something to him.... sigh
My dad also got in contact with me over myspace, I had not communicated with him for probably 8 years. He sent me a sort of apology gift in the form of DVDs of Knight Rider and various 80s movies we both liked. Initially I was scared he'd try mailing me some kind of bomb or something crazy.
While being on myspace I found out my favorite band would be coming to Portland - Dir en grey, a Japanese metal band I had loved since finding their music in 2003.
I went into full obsessed autistic weeaboo mode and took it upon myself to make fliers at the library with their copying machine and do promo by handing those out to random people or anyone who looked weeaboo enough.
Went to the concert and had a fantastic time.
JV and I grew more and more distant. I started sleeping on the couch that doubled as my computer chair. I developed what I believe was a torsion in my left testicle. JV took me to the ER to get looked at, they assumed it was epididimitis caused by an infection and shot me full of antibiotics (Rocephin / Ceftriaxone) was instructed to take a COLD bath, but by the time I got home I forgot this instruction.
I took a hot bath instead and my left testicle and scrotum expanded. I didn't go back to the ER even though I should have. It's possible I had an allergic reaction. Didn't think a whole lot of it since I could still masturbate without much issue. Should have gone back to ER and told them.
JV and I officially broke up and he expressed desire to have me out in 6 months.
Met someone I'll call JD via Pounced who lived pretty far out, but was willing to travel to be closer. I explained my situation and we made plans to save up and move together .
JD was probably the nicest person I would ever know, someone who truly loved me and cared for me. I didn't find this out until later, but JD actually left home on a "Wave" bus from Tillamook to Portland and slept on a park bench just so he could get closer to me. He met some other furries in the area by Sunset Transit Center by total random chance and he moved into their spare room. I finally could go visit him.
He got a temporary job doing canvassing for HRC.
Later he moved in with his friends he knew from Highschool when they got an apartment in Milwaukee, Oregon. He went from having a bed and a room to sleeping in a recliner. But he did it to be closer to me, so we could be together.
(2008)
I saved up close to 600 dollars and we pooled our money and got an apartment across from the Clackamas Mall. It was a tiny Studio apartment but fairly nice. Had a fireplace, a sectioned off "bed area" and "living area" - nice little place. Cheap at the time. We survived on just my SSI and my EBT. Amazing that we did that.
We found a sweet little kitten by the laundry facilities. Decided to keep him. Cute little grey and white kitty, mean and bitey as all hell.
I was happy even if we were struggling. I had JD, I had my computer and a nice CRT TV with all my emulators. Life was pleasant. But for whatever reason I still felt compelled to keep seeking out other furries when I didn't need to. I shouldn't have wanted anything else than what I had.
I had a good relationship with a good person. I screwed it up pretty badly. I couldn't stop being a damn internet addicted hoebag. He'd try to get random jobs to try and support us so I wouldn't have to cover everything, and I just used that time alone to slut it up online. Surprisingly he was forgiving, even though he shouldn't have been.
He eventually got on SSI himself with the help of a disability lawyer. At least then we didn't have to scrape by so much, we could each cover things pretty equally.
Despite how much he loved me I was still a bad person. I didn't appreciate who or what I had.
We moved out of our studio apartment and into a bigger 2 bedroom in the same complex with one of JD's friends who he knew since they were kids. I had everything I could want in that apartment. But I still didn't appreciate it.
JD started going to community college, begged me to start going with him because he felt scared and alone going by himself. I wouldn't listen and would just stay home, playing my old games, chat RP-ing with strangers.
(2010)
My dad got really unexpectedly ill. He had Creutzfeldt Jakob disease. He collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital. Nobody knew what was wrong with him (until after the autopsy). He eventually died. I felt terrible because he had tried really hard to reach out to me and keep in contact and I didn't keep up my end by calling him, I just waited for him to call me most of the time. CJD is also hereditary... So there's a high probability I'll develop it too.
Despite all the crazy domestic violence crap he put me and my mother through, I was heartbroken. I wouldn't get up from bed. I just layed under my blanket going over scenarios of how I could have prevented his accident, but I couldn't have.
Simple things like watching an episode of Doctor Who (the episode where Rose stops her dad from dying) would put me in crying fits.
JD took me too Multnomah County animal shelter and we got a dog, a corgi. It was to try and bring me out of my depression by trying to give me something to care for.
.......
We eventually moved from the place we were in and got into a different apartment with some room mates. JD was really sad to leave his friend behind as he didn't really want to.
Things with the other room mates were "ok" for a while, but they kept getting involved in mine and JD's disputes when they really shouldn't have. They kept trying to split us up, get me to move out. JD didn't want me to move, but he did use that kind of talking as a threat to get me to do what he wanted (like go to community college with him). It's the kind of thing I don't respond well to because I take it too seriously.
