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The Great Web of Slime
There is a web of invisible slime that reaches out from the artificial traditions of psychological think tanks, like The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, whose roots trace back to the Vienna Psychology Club; a web that stretches across the entire world and inserts itself into your lives in intrusive, unethical and corrupt ways. Groups are deceiving you for a dollar, for a vote, for your personal information, for your labor; for your body and soul. This deception is carried out using every screen you look at, every song offered to you, every sign on a billboard, every popular book, magazine and newspaper. If you want honest information; if you want to see past the slime, you are going to have to look hard for it. If you are just starting down your journey of being cognizant of the deception, the scope is difficult to believe but well borne out by the evidence. We all know the news is dishonest, but the common myth is that it is for the ratings and for the views. The ways in which the news is dishonest is what is really difficult for people to swallow and the “why” still very much in debate until you understand the framework by which they operate. Systemic corruption is no exception to the march of modernization; more sophisticated than ever and more capable of staying hidden to the average person. Modern day slavers control the narrative and the reason it is a spiritual conflict between good and evil is because there are a very small group of people who believe that stealing your agency/free will/consciousness lends itself to their ability to become gods, in their own right. Understanding that the elite have deep occult traditions is important, though often scoffed at. However, to advertise their power and influence, occult messages are constantly and publicly advertised back and forth between these groups. It is no theory that think tanks have studied and implemented cult behavior even going so far as to create artificial cults in which to entrap people. Faceless, emotionless, unempathetic organizations that are merely constructed of words on paper are able to impose these cult tactics on you with impunity and in secrecy. This is the heart of the problem; when it comes to an organization, company, agency, church, etc., these abstract constructs are very much not human, at all. Their existence is alien and unknown to human instincts, who assign human attributes naturally and without conscious thought. These constructs take advantage of normal, honest, empathetic individuals by mimicking empathy, not by actually being empathetic. There are more slaves, now, than ever in human history and the methods of enslaving are far more insidious than ever. Modern slavery networks and the corrupt political ecosystems that allow them to endure are the heart of mankind’s problems. If we, as a society, were able to address the corruption that keeps these networks alive, then we, as society, would solve a lot of problems surrounding organized crime, in general, not just the problem human trafficking. How do we do that? It is very simple; “Zero Trust” policies in organizations and 100% government transparency. That’s it. A great deal of time, effort and money are spent making sure these issues never hit the ballot box and are never part of the platform of a candidate you are given the option to vote for. The movies you watch are constantly reminding you of dangers that allow a select group of idiots to maintain secrecy that is undeserved and clearly wielded for uses other than helping society. Common sense solutions are not prioritized by the media and politicians. Don’t be a part of the destruction of common sense and common courtesy. Stop taking the bait. Stop taking the path of least resistance. We are all guilty, but pushing yourself to be better and do better has a ripple effect in the world around you. Being a terrible person also has a ripple effect. There are enough bad ripples. The concept of an “epiphany” is an important one; where a person’s mind changes on a physical, neurochemical level to the extent that their world view changes. The moment a person is “red pilled” is an epiphany and it is very much the concern of media and Internet shills and their manipulative overlords because they do not want people to have the realization that the system is corrupt from top to bottom and that both sides of most narratives. But, if you do have that realization, there is a plan for you; to do nothing and sit idly by as corrupt forces continue their work. When you have an epiphany, the neurochemical storm actually is a moment where you are most suggestible and most ready to be manipulated. If you manage to raise your level of awareness across multiple narratives, the system almost doesn’t need to care about you, anymore, as they have likely already moved you to inaction and made you unwilling to tell others the truth. While there is a great deal of science that goes behind manipulating people, the tradition is as old as human history, itself; it’s origins, magical from the perspective of the ancients. Whether you call mass manipulation “hypnosis,” “psychology,” “magic” or “science,” the fact of the matter is that it is there in a more constant form than ever, impossible to avoid, and invisible to those who aren’t paying attention or willing to research and think for themselves. Like the idea of dark matter, you cannot see it directly (at least, when done well), but should be able to test and compare data data in different circumstances to detect it. There are many confirmed real world examples of mass manipulation that people should be aware of, because it is very easy for people to believe that it is not happening to them. Many say that is too big of a conspiracy to keep secret; though we already see how it works with a variety of leaks, court cases and plenty of proven real world examples. If you encounter this argument, you have probably encountered someone who is hypnotized into misunderstanding the word “conspiracy”, where a group of people work together to commit crimes. One easy way to create a consensus across media organizations is to enter into “non disparagement agreements.” For example, HBO entered into a non-disparagement agreement with Michael Jackson’s attorneys. A recent court case established that the agreement remains in effect even after his death. This means, with the right law firm, someone can enter into many unknown non disparagement agreements with many companies. It sounds weird, but this is like black magic. Occult literally means hidden. Secret words have been spelled out that the public is not aware of, but creates the illusion that there is a consensus about any given personality; like say a politician, a singer or an actor. A web of mutual non-disparagement agreements works as a form of forensic interruption, preventing people being held accountable for crimes. Between non-disclosure agreements and non-disparagement agreements, there is a web of protected relationships where people, products and even governments are not allowed to be discussed in a negative light. This has created an extortion racket by the media. If you don’t buy in, then you are fair game. Not only are you fair game, they will harass you until you buy in because they literally need something to do due to their lack of ability to speak negatively about their cohorts. When you consider the nexus between government and media, the problem is compounded when you introduce the concept of keeping things secret for national security. Policy has created the circumstance that corporate and secret government interests are intertwined and they become aligned in keeping each other out of jail. While a lot of this is managed at upper echelons, the system is merely taking advantage of human nature, which is why the government and media should be operating from a “zero trust” standpoint and not the other way around, like it currently is. There is and never has been any reason to trust the media or the government, and doubly so when their interests are aligned. There are many proven real world examples. The first ingredient to modern mass hypnosis is saturation and repetition. Your first clue that the message is artificial is when many corporate, government and astroturfing battlegrounds all agree on the same thing. Not only is a contrived message oft-repeated, it is generally very polarized; where, due to cognitive bias, it is designed for consumption by both sides with the ideal result of making one side feel schadenfreude and the other side feel outrage and injustice. Just being aware of this polarization tactic and allowing yourself to have more nuanced opinions that the black or white ones offered up to you, is incredibly effective at not taking the bait. “Systems Psychodynamics” is the name of the psychological framework that is used to monitor and control people, primarily based on attacking and reforming “basic assumptions.” By controlling everyone’s basic assumptions using the repetitious push and pulling narratives, the levers of political and monetary behavior are controlled through “influencers.” This framework reads like it was written for social media, though, in reality, it is much older; social media merely enhances the effects. One easy way to detect the agenda and the widespreadness of the corruption, without even knowing the finer points of mass persuasion techniques, is to see what is censored. Generally, the astroturfing campaigns seek to drown out good information that is contrary to their cause. However, when you find some information that is very damaging to their narrative, especially before they’ve scripted a response, it gets removed. Eventually, they will write up a standard response, but this takes time. For this reason, I incubate a number of censorship experiments across multiple sites. While people easily get away with discussions about aliens and flat earth, conversations about modern slavery are shut down everywhere; particularly if you call people to action in reporting crimes. Sites that purport to be “free speech” will not allow you to openly hunt human traffickers and the “system” seems to hate vigilantes more than anything. Most recently, the censorship around Covid “truth” is heaviest. Censorship of doctors has been swift and totalitarian. However, because I see generally what gets censored, first, I knew this was all a scam from Day One. The first SARS COV 2 tests, up until March, were merely SARS COV tests. Very literally. The SARS COV 2 tests hadn’t been invented, yet. Explaining that the body produces the CR3022 protein (what the antibody tests look for) for all human affecting coronaviruses was heavily censored. Even now, explaining this basic fact that exposes why a great deal of testing is fraudulent, is struck from both Right and Left astroturfing machines. If you really want a rabbit hole to dig through, search the coronavirus pandemic bonds that matured March 23, 2020. Prior to that, the name “Eric Ciaramella” was one of the most censored things on the Internet. Censored, in that the information was deleted immediately. The motivations behind these multi-site censorship campaigns should have everyone concerned because it is consistently in support of Democrat and RINO narratives, politically, and always in favor of human traffickers. However, even the Q Anon group will censor you with a variety of tactics if you speak of certain things in the wrong way or mention the possibility that they, themselves, are part of an astroturfing outfit. Fox News still won’t give a fair shake to the Uranium One/Skolkovo/Troika Laundromat evidence and it betrays them as controlled opposition/ a limited hangout, since it would destroy the Democrats. Any “side” of politics you can be on, whether it’s fringe or mainstream or Right or Left, every group has limits to what truthful statements they will tolerate and the nexus where all the groups meet in alignment is when it comes to discussing modern day slavery and who is profiting from it. Simply removing content is very overt and complaining about it to those who do it will usually earn you a mute or a ban. Running a “brand” across multiple platforms requires conformity to social media company ideologies, or you will be subjected to any and all means of censorship. Covert means of censorship are also rampant. Upvotes.Club offers a service that not only promotes the content you want, but downvotes topics that run contrary to your marketing strategy. This is one of many astroturfing services. Shadow banning is another tactic that can be difficult to detect. “Deboosting” is common in social platforms, as well, where the number or type of viewers who see your content is limited. This breeds “echo chambers” across multiple Internet communities. Out of frustration and curiosity, I began experimenting with different ways to engage with the shill communities. Very often, their own tactics work quite well against them. Years into this push and pull with these groups, my best strategy has evolved to monitor them as they often telegraph economic opportunity and subvert them from behind a layer of complexity a shill script can’t understand and is unable to deal with. When I noticed Bitcoin was being heavily shilled, I saw a signal to buy early. This was the catalyst for rethinking everything I was doing. When I noticed that there was blatant fraud in the media about SARS COV 2, I noticed the exact same behavior I had seen before when I struck it rich with Bitcoin. I even went to my audience and said on a podcast, “the market will be back to normal levels in a month… six tops.” I bought the dip, knowing the numbers were fully overblown. My $TSLA experience has been quite enriching. Every day, in the stock trading communities, shills are looking to pump and dump stocks and groups are spending money to illegally manipulate the stock market. However, you can use different ways to monitor social media to detect potential pumps and dumps. If you start seeing the same thing show up on different platforms, among different known shill groups, you know someone has paid for a pump and dump. So long as you have a set, small percentage to gain, you can avoid the pitfalls and get out early. Right now, that is my “edge”, in trading. I don’t feel nearly as obligated to spread the truth to others, since I’ve realigned my priorities. These technological tools for being the first to news items, to new evidence, finding new ways of searching existing information; not only does it help you navigate past censorship, you can use it to make more “realistic” decisions about the world around you. Politics and the stock market are inextricably linked. To be informed on one, is to be informed on the other. When you begin to pull in more intersecting information, like “systems psychodynamics” and overall agendas of differing groups, you are expanding your knowledge and your consciousness so that your intellect has more of a real world impact. When you delve deep into ancient traditions, you will, eventually, learn of alchemy; usually the pursuit of endless wealth or the search for immortality. Day trading well is, essentially, modern day alchemy in that you are making money from thin air. Musicians transform what is in their mind into a product that can be sold. There are many forms of alchemy. Bitcoin is another great example of modern day alchemy. In my humble opinion, augmenting your own well-disciplined intellect with good computing practices can make you a modern day wizard; an alchemist. Many people were saturated with pro-Nihilism marketing and ate it up with their Cheerio's while listening to Nirvana CDs. A couple of generations of nihilists later, combined with portable dopamine trap screens from waking moment 'til slumber, and people are literally having a hard time finding a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Being a successful trader heals a lot of the damage from that consumerist propaganda and forces people to interact with the natural causes of their decision making. The Market is not racist. The only color you have to worry about is green. The market does not celebrate your success or mock your failures. The opinions of critics do not count. The Market does not care about your feelings or anyone else's. All people enter the Market equal and there are no participation awards. There is no busywork. Your test scores do not matter. All that matters are results and that type of black and white simplicity makes the Market the most sane aspect of society, right now. Though most of the obvious stocks have since reached preCovid normality, it has been easy to make money by sorting every ticker by Feb 20 high, then subtract the current price, calculate potential gain when they return to their old price and pick ones that had a high probability of doubling or tripling your money the fastest. I understand it seems tangential, the stock market angle, but when you are routinely called a “conspiracy theorist”, it helps to be as realistic as possible and there is no better way to prove your theories than by putting your money where your mouth is. The stock market is a vessel from which normal people (”retail investors”) are scammed constantly, for the benefit of institutional investors. The Epsteins, the Soros’, all the political elite; they are playing in this realm and they graduated to using AI and machine learning to augment their schemes years ago. In order to understand the elite, you have to understand their playground. In order to compete in the information age, you need to augment your intellect using technology. If nothing else, use it to be meticulously organized. If you get organized in only one aspect of your life, make it your finances. The Democratic party uses the ADA AI, named from Ada Lovelace and a competitor, in 2016, Cambridge Analytica, was used by the Republicans. These AI’s are augmented with databases and metadatabases of everything that can be served up by a social media APIs. They know everything about you and they don’t spy on your microphones, cameras and screenshots to catch you at crimes; they are spying on you in order to better teach you how to vote and spend money. Combined with an army of astroturfing accounts, these AIs are quite good at manipulating what shows up on your screen. This type of censorship is bad for stock traders, researchers and people who just want a few honest answers. In order to compete a bit better, I have taken to making by own custom feeds and scrapers, so that I can database text of many sites and subjects, which then is far easier to search, but is also able to sort information so that I can find what I am looking for in a few minutes, as opposed to trawling the same channels or search engines everyday and learning relatively little. I am really on the hunt for stuff that is voted up or noticed organically and is in that stage before it catches on by a shill group. I incorporate a lot of OSINT tools and I like to collect leaked databases to be able to compare information. It is very helpful to use machine learning to detect what I need as quickly as possible and serve it up to me, first. Applying my own knowledge of how the astroturfing system works, I have developed strategies to target influencers with new and original information and I can quickly and easily get it to them without influencers even knowing I am the source of the information. I just have to identify the correct group to get my message out, then make sure their leaders see the information, who will naturally post it on their own and their followers will naturally vote information up for free. I don’t do this with stocks (questionable legality), but I do feed good news to the right people and I exert a lot less effort to get ideas across all platforms than I used to. No astroturfing groups are into anti-consumerist ideas. “Hydro Homies” and “No Fap” are two great examples that recommend people be anti-consumerist and avoid specific products. As a result, these movements, despite being healthy and productive, have a lot of trouble gaining traction. There is no mainstream push for a truly healthy agenda. All contrived movements must pay to astroturf and shill because, otherwise, embracing their products and ideas is contrary to your well being. No shill group is working to save you money or trying to convince you to make the right decision, for yourself. There are certain messages almost no one will add social media velocity to; detailed instructions on how to report crimes or catch pedophiles, leaked information that hurts both sides of the political spectrum, anything a little too technical or complex. There are already efforts to make hijack the anti-human trafficking crowd. They will be tricked into meaningless pursuits that have no real world consequence. Money will be raised and wasted. News article after news article will be pumped out detailing how everyone is supporting victims and raising awareness. Meanwhile; nobody of consequence is arrested. The mining industry will continue to use forced labor and the networks they use will also feed the sex slavery and domestic servitude and the systemic policies and corrupt politicians will continue on unimpeded. Let’s hope that changes, but it will require a lot more people getting off their asses and getting involved. It will require a lot more people speaking up outside of their echo chambers. Ready. Set. Go.