We had a "temporary hiatus" where I had to sleep in the livingroom. The room mates took this as their chance to keep pushing the idea that I'd have to move.
JD didn't really want that at all. He didn't want me to move. But since I felt like it was what everyone wanted and because I felt like JD and I were finished, I started pursuing another relationship and person I thought I'd move out with.
"K" was, ironically, someone JD brought over for my benefit to try and make me happy, instead we ended up dating. I dunno if I did it because I was mad about having to move or thinking he'd be an outlet or what. He reminded me a lot of myself, pretty helpless. I thought maybe if I could help him then in a way I could help myself. Maybe having someone to take care of would push me to have to do what needed to be done to become functional.
Poor guy had everything going against him. Parents didn't have any of his necessary documents like birth certificate and stuff, he lived in a converted two room shed behind a very gross hoarded house. I tried to help him get on the process to get SSI but it was pretty useless since he had none of the documents that would have been needed.
The relationship didn't last very long, maybe 6 months.
JD called me when I was over there at K's for a couple of days begging me to come back home and of course I did. JD gave me a stipulation, again with the ultimatums but this one actually had an option to go with it: Get on financial aid to go to community college with him + get back on anti-depressants -- or move. And since I didn't want to move, I took part one.
(2011)
Started attending community college with JD, it was actually really fun despite how afraid I was in the beginning. I got on the school paper with him and eventually snagged the position of Copy Editor, which I excelled at because I'm great at scanning text for mistakes with my eyes.
We still had occasional fights, it seemed unavoidable. One time we were trying to go meet up with a friend we knew from school and JD had me hold his phone to read directions for him. The friend called and I didn't know how to answer it because I assumed it worked like a normal button. I had no idea you were supposed to slide it a specific way to answer. He got mad at me and yelled "You're so useless, I may as well send you on a plane back to Ironton!" Hearing that hurt. I got angry, made him stop the car and I got out and threw the fidget ring he got me on the ground.
Had other roommate (M) pick me up and eventually JD and I did make up after both of us calming down.
We continued going to community college. JD graduated before I did (2013) because he started going a year before me. When I started having to go by myself, I felt a change. I missed going to classes with JD. I missed riding to school in the morning with him, getting food, being there together - riding back home together. Listening to audiobooks together.
I still went, but it didn't feel the same as before. I had to bus there on my own and JD wasn't with me, he was back home. I had late night classes and getting home after them was very rough because of the nearly 2 hour long bus rides.
My sleep pattern was already hard to maintain and getting home at 1am didn't make it any easier. By the time I'd get home JD would already be asleep.
If I didn't immediately go to sleep I'd end up staying up all night on the computer and ruining my sleep pattern again.
Even when it wasn't chatting to people I'd just stay up reading Wikipedia or doing some other pointless activity. I didn't realize it at the time but the internet was an addiction for me. I couldn't tear myself away from it. Once I got a smartphone that addiction became even worse because now I had constant connection in my hand 24/7. I honestly hate the fact smartphones even exist and that I got one. Up until the start of 2014, I had an old flip phone.
I'd be on the smartphone on the ride to and from school, on my alternate Facebook account (I kept my furry stuff separated from my main account). Eventually my alternate account got locked under Facebook's Real Name policy. I was annoyed because I could no longer access that account.
But why did I even need all these external connections? Why did I need to be chatting to people I couldn't even touch when I had a bf sitting in the room with me?
The nature of the internet.... Is numerous artificial connections. You make so many and connection loses meaning because you can always find someone who likes what you like, but is so far away so you just feel sad.
I guess maybe I was feeling alone because I felt like my interests, fetishes, hobbies and other stuff weren't shared or approved of so I was seeking out that approval and for others to legitimize things I liked. Maybe he felt the same way, as he had a lot of games and shows he liked that I lacked the attention span for. I just don't do MMO games, doesn't interest me much.
I would rather keep playing the same emulated games I collected over the years than spend time on an MMO. Emulation was pretty much the only thing I played except for rare occasions when we'd find something we both liked.
I lost my copy editor position at school as you can only have a specific position for so long. I had to switch to another position and it was website editor which I was terrible at.
My time at school started to feel less fun. I spent more and more time online, to the point I was missing days of class because I couldn't get up the next day.
JD demanded that I get back on anti-depressants, as he reminded me that this was the other half of his stipulation, and going to school was only one part. I set up an appointment with my therapist but I ended up missing it. What happened was that I had been up late as usual, even though I knew I had an appointment... by the time I got into bed behind JD there wasn't much space. At some point in my sleep I wound up laying across him diagonally which was uncomfortable for him and he woke up rather angry.
Instead of doing the logical thing and fixing my position on the bed, I just left for the couch in the living room and slept there. I didn't think to set an alarm to wake myself up. I woke up realizing I had missed my appointment, and instead of taking the responsibility for it, I tried to blame JD. That was addmitedly unfair. Naturally he got upset. "S" our other room mate stepped in to take the opportunity to yet again push the "I think you should move" agenda same as before I started going to school, and JD bought it and said "yeah, maybe you SHOULD move!" and that just opened the flood gates on my anger. I said things in response that I didn't mean just because I was angry that he would tell me to move.
And he didn't actually mean what he was saying about wanting me to move, he just wanted me to alter my behavior and the only way he knew how to do that was by frightening me with scare tactics. He thought by scaring me with the impending fear of having to move I would change, open up, tell him what's bothering me. That's not how my emotions work, when someone tells me to move I take that serious... and to outside observers it doesn't look like "I'm just doing this to scare him, I don't actually mean it."
To S, it was like "Oh good, I finally win. Now they'll separate."
I shouldn't have fucking listened. I should have just taken off, put on earbuds and went on a walk to calm down. Instead, because I felt hurt I felt the need to say something hurtful back, even if I didn't really mean it. I told JD that I wasn't happy in our relationship and that I wished I had stayed with K instead of coming back to him. This hurt JD more than anything... Probably more than being told to move hurt me.
He said "God damnit, Chris. I would have spent the rest of my life with you" hitting his knee with his fist and falling to the ground crying. I didn't expect this. He told me to move. I thought that meant that was it. Over. I don't like you. That's what those words meant to me. "I hate you, get out."
But he didn't mean any of it. It was S influencing us both. To JD it was a tool to get me to "shape up" but to me, you don't tell me to move unless you mean it.
The next day while I was at school he was sending me Facebook messages. Saying that he was up at his dad's and feeling alone. Feeling scared he was going to die alone. That he missed me and wished I was there with him on the coast. The coast was where we always went to wind down.
But I didn't see a "I don't want you to move" or a "I'm sorry. I didn't mean it." Our conversation continued and I was just flat out resistant, still upset, heart still hardened from anger.
JD decided he would sleep out in the living room like I did the first time we broke up. I monopolized the bedroom and spent even more time online, talking to my stupid little internet friends. Months passed by. I forgot Christmas. Normally we'd put up a tree in the living room. That space was taken up by a tent made of fabric stick pinned to the cieling.
Poor JD slept alone on a crappy futon mattress with a foam cover while I got the bed. I would hardly talk to him sometimes. I spent more time talking to the guy in China who I met off Furgather than I did talking to JD. Occasionally we would watch a show together... Gotham. American Horror Story, An Idiot Abroad. A movie here and there.
He tried to get me involved in a Let's Play thing he was setting up with the other room mates but I was too busy hiding away in the bedroom. He told me of his plans to move and that I'd need to find replacement room mates. He begged me "don't move in some random furries, you think you'll get along because of that but you won't. Go on Craigslist or something, find normal people to live with."
He was right but I wouldn't listen. I wound up going on a Facebook group for the local furry community and posting an alert and of course I got two crazy people. H and D.
H seemed okay through talking online, but then so does everyone. It's only when you live with people that you find out what they're actually like. H used the fact she makes fursuits (full body mascot costumes based on a buyer's fursona) as a selling point for herself as a room mate. Of course I did not know this was her only source of income, as she had no job, no SSI and D was her only support.
D was the stereotypical emo kid, oh look how angsty and dark I am. He worked a security job so he was slightly higher on the totem pole than H, but he was immature as hell. The both of them were, but I didn't realize this until after JD left and I had to deal with them alone.
For the first couple of months or so, I was doing good. I was focusing on making music and building on the abilities I had learned in my electronic music classes. I was collecting gear. Making things like a neat padded microphone box, and yeah I was trying to find another relationship and I had a guy I was talking to that I liked, but eventually JD became part of my life again and I spent all my time obsessing about him. Obsessing on this idea that we'd find a place and move back in together, which in many chats he also went along with. I wrote off everyone to try and meet the standards of a person I was not even in a relationship with, nor would I ever be again. And this is why every time I'd have an ex, I'd just completely break off from them, but this I couldn't. Ugh.
I should have just deleted my Facebook, purged my phone and never talked to JD again. I should have focused on any of the good friends / potential relationship interests I had who I could be fully open about my kinks with who didn't make fun of me and make me feel like I had to hide aspects of myself. Instead I go visit JD at his new house, I visit with the dog and cat. Getting my heart filled back up with memories. Getting close again when I shouldn't. And eventually he has to move into a different place but can't take the animals... He gives them back to me and they're reminders of our life together. He shouldn't have done that, they should have stayed with him, but his "friend" who bought the house wouldn't let him keep them. Also, I didn't find out until much later after a conversation with a mutual friend that, once the dog was back with me, H and D would enter my room when I was not there to do sexual things with him. Finding that out really hurt a lot.
(Continued).
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