NoSleep. Ironically, I am posting this to NoSleep. You are here to read stories so scary that they will keep you up all night, I am here because I can’t go to sleep. I haven’t slept in 3 days, and I can’t even remember the last time I got real sleep. The kind where you go to sleep and stay asleep. The kind where you naturally drift off to a relaxing sleep and not your body forcibly shutting itself down against its own will. So I am sorry if I ramble some, but I can’t help but laugh at the irony of this being on no sleep. Is that funny to you too, or just to me because I am too tired to be rational? Every teenager thinks they have insomnia because they stayed up too long playing video games 2 nights in a row and fell asleep in class, then they sleep for 15 hours straight on the weekend. I was like that once. Life must be tough with that sort of insomnia. I have real insomnia. The kind where people think you are insane, and to be honest, they aren’t wrong. I have had it since I was in college, but it has only gotten worse and worse. I can't even remember the last time I slept. Wait? I told you that already. I’ve been to a sleep specialist. I’ve been on every sleeping pill you can think of. Melatonin, no caffeine, no naps, Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta, silenor, antidepressants, Seroquel, Ativan, benzos, you name it, I have taken more than they recommended. Still no relief or sleep. I know, you are not reading this to read the ramblings of a madman who hasn’t slept in days. You are here because you want a scary story. I’ve got one for you. I think it is real. To be honest, when you haven’t had a real night's sleep in months, dreams and reality start to become one big blur. The truth is, when you are as desperate for sleep as I am, you will do almost anything to get even 1 night of real sleep, no matter how crazy it is. The story starts about 6 months ago, maybe? It was still winter and the virus was not a big deal yet. I remember that much for sure. At this time, my insomnia was at the worst it had been in a few years. I remember I had been up for 4 days straight. When you hit this point, you become jittery. You know when someone has had too much caffeine and they sort of shake uncontrollably. Eventually, lack of sleep does the same thing, my whole body feels like it is trembling, my teeth feel like they are chattering even though they are resting as normal, my hands can’t even hold my phone still. Then there is your mind. You get Brain Fog. At first, it feels like you have been driving on the interstate for 10 hours and can't see or think straight, then you get a second burst of energy and feel great. Most people crash at this point. If you stay up, things that don’t make sense start to make sense. Last is paranoia and anxiety. Every shadow has something lurking in it, ready to jump out and take you. TV or Radio starts to talk to you. You go on Reddit but every story is the same, like god playing a trick on you. You get anxious, praying for sleep, knowing the anxiety is keeping you up even longer. You start to ramble like I am doing again right now. Okay. I am gathering myself now. I had been up for days when a commercial came on for an over the phone psychic reading. If a doctor couldn’t help, maybe a spiritual advisor could. No, I didn’t need a psychic, what I needed was a hypnotist. You have seen them before, they can just snap their fingers and you fall asleep instantly! This is the answer to all of my prayers. It was a scam. They had me lay down and close my eyes, then they softly started talking while I tuned out. When I woke up, she said when I go to sleep at night to relax and listen to a youtube channel that softly plays music and tells you to relax. It didn’t work at all except that every time I listen to soft background music I get the strong urge to make a grilled cheese sandwich, which is weird because I had not had one since I was maybe 9. I think she just hypnotized me to crave grilled cheese. She probably invests in the Big Cheese Industry and makes money by making people crave grilled cheese. What a waste of money. So much for that idea. The next night I still couldn’t sleep. I decided to watch my feel-good movie: Back to the Future. During the movie, Marty goes back in time to 1955 and there is a part where a song comes on, you hear the unmistakable BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUMMMMMMM! MR. SANDMAN! BRING ME A DREAM! (That song will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. I’m not sorry.) When I heard the song, I started to boil over in rage. Maybe it was from the lack of sleep, or maybe I am just insane, but I picked up the remote and threw it into the LED screen breaking the tv. I screamed, “THAT IS THE MOTHER FUCKER WHO HAS CURSED ME! THE FUCKING SANDMAN! I AM GOING TO FIND HIM AND KILL HIM!” This went on for longer than I am willing to admit, but you get the point. The Sandman was my enemy. The one who is supposed to deliver us into sleep every night had decided to stop visiting me. What had I ever done to him to make him skip me every night not allowing me to sleep? The Sandman was to blame. The Sandman was going to have to answer for these wrongs. I was determined to find a way to confront him and give him a piece of my mind. I just had to figure out how the hell you could find or trap it. At this point, I don't care if The Sandman is God himself, I was going to find him.. I thought about it for a while and decided based on movies and books, the way to call a god to you is to summon it. Sounds simple enough, Let’s do it. Another long story short, putting candles in a circle and yelling I SUMMON YOU SANDMAN! Doesn’t work. Again, I was back on the internet looking for someone to help me. After talking to someone I was given the email of an African Witch Doctor named Mrs. Fatima. I emailed her and she agreed to help me if I send her bitcoin. She even offered to come out for more money, but screw that, I can do it myself. Why the hell does everything have to be so difficult? Can’t people just take a credit card like the rest of the world? Always extra steps for some weird-ass digital currency crap. Screw it, I am willing to try anything at this point. I sent her the bitcoin. Whatever the hell that is. It is expensive, I can tell you that much. After she got the money, she replied to my email with detailed instructions and a warning. She could help me summon The Sandman, but advised against it. Summoning a dead person is dangerous, summoning a demon is disastrous, summing a God is deadly. I thought about it for less than a moment and decided to do it. What is the worst that can happen? I die and am in an endless uninterrupted sleep for eternity? Sounds like heaven to me. Under her instructions, I waited until 2 am the following night. You can do it anytime, but the barrier between the spirit realm and the mortal world is the thinnest in the early morning hours when people are sleeping. She advised to go somewhere secluded like in the middle of the woods since it would be desolated and more likely to work. I am doing it in my bedroom, it gets the same amount of girls in it as a desolated forest. Lucky for me, I also need the blood of a virgin, so I got that covered too! Just joking, I don’t need blood. The first thing I needed to do was draw a large circle in chalk. The circle had to be complete and above all else, not broken. The circle is the doorway between realms, if it was not complete it would not work. It also acts as an invisible wall to keep the spirit contained once you summon it. Keep the circle complete at all times. I drew a circle on my hardwood floor. Easy. The next step was to light 5 red candles drawing a pentagram star. They have to be red because the devil is red and we are practicing devil magic, that’s my explanation, not hers. Inside the circle, I was to fill it with sand. If you are summoning The Sandman, you need sand? That was all I needed. Some chalk, candles, a secluded spot, and sand. I was closer than I thought earlier. Next, the hard part, summoning a god. The first step is to clear your mind and meditate. Most people have a hard time with this, but I have been meditating for years. They said it would help me sleep, it doesn’t. Don’t waste your time. The next step is to concentrate on the circle, opening the pathway in your mind. Like imagining it disappearing or opening it like a door? When your mind is clear, envision the one you are summoning. Do I just imagine what I think he looks like in my head? It’ll have to work. When you feel the energy start to peak, only then can you summon the spirit into the realm. Call out to the spirit you desire and demand it’s presence. Do not ask. Demand it. This is your world and you must stay in control at all times. If you give up control, the spirit will be able to take control and possibly hurt or kill you. If you do everything right, you will have summoned the spirit. Let’s do this. I have a bone to pick with that asshole Sandman. The circle is drawn, the candles are lit, and sand is in the circle. I turned off the lights for good measure, it wasn’t in the instructions, but it makes for a better dramatic effect. I closed my eyes and cleared my mind. I imagined the circle in my mind as an empty white space, a void, a door, then I imagined a portal like in the video game with a blue glowing loop. Next, I imagined The Sandman. Was he a human figure who carried sand, or a God made of sand? I kept trying back and forth, and everything in between before I finally settled on a spirit outlined in the sand. I held my concentration on The Sandman and the opening of the portal. It felt like nothing was happening when suddenly everything changed. My eyes were shut but I could feel the energy start to build in the room. It felt like a strong storm was blowing on the outside of the house. I couldn’t physically feel the force, but I could feel the pressure growing and growing. Finally, I felt the energy reach its crescendo like something was trying to push itself through the circle into my room. It’s time to open the gate. “I OPEN THE PATHWAY AND DEMAND YOUR PRESENCE SANDMAN! THE DOOR IS OPEN AND I ORDER YOU TO APPEAR BEFORE ME! I felt resistance trying to pull energy back from the door, not wanting to obey. “SANDMAN! APPEAR BEFORE ME NOW!” The energy in the room seemed to explode out of the circle. I opened my eyes to see the sand turning in a tornado inside the circle high above my head. I gasped in shock, wondering if I was dreaming. This couldn’t be real. Suddenly the tornado dissolved and the sand formed into a figure with red eyes staring down at me. “WHAT MORTAL DARES TO SUMMON ME!” He roared. “WHO HAS MADE SUCH THE MISTAKE TO SUMMON A GOD!” I may have made a mistake. The thing is, spirits and especially Gods, do not like it when mortals summon them. They have to come if you summon them, and that pisses them off. They are over there doing ghost and god stuff and get interrupted by people who can’t even walk through a wall. So if you do ever try this, just expect the ghost or demon or god to be in a pissy mood when they come. It is understandable when you think about it. I looked up at the god, not backing down, and responded “I did.” Sand swirled around The Sandman as he looked at me in disbelief. “You are The Sandman, right?” I yelled at him. “You are the god of sleep, the god of dreams, right?” “I am,” it growled. “Then why the fuck can I not sleep?” I said. “It has been years and I am stuck awake for days at a time. Why have you done this to me?” A deep laugh came from the circle. “You think I care about you, mortal? Do you think I waste my time on someone as insignificant as you or your kind? I am a god. A GOD! I don’t have time to waste being here talking to you. Release me!” “I am not going to release you until you give me what I want.” The sand settled down and it was quiet. I waited for it to respond. “You want something from a God? What do I get out of the deal? What do you have that I could possibly want?” “Give you something?” I asked. “You are the asshole who won’t let me sleep.” “I am feeling generous. We can make a deal,” it said. “I will give you the ability to sleep anytime you want” “What is the catch?” “Ahhh! The catch. Smarter than you look.” He said. “I am the God of Sleep and Dreams. You can sleep, but I will control your dreams.” ”Can’t you do that anyway?” You are the God of Dreams” “Do we have a deal or no? Answer me before I change my mind.” Damn it. I know he is playing me as a fool. Fuck it, I’ll solve my sleep problem now and worry about the catch later. “We have a deal, Sandman.” “A deal it is” he laughed. “Anytime you wish to sleep just say Mr. Sandman, Give me a dream.’ And you will be asleep in less than a minute.” “You gotta be kidding me.” “My game. My rules.” He said. “Now release me.” “You are released.” “See you in your dreams!” The energy that had filled the room evaporated into thin air, the sand fell back into the circle, the candles went dark, and The Sandman was gone. Was that real or am I hallucinating again? And damn! What even happened there? I was ready to cuss him out and he somehow took control of the encounter. Shit! Mrs. Fatima warned me it could be deadly if he took control. Then again, he made a deal and I can finally sleep. What is done is done. I blew out the candles and decided to put our deal to the test. He will allow me to sleep anytime I want, real sleep, he will just be controlling my dreams. I’ve had nightmares, what happens in the dream world is all a dream. Nothing can hurt me there. Right? It was 4:15 am. I turned off the lights, turned the fan on high, and put on some calming music and prepared to lay in bed awake for hours on end. I said the magic words As soon as I closed my eyes, I was out like a rock. The dream started. I was back five minutes earlier saying “What happened in the dream world is all a dream. Nothing can hurt me there, right?” There was an echo repeating the same phrase back to me. That isn’t a good start. I laid down in bed, just like before and closed my eyes trying to sleep but this time no sleep came, like always. I sat there for hours trying to sleep. I meditated, listened to calm music making me crave grilled cheese, and tried to will myself to sleep. My dream self was exhausted and on the verge of tears from being unable to sleep. The Sandman’s idea of a joke is to give me insomnia in my dreams so I couldn’t escape it. Funny joke, but as long as I wake up refreshed I don’t care. I looked at the clock and it was 7:45 and the sun was up or would be if I didn’t have the windows blacked out. Too exhausted to get up I laid in bed and prayed for sleep. A moment later, the red candles flickered to life in a star pattern, the room went cold, then the sand started to swirl up into the air. The Sandman appeared in the circle. My body stiffened, I couldn’t move a muscle, not even to close my eyes. Is this what sleep paralysis feels like? I thought back to my email with Mrs. Fatima and remembered as long as the circle was complete he would be stuck inside. “That is only true when you’re awake. You’re in my world now,” he laughed as he floated across the circle to my bedside. “You brought me to your world, now I have you in mine. A deal is a deal.” Ah shit. I knew taking his deal was a bad idea. Never negotiate with a god. You will never come out ahead. I tried to answer him but I was still paralyzed. “Do you know the legend of The Sandman? The original story? The real story?” He stood over me. Everyone knows the legend. He comes at night, sprinkles sand in your eyes so you will sleep well and have good dreams. You wake up with sand in your eyelashes. “Wrong!” He yelled. “That is a story told much later after I left the mortal world to stop people from fearing me. You are about to find out the real legend of The Sandman. I laid in bed unable to move, my eyes held open by some imaginary force, staring at him in fear. He held out his hand in front of my face and blew. I felt the wind on my face followed by the sand. The awful awful sand. Unable to close my eyes the sand blanketed my eyes. I could feel every grain of sand stick to my eyes. Finally, I had control of my eyes again and started to blink uncontrollably. Each blink the sand grinded deeper and deeper into my eyeballs and eye socket. Each blink felt like shards of glass cutting my eyes. My eyes became watery and started to tear up but it wasn’t tears but blood leaking down my face. The pain engulfed my face but I couldn’t move, only involuntary blinking trying to clear the sand from my eyes. Each blink the sand cut farther and farther into my eyes. The pain became excruciating like someone had stuck a red hot fire poker in each eye. I wanted to scream out but nothing else worked on my body. Then the pain disappeared. I assumed I had blacked out or went unconscious but that doesn’t happen in dreams and I wasn’t that lucky. Instead, I felt a weird sensation on my eyeballs then the feeling of water being poured into my eye. When it stopped, my vision started to appear again, blurry at first but clearing. I could see a sandy palm and fingers like I was being carried in The Sandman’s hand. “The legend of The Sandman isn’t that he comes to put sand in your eyes to help you sleep, he comes to put sand in your eyes to steal eyeballs of kids who stay up too late.” He said. “I’m making an exception for you.” He opened his palm and I could see my lifeless body, still in bed, not moving, the face covered in blood with empty holes as eye sockets. I am seeing myself from my own eyeballs. What the fuck, even for a dream this is fucked up. Luckily the pain had stopped, for now. “Do you know what happens next in the legend? Do you know what I do with the eyeballs I steal” He asked like I could to respond. I didn’t know the answer but I knew I was about to find out. “Right you are. Close your eyes, It’’s a surprise.” He laughed. “Get it? You can’t! You have no eyelids. Hahaha” Excuse me for not thinking the joke is funny, being the butt of the joke. “He pointed my eyes toward the moon and asked, “Do you like The Dark Side of the Moon?” What the hell does the Pink Floyd album have to do with anything? Who doesn’t like it? “Great. Let’s take a trip there. You’re dreaming so we can be there in, what would you say, a blink of an eye?” Fucking funny. A moment later, we were on the dark side of the moon. It looked like the moon, but dark. He walked into a crater and I started to hear cries. Not like human cries, more like an animal cry. Not just one animal but a bunch. The cries got louder and louder. Even in a dream, I knew something bad was about to happen. We finally arrived at what I would call a nest. Not your typical earth nest, but an enclosure that held a bunch of giant ugly bird-like featherless babies. Not dinosaur big, but big enough. Each bird-like creature was lifting its beak up in the air crying for its parents to bring it back food. What the fuck kind of food was available on the moon or in space is beyond my understanding, but that’s exactly what my eyes were seeing. “After I steal the eyeballs, I bring them back here and feed them to the birds. In your world, you may throw bread out to the birds for a treat. In my world, I feed them your eyes.” Fuck. Can I wake up now? I really don’t feel like being eaten by a giant alien baby bird thing. “The legend says I fed them to my children, but that is the part they got wrong.” He said. “Sweet dreams, prince.” He tossed my eyes into the air into the waiting mouth of one of these creatures. I saw it’s beak close as my eyeballs exploded into a gooey mess. The dream ended and I woke up in a panic. I tried to open my eyes but they were sealed shut. I lifted my hands, happy I could move again, and felt my eyelids crusted over with sand. I cleared them the best I could but needed a warm compress to clean all the salt out. When I finally opened my eyes, they hurt. Everything had happened in the dream, but somehow my eyes felt sore. I thought back to what I said and heard in my dream, “It is just a dream, nothing can hurt me there.” It is true, I wasn’t really hurt, but I’ve never woken up feeling pain I got from a dream. What is going on? Still, If I dreamed, that means I slept! A nightmare isn’t so bad if I get real sleep. The dream felt like it lasted hours, a few more nights of this and I will have a somewhat normal sleep schedule and feel rested. I looked at the clock to see it was 4:30. I slept 12 hours and 15 minutes. Amazing! I opened the door to my room and walked into the kitchen and it was still dark. That can’t be right. It should be 4:30 pm, the middle of the afternoon. Did I sleep for 24 hours straight? I looked at my phone and saw the date. My heart dropped. I had only slept for 15 minutes. It is like dreams take place in another dimension where time doesn’t exist. The Sandman was able to torture me for hours in dream time while allowing me to sleep for a few minutes. I cried. Seriously, I cried like a baby. He held up his end of the bargain, I can fall asleep any time I want to, except now I am afraid to go to sleep. Everytime I fall asleep, he takes me away to his realm and gives me nightmare after nightmare. Every dream is one where he does something horrible to me and my dream self feels every bit of excruciating pain. And he never allows me to sleep more than an hour at the most. I eventually accepted my fate. He is going to torture me, but it is all a dream. I will wake up feeling mostly normal. Then things changed. It is like he knew I had stopped fighting, so he found a new way to hurt me. Instead of hurting me in my dreams, he started to make me watch him hurt people I loved in their dreams. I didn’t think it was real until I heard from my sister about how my niece has been having terrible nightmares and refusing to go to sleep. When she described her dreams, I already knew, because I was there too. That has been my life for the past however many months. Instead of trying to take medicine or listen to music or having The Sandman put me to sleep, I try to use my insomnia to stay awake for as long as my body will withstand it. I drink coffee and energy drinks, I take adderall, but eventually sleep always comes, even if for short periods. No matter how hard you fight it, your body will always sleep, and the Sandman will be there waiting on me.
Part 1 “Huh, they’re really going at it, aren’t they?” Saale said, looking towards the bedroom. Karl and Maarja were rustling around in there, too drunk to contain the volume of their passion. The two of us sat around and tried to do anything but listen. Saale and me started off as strangers that night, but we ended up being the last people standing. It was the biggest party of the summer and we were the only lucid survivors. We were holding hands. “Heh, yeah,” I replied. She squeezed my hand. I squeezed back. We started off the night rambling about everything and anything under the sun, but now conversation had run out. All we had was nervous eye contact and hand squeezing; both of us were too scared to take the next step. “I am very drunk,” I said, giving myself plausible deniability. “Me too,” she said. Her hazel eyes held on to mine; C’mon, you’re the guy, make the first move. “Want to dance?” I suddenly blurted out. Saale cocked her head to the side, “Do you have music?” She squeezed my hand again, hard, a look of mischief spread across her face. Maarja howled in the other room. “Yeah, definitely,” I fished out my Sony Erickson and searched through the fourteen-song library for something that wasn’t ska music. I found that one Rolling Stones song. We got off the couch and wrapped our arms around each other. The music came out of the flip phone with the orchestral quality of a potato and the sounds from the bedroom were considerably louder, but we didn’t care. We just wanted an excuse to hold each other. It wasn’t really dancing. We were just hugging each other while stepping from side to side. The anticipation was electric. She whispered something in my ear. I pretended not to hear and moved closer to her. Our lips brushed against each other. We kissed. It wasn’t the booze, it wasn’t the dope, it wasn’t the hormones. There was something else in my blood in that moment. A surge of electricity so powerful that to taste it for just a single second made life worth living. The universe focused all of its attention, all of its beauty and washed it over our moment. We laid down on the couch. Scratching. Suddenly the soft sounds of her breath were overpowered by scratching. I pulled back. Saale looked at me with those heart-melting eyes, “What’s wrong?” The scratching grew louder, more furious. Claws, I could hear claws. She said something else, but I couldn’t hear her by then, the scratching had grown deafening. Saale looked up in horror. Fabric ripped. I woke up. Fritz was right by my head, his long tail resting inches from my face. I watched him in a daze. He was furiously digging at the upholstery. There was a sizable hole there; the rat must have worked at it for the whole night. His little body dug with desperate energy, trying to make the opening as big as possible, yet after a couple of seconds he stopped. Fritz shoved his head into the hole and his whole body went limp. His furry frame rose and fell with effort as Fritz breathed in as much of the couch as he could. I grabbed him by the nape and took him out of the couch. The creature was nothing like the animal I held the night before. Fritz’s head had lost most of its fur; all that was left was tufts of gray fur that splashed over his irritated skin. He snapped at me, or at least tried to. His jaw was heavy, his eyes barely stayed open. I placed him on the floor. As soon as he was on his own feet he fell over. After a couple lethargic seconds he stumbled to his paws and crawled beneath the wardrobe. Karl walked out of the bedroom. He stopped when he noticed I was awake. “James, which tie seems more formal?” Karl looked like a madman; he was wearing superman underwear and a fancy white dress shirt that barely fit around his paunch. In each hand he held a black tie. I was too disoriented to tell the difference. “I don’t know Karl, they both look pretty similar to me.” I said. Karl looked down on the ties. He raised each one of them to his face for a closer examination. Finally, after some thought he nodded, “I think you are right James. These ties do look identical.” He retreated back to the bedroom and emerged with only one tie that he started putting on. “Oh, also, good morning friend,” Karl added as an afterthought. “Good morning Karl,” I replied. “James! Don’t enable him! He’s just being nervous about meeting my parents,” Maarja yelled from the kitchen. “Nothing to be scared of Karl. You know my parents are cool.” “Your parents are most definitely not cool. Your father is a very scary man and your mother is a very angry woman.” Karl protested. He looked over at me, “Right James?” Maarja peeked out of the kitchen. I had only seen Maarja’s father once. It was during Maarja’s high-school graduation. She had managed to sneak me in so I could attend the after party. I remembered seeing him across the hall, watching his daughter get her diploma with that emotionless scowl that fathers raised behind the iron curtain have perfected. Her dad bore a striking resemblance to Karl, he was a big dude, but where Karl carried a lumberjack beard Maarja’s father had a simple moustache. Maarja’s father also had scars. Even at a distance you could see them, a face covered in splotches of red as if he had experienced some great horror at a young age. “Your mother is a pretty angry woman Maarja,” I said. Maarja scoffed. “If you piss her off she is. Point is: Karl shouldn’t be scared. My parents like him.” “No they don’t,” Karl protested. Maarja rolled her eyes. “You want coffee James?” she yelled from the kitchen. “Sure,” I said. I tried sitting up, hoping to lose a bit of my drowsiness but something was wrong. I fished my left hand from under the couch. Somehow, as I slept, I clawed my index finger into the stuffing of the couch. It took effort to take it out; it was as if the upholstery had wrapped itself around the finger. Maarja brought me my coffee and said something about how they were going to a nearby restaurant for the lunch but her words fell on deaf ears. I was completely focused on my pointer. The skin around it was an unhealthy red. It was cold to the touch. All the feeling in the finger was gone. I could move it, but the movements were sluggish, it was as if the finger was in a deep sleep. As Maarja and Karl got ready I tried to assess how damaged the finger was. I didn’t snap out of the mystery until I heard the front door slam shut. I wasn’t alone though. ‘Quit worrying about your finger Tiger, you just slept funny. Think about more pleasant things.’ The voice in my head slithered back, ‘Remember how soft Saale’s skin was? How sweet her perfume smelled as you two made love?’ I laid back down and ran my hand across the couch. For something so old it was so remarkably smooth. Fritz was suddenly back by my head. He ran towards the hole that he had worked on prior and started clawing at it again. He tore at the threading frantically. He wanted to be back inside of the couch, he needed to be back inside of the couch. I reached out to pick him up but reconsidered. ‘Leave him be Tiger, he’s just enjoying himself.’ My hand fell back to the firm cushioning of the couch. ‘That’s a good boy,’ the voice said, ‘Now where were we? Ah yes, Saale, what a girl, huh? Remember how good it felt to wake up next to her?’ I did. I remembered. It was, after all, on that very same couch that I woke up next to Saale for the first time. It was the day after the party, when I woke up I nearly jumped out of my skin. It took me a second to realize where I was, that there was a beautiful woman on my arm, that I had made love to a alluring the stranger the night before, yet when the thought set in a wave of bliss washed over me. A gentle morning light was coming in through the blinds, the birds outside chirped peacefully and Saale snored. ‘Her half open mouth, those tiny sounds, so vulnerable, so romantic.’ Then the door opened. ‘Oh Tiger, you don’t have to think about that part.’ Then the door opened and Maarja’s mother came in. The woman did not like me to begin with, the couple of times that we had met she regarded me with absolute disdain. Maarja even admitted it; her mother didn’t want her daughter hanging around with strange foreigners. As soon as Maarja’s mom saw us she started screaming. ‘Oh come on Tiger, you don’t have to think about arguments right now, think about the good times-‘ Her yelling woke everyone up. As me and Saale were frantically putting on our clothes the bedroom door flew open and Maarja started yelling at her mom. I didn’t understand a word to it, but Maarja’s mom seemed to have it really out for me. She kept on pointing. She kept on screaming and pointing at me… or was she pointing at the couch? ‘Oh come on Tiger, there’s other memories to go back to, remember the first time that you and Saale-‘ We ran out as soon as we had enough clothes to be decent. Salle and me left the argument behind. Maarja’s mom didn’t chase us, but we ran for a couple of blocks anyway. We moved through the morning streets, giggling. After Saale nearly got hit by a tram we finally stopped. For a second we stood there, slightly hung-over and out of breath. We kissed. “She seemed really angry, what was she saying?” I asked. “This is not a whorehouse, my daughter will be no madam!” Saale yelled, mimicking Maarja’s mother’s voice. We laughed, but then Saale frowned. She was beautiful even when she was confused. “To be honest though, she seemed a bit more angry about that couch being in the room. She kept on pointing at it asking where they had gotten it, saying that it was meant to be burnt years ago-“ ‘STOP THINKING ABOUT THIS TIGER’ the voice thundered through my skull, ‘IF YOU EVER WANT TO BE HAPPY AGAIN, STOP THINKING ABOUT IT!’ The voice was no longer flirty. Darkness loomed within it. My mind cleared in fear. I looked to the side; Fritz had made progress with the hole. He was hallway inside and still digging. His tail and hind legs stuck out of the hole, his enflamed testacles pressed against the side of the couch. With a couple more frantic movements he squeezed himself inside. The rat was gone. ‘Wondering what he’s doing Tiger?’ The couch asked gingerly, ‘He’s floating in ecstasy, oh yes, he’s experiencing pleasure you couldn’t even begin to comprehend, unless…’ Fabric groaned as the hole that Fritz had dug expanded. I could see the stuffing, it heaved up and down as if the couch was breathing. The hole was big enough to fit my hand. ‘C’mon Tiger, you know you want to try.’ I extended my hand; there was something from the couch that called to me, something stronger than me. Beads of perspiration streamed down my forehead. My clothes were soaked with sweat. As my fingers approached the gaping hole I could feel a glint of electricity in the air. The universe turned its eyes on me and beckoned me towards the maw. VRRRR! VRRRR! I snapped out of it. My phone was ringing. It was Maarja. “James, goddamn it, why don’t you pick up your phone? I’ve been calling you for like five minutes,” she talked in an angry whisper, “Look, my parents decided that they wanted to come over to the apartment. My mom would flip if she knew you were staying with us. I need you out of the house right now.” I jumped to my feet. The last person I wanted to see right now was Maarja’s mom. “Okay, I’ll be out in five.” “Not good enough! James! We’re almost there. Just get out! Please James, the lunch went really well, please don’t let her turn today into an argument,” Maarja pleaded. I quickly put on my shoes and dashed towards the door. I didn’t realize I forgot my coat until I was outside. The cold wind blew through my sweaty t-shirt. “Are you outside?” Maarja whispered. “Yeah, right at the front door.” “Okay, get out. Right now. We’re almost there. I’ll call you when the coast is clear. Sorry. Love ya!” click. As I reached the end of the block I could see the four of them walking towards the apartment. Karl and Maarja’s dad were engaged in a passionate conversation. Maarja and her mom followed them, quietly smoking. I sped out of sight. I was freezing, a wet t-shirt in the Estonian winter felt like a death sentence. In my attempt to find a semblance of warmth I went over to the bus station and got onto the first bus that stopped. I nestled up next to the heaters and immediately felt better. The plan was to warm up, maybe dry off and then go find a mall to kill time in. That plan fell apart very quickly. The bus drove for a bit before I realized where it was going. For a second I considered getting off, but it was too cold for me to be roaming the streets, or at least that’s what I told myself. I took out my iPod and scrolled over to the Rolling Stones. The bus rode out to Saale’s neighborhood. I returned back to Maarja’s apartment way after sundown. The day was a blur. I remembered running out of Maarja’s apartment. I remembered getting on the bus and riding over to Saale’s place. I remembered what happened at Saale’s but everything else was covered in a thick mental fog. The vodka helped with that. I had spent my last remaining cash on a bottle of good old 79% memory wipe. It helped me cope. It also made the Estonian winter more bearable. “James! Honey! Where were you?” Maarja was outside having a cigarette when I stumbled to the house, “I’ve been trying to call you all day. Are you okay?” there was a hint of a drunken slur to her voice. “Phone’s out of battery,” I mumbled as I walked up. “Are you okay?” she repeated her question. I shrugged. “I think I need a hug.” “Ah darling, come here,” Maarja said as she wrapped her arms around me. She was wearing one of Karl’s huge jackets. It wasn’t until I was embraced in its warmth that I realized how cold I was. “Want to talk about it?” “No.” I didn’t. All I wanted was to just be blindly told everything was going to be okay. I wanted assurances that I wouldn’t feel like this forever. I needed to know that I would get over Saale. Yet Maarja just sighed. “I know it’s hard James. When you’re ready to talk about it I’m here for you.” she sighed again, I could smell the booze on her breath, “Thank you for leaving the house when you did. Things… didn’t go very well.” She let go. I was back in the cold. “What’s wrong?” I asked. Maarja took a long drag of her cigarette. Her voice grew heavy, “My dad was really interested in Karl’s Bitcoin stuff and he wanted to see his computer. Me and my mom were finishing off our cigarette outside and…” Maarja’s eyes drifted towards the night sky and fluttered. She was trying not to cry. “Maarja? What’s wrong?” I asked. She cleared her throat and composed herself. “My mom found out about the couch and she got really pissed. She thought I burnt it after that one house party. I just didn’t want to throw away a perfectly good couch but... Yeah. We have to burn it.” “Burn the couch!? Why?” I gasped. “There’s some ugly history behind it,” her voice grew faint, “I don’t really want to talk about it.” It felt like the final bit of stability in my life had crumbled away. I had to drunkenly hold myself up against a lawn chair, “When?” Maarja shrugged. “Now is a good time as any I guess, we can just drag it out into the backyard, grab some lighter fluid and torch it. Don’t think anyone is going to mind.” She was wrong. I would mind. My fists tightened. An inarticulate rage boiled in my blood. I wanted to hit her so bad, but instead I begged. “One more night,” I said, “Just one more night with the couch. We can burn it tomorrow; it’s New Years right? What a way to end off the year. We could have a little bonfire in the evening.” “James,” Maarja sighed, “Honey, you can stay here, at least for a couple of days. We’ll move some pillows around and you can sleep on the floor. We’ll hang out tomorrow and it’s going to be great but my mom was really insistent on the couch. I promised her I would-“ “Please, please, don’t get rid of the couch,” I begged, “Just one more night. Just one more night on the couch where I can think back to my memories of Saale. I’m desperate Maarja. While your parents were visiting I went over to Saale’s place. I got into her apartment block. I knocked on the door. I knew she was there Maarja, I could hear her walking up after I knocked. When she looked through the peephole she completely ignored me. She just stood there like I didn’t exist. I called her Maarja, I called her phone and I could hear it ringing in the other room, I called until my goddamn battery ran out, but she never picked up. I traveled half way across the continent on my last dime and she wants nothing to do with me Maarja. The love of my goddamn life won’t even answer her phone. All I have left is that couch. All I have left are those memories of that first night. Please, Maarja, one more night on the couch.” The words came out with chest-tightening force. Each sentence made me grow weaker until I was barely able to talk. My face was streaked in tears, my nose was running all over my face; I looked like a complete mess. Maarja wrapped her arms around me just as tight as she had in the airport. “Okay James, one more night,” Maarja said, “I am sorry you’re going through this. I wish we could help.” We stayed in the hug for what felt like an eternity. I wanted to let go, to pull back and be cool about everything. But I couldn’t. The warmth under that jacket, Maarja’s arms around me, it all just felt safer than the world outside. “We both need some sleep,” Maarja finally whispered. Karl barely noticed us when we walked into the apartment. He was sitting on the couch stuck in deep thought. When I saw him an unexplainable pang of jealousy ran through my body. Me and that couch had something special going on. I cleared my throat. Karl jumped up in surprise. “James! You’re back. Where were you? We were worried about you!” Karl said. “I went to Saale’s.” “Oh,” He dropped his eyes away from me, not knowing what to say. He looked over at Maarja, “You have told James about what happened with your dad?” “Something happened with your dad?” I asked. The question seemed stupid and irrelevant. Maarja stared daggers back at Karl. She spoke slowly, with a hidden force beneath her words, “I have told James that my mother was very angry about the couch. We have decided that he will sleep on the couch for one more night and then we will burn it tomorrow. Does that sound okay?” Karl furrowed his brow. “Yes,” he finally said. He stood in the doorway of their bedroom, leaning forward, as if he was about to say something else but then Maarja cut him off. “We should all get some sleep.” “Yeah,” I said, sprawling out onto the couch. ‘Welcome back Tiger,’ it whispered to me ‘Did someone have a rough day?’ The voice soothed the pain in my chest, the world started to become more manageable. Karl and Maarja went off to bed without saying much. There was something up, something that they were in disagreement about but it was none of my business. The couch kept me company. ‘It’s all going to be okay, you’ll see’ The couch whispered to me in its silky voice, ‘You’ll get over her, you’ll find someone better than Saale and in a couple of months you won’t even remember her. You’ll forget all about the relationship all together. But you know who’ll remember? She’ll remember Tiger, oh yes, Saale will be thinking about what an idiot she was to let you go-‘ The light in the bedroom was off, but I could hear Maarja walking around calling out for Fritz. She peeked her head into the living room and asked me if I saw him. I told her I didn’t. She gave up and went to sleep. ‘Don’t think about the rat.’ The hole that Fritz made into the upholstery was gone; there wasn’t even any sign of scratches. The whole couch, in fact, looked to be in better shape. The stains had completely disappeared from the couch, loose threads were nowhere to be seen, the floral print had taken on a colorful shine. ‘STOP IT.’ The voice hit my mind like a blunt object. A fog covered my thoughts, everything felt so impossibly distant. But beneath that fog was a gentle tone of sweetness, ‘Come on Tiger, let’s just enjoy this night together, huh? Lay here with me and let’s just bathe in each other’s company.’ The couch gently shuddered like a tantric massage chair. I heard the groaning of fabric. The place where Fritz had been digging spread apart to reveal a hole; beyond the upholstery was stuffing, it pulsed with fleshy energy. The couch trembled with anticipation. ‘Touch me Tiger, you know you want to.’ I reached out as electricity flowed through my body. The universe turned all of its spotlights on me. The mind fog thickened into a blanket of ecstasy and wrapped me up. All other thoughts disappeared. My soul danced to the chaotic tune of life. I was trapped in a wave of orgasmic rapture. ‘Doesn’t that feel so good Tiger? Isn’t this just exhilarating? Well don’t you worry. We can do this every night. Don’t listen to anyone else. Nothing will get between us, it’s you and me Tiger, it’s you and me and no one is going to stop us. We’ll make sure of that.’ For a split second it felt as if my finger brushed against something rough. I pinched at the object. It felt like a tail. Yet then, as if the gentle stuffing of the couch were a throat, the tail got swallowed deeper into its innards. ‘I love you,’ the couch whispered. The room smelt like floral perfume. I could hear a dog barking outside. I was covered in sweat. “I love you too,” I whispered back. I drifted off to a deep sleep. -MJL (Next part)
In 2012 a Possessed Couch Told Me To Murder My Friends
Part 1, Part 2 As I walked through the IKEA showroom I felt distressed. I wanted to sit down, I needed to sit down, but all of the couches around me looked like they would cause me severe back pain. They were lit up with fancy lights and smelled faintly of disinfectant, the whole showroom felt like the world’s fanciest hospital. I desperately searched among the rows for something that would make me comfortable, but my search seemed hopeless. I walked around aimlessly, until, as if by divine intervention, I noticed a maintenance room in the corner of the showroom. As I opened the door a cloud of smoke escaped the abyss that hid beyond. The darkness before me beckoned, ‘Come here Tiger,’ it whispered. I walked into the hallway. The door behind me closed. As I journeyed through the corridor the smoke grew more intense, but so did my certainty that I would find what I was looking for. At first it was only my footsteps that echoed through the darkness, but as I walked on I could hear a far off radio playing. A familiar song by the Stones grew louder as I approached a room at the end of the hall. Yet the music was soon joined by sobs. Someone was crying. A fluorescent light bulb crackled in and out of life, yet it was strong enough to illuminate the small room. A dark haired man in a worker’s uniform sat by the edge of a familiar couch as he finished off stitching the last bits of its flowery upholstery. He wept as he pulled out the thread and needle. His face was caked in grime, but the tears created two clear lines down his cheeks. When he saw me he wiped away his tears and got up. The man composed himself, lit a cigarette and walked over to me. He gave the couch one last look, but it wasn’t a look of sorrow, it was a look of pride. The man looked back at the couch as if he had just walked his daughter down the isle. Then he motioned towards it. ‘Come here Tiger, I’ve been waiting for you,’ the couch growled with sex in its tone. I stepped towards the couch. The electricity in the air was back and stronger than before. ‘I can make your wildest dreams come true Tiger. I can make you believe in a heaven. All you have to do is fuck me.’ I reached out for the couch, all of my nerve endings tingled with anticipation. I was millimeters away from nirvana. The universe had its gaze set on me and was about to reveal all of its secrets but then- My hand started to shake. It was gentle at first but soon the convulsions spread through my arm. Within moments I was down on the floor, my body throwing itself from side to side uncontrollably. The light bulb grew bright with a deafening scream. The world was crumbling at its axis. POP! The room was plunged into darkness. “James? James, wake up,” Karl’s shadow stood above me. It was early morning; the room was still dim with dawn. Karl held two cigarettes in his hands, “We should go have a cigarette, friend.” I was horribly dazed; his words didn’t make a lick of sense. The only thing that seemed understandable was the voice in the back of my head, ‘Don’t listen to him Tiger, he wants to take me away from you. Don’t let him get between our love.’ I stirred on the couch. My fingers were deep in the upholstery. “I don’t feel like smoking right now Karl.” Karl didn’t move. “James, we have to take the couch outside. It doesn’t belong in this house anymore. You and me should also have a cigarette, we need to talk.” ‘He wants to hurt me Tiger, don’t let him hurt me, do something. He has to be stopped.’ I yawned and tried to look as sleepy as possible but Karl’s eyes stayed on me. “Mind if I nap for like fifteen more minutes?” I asked. “James,” he started. His voice was cold, “We need to take the couch outside. We need to talk.” I waited for the voice in my head to tell me what to do but it fell quiet. I was abandoned. “Okay, fine, no better way to start a morning than a bit of furniture moving and a smoke.” I lumbered off of the couch, put on my pants and reached for one end of the couch. “What’s wrong with your hand?” Karl asked. I looked down. My fingers were covered in a thick layer of red, as if I had spent the whole night eating Cheetos. They were also bloated; my nails looked comically small nestled in between thick puffs of red flesh. I waited for the couch to tell me what to do, but it still kept quiet. “I dunno, spent a good amount of time outside without gloves,” I finally said. Karl looked over at my other hand, my perfectly normal hand that didn’t spend the night inside of the couch, but he didn’t say anything. We carried the couch outside in silence. It was oddly warm outside. There were still small piles of snow spread through the yard but the neighborhood looked more like a muddy war zone rather than a winter wonderland. The couch remained silent until we dropped it off in the middle of the backyard. ‘There’s a knife in the kitchen, Tiger,’ it whispered. Karl lit up his cigarette and offered me the lighter. “I forgot my coat, give me a sec,” I said. I walked back into the apartment to fetch it. I went past the kitchen. When I walked out of the apartment Karl was standing far off from the couch. He didn’t register me walking out; his attention was purely focused on the mysterious furniture. Something was going on behind those small eyes of his. My bloated hand was shoved deep into the coat of my pocket. ‘You know what to do Tiger,’ the voice whispered, ‘He wants to take me away from you, but you can stop him. Be my hero Tiger, be my hero and I will bring you incomprehensible pleasure.’ I walked towards Karl. I was shaking. “Want to sit?” I finally asked, dragging his attention away from the couch. Karl motioned towards the lawn chair, “You can sit if you want to.” He lit up my cigarette. ‘One clean cut Tiger, he won’t see it coming, one clean cut through his throat.’ I didn’t sit. Karl’s eyes drifted back towards the couch. “There is something wrong with that couch James,” he started. “I was nervous yesterday. Maarja’s parents have always been very critical of me. They think I am strange. Whenever I meet them they talk to me like I have escaped from a mental asylum, like there is something wrong with me. But yesterday was different James. Yesterday they made an effort. Maarja’s mother complimented me on my tie and her father was willing to look in my eyes while we talked. During lunch he asked me about my financial plans. I told him about Bitcoin,” Karl smiled, “Maarja’s father became very excited. He heard about crypto-currency from his coworkers, but he did not understand it. I explained it to him. He was so impressed that he asked to see how everything works. He invited himself over to our apartment. Things were going well. I saw him smile. I thought things would continue going well.” Karl paused, his eyes drifted back to the couch. “Things did not go well.” “When we arrived at the apartment Maarja and her mom stayed outside for a cigarette. I went inside with Maarja’s father to show him the computer rig. He has heard enough about crypto to know that it is going to lift off. I wanted him to see that in a couple of years I would be able to provide for a family. I wanted to ask him if he would… You know…” Karl’s voice dropped to a whisper, “Let me marry his daughter.” He took another puff and shook his head, “But we didn’t get past the living room.” “As soon as he saw the couch he stopped. He stood there, frozen, looking at the furniture. I tried talking to him but it was as if he didn’t hear me. For almost a minute he stared at the couch and then he jumped on it and started…” Karl trailed off; he looked back at the couch. An expression of utter disbelief danced around his face but he struck it down. Karl looked square into my eyes, “Maarja’s father jumped on the couch and started to hump it.” Even through the numbness of my fingers I could feel the pointed edge of the kitchen knife. ‘Do it Tiger, do it for me. Don’t let him tell you his lies. Kill the freak. One clean cut. The loud whore inside is still asleep; she’ll be easier to get rid of. Do it Tiger, do it so we can be together forever.’ I cleared my throat, “Humping?” I asked? “Humping,” Karl replied, “He humped the couch with all his energy. I tried to get him to stop but he wouldn’t listen to a word I said. He just kept on pressing himself against the couch like it was some long lost lover. I left when he started to take off his pants. “I went outside to get Maarja and her mom. I told them something was wrong with Maarja’s dad and that they needed to come inside right away. At first they didn’t understand, they kept on asking questions. Could they not finish their cigarettes? What was specifically wrong? Why was I so panicked? They were oblivious, but as soon as I mentioned the couch. James, as soon as I mentioned the couch something sparked in Maarja’s mom’s eyes. She ran inside of the apartment, cigarette still in her hand and dragged him out. “Remember how angry she was when she caught you and Saale the night after the party? Remember how we would joke about how crazy she was about the couch? James, the anger I saw yesterday was nothing compared to that. Maarja’s mother was furious. She slapped and hit Maarja’s dad until he was out of the apartment. She threatened him with divorce. She kicked and punched the man and then locked the door on him so he couldn’t come back. “She said that Maarja’s dad was obsessed with the couch when they started dating, that the scars on his face are from rubbing against the cushioning. The only way that Maarja’s mom and her grandma managed to get her dad back to normal was by hiding the couch while he went out to do his military service. After he came back he kept on searching for it, he kept on demanding that the couch be returned, but over the years he gave up. That’s why Maarja’s mom wanted us to burn the couch when she saw it. That’s why she demands we burn it now. “There’s something wrong with that couch James. I sat on it last night while you and Maarja were talking outside. There is something horribly rotten about that couch. As I sat there I could feel it probing in my brain, trying to grab onto something, it was as if the couch was trying to find pain that it could use; pain that it could feed off of. We have to burn it.” ‘SLIT HIS THROAT!’ The voice boomed in my head, ‘SLIT HIS THROAT AND THEN SLIT HER THROAT AND THEN COME TO ME!’ I could feel my arm getting ready. I could already see the blood streaming through his beard. I kept on trying to remind myself that Karl is my friend, that I didn’t want to hurt him, but every fiber of my being was being dragged towards murder. I took a step back. “Can… Can we burn it after New Years?” “Are you okay?” Karl’s face suddenly turned concerned, “You look pale James.” I took another step backward. ‘A SINGLE SLICE TIGER, HE WON’T SEE IT COMING.’ “I…” my legs turned to jelly, I leaned up against the wall. I wanted to take my hand off the knife, I desperately wanted to be as far away from a weapon as I could be, but my hands refused. Murder jumbled my mind, images of death and pleasure and the couch filled my vision. “I don’t think I’m okay.” Karl took a step forward. He planted his hand on my shoulder. ‘JUST DO IT YOU COWARD, JUST DO IT! DON’T LET HIM GET IN THE WAY OF OUR LOVE!’ He sighed, “Is this about Saale?” “Yes,” I found myself saying, “The couch smells like her. I… I’m such a mess Karl. I don’t know how to get over this. I just want to be back. I want to be in high-school again and I want the four of us to be together again and I want to drink every night and…” I realized I was crying again. ‘Coward,’ the voice whispered. Karl looked at me, visibly feeling awkward. His brow furrowed as he tried to figure out what to say. “We can still drink every night,” he finally said, offering up a weak smile. I couldn’t even manage a smile back. He frowned and thought for a bit more before he spoke again. “James, life is sometimes bad and sometimes it is good. Things will not change, Saale will not come back, but if you wait long enough things will get better. You will forget, you will feel better. I am not good with words, but I am good with waiting. Me and Maarja will wait with you until you are better.” My hand slipped out of my pocket. It was empty. “Thank you Karl,” I said. ‘You’re a coward,’ the voice reminded me. The pieces started to fall together. The voice, the rat, the dreams, Maarja’s dad; there was something wrong with that couch. It needed to go. Yet there was still a part of me that couldn’t handle seeing it burn. I needed time to prepare. “You’re right about the couch. There’s something off about it but… Could we wait until after midnight to burn it?” Karl studied me. “Why?” “It’s silly, I know, but I think getting rid of the place where me and Saale had our first night would be a good start to the New Year, like a way to let things go.” Karl considered this idea for a bit and then nodded. It felt like a burden was lifted. Maarja joined us outside after a couple of minutes with coffee. The warmth of the cup felt soothing on my irritated skin. Being with the two of them felt soothing to my irritated soul. Suddenly things started to brighten. Saale and me would never be back together, hell, maybe I would never see her again, and that thought stung but while I was in the company of Karl and Maarja it felt manageable. We set up plans for the rest of the day; by the looks of it our last day of 2012 would be filled with walks through old places, kebabs and booze. We sat down in the kitchen for some pre-drinking. I put the knife where it belonged when no one was looking. The time that it had spent in my pocket felt like a fever dream. Anything related to the couch felt like a distant memory. The whole morning the voice had been silent, as if it had just satiated itself with calling me a coward and decided to abandon me. I returned the favor; even though it was right outside of the window I didn’t look at the couch a single time the entire morning. It was dead to me. In fact, I started to doubt whether it was ever alive to begin with. Yet as we headed out to town I couldn’t help myself. I looked back at the couch. It stood defiantly in the middle of the backyard, snow and mud all around it. This was not the same dusty couch Karl and me had dragged out of the garage. It was comfy looking, clean, even sleek. As Karl and Maarja walked on I could see the upholstery rumple into a wink. ‘We’re not done Tiger,’ the voice faintly whispered in my mind, ‘Not by a long shot.’ I ignored it and went out with my friends. We traced through our high-school drinking holes. Tallinn’s nightlife was always shifting around. Waiters and bartenders from Australia would sit at home, save up their money and run into the Baltics to buy a bar. The bar would be a financial trash fire and in under a year they would go broke. Yet the money that the expats blew on their dreams burnt bright, the names and owners of the bars might have changed but the memories that we made within those walls stayed. We went through the shisha bar where I would always celebrate my birthdays, the Karaoke place where Karl blew all of our minds, the hole-in-the-wall where our band had its first gig. We hoped from memory to memory until we ended up in the grand melting pot: Hellhunt park. By day Hellhunt was a pub with a park terrace. By night Hellhunt was a pub with an adjoining noise complaint. As soon as the terrace closed down teens from every corner of the city would crowd the benches of the park and drink. Even though most of our drinking began at Maarja’s place we would often stumble through here. Hellhunt was the place where our social circle would stretch. “They will be closing it down soon,” Karl said, looking at the mingling crowd of underage drunks. “Neighbors are complaining about the noise.” “Screw the neighbors!” Maarja drunkenly yelled at the windows. She was outpacing both of us, it wasn’t even ten o’clock and she was already drunk enough to forget the whole night. “If you don’t like the noise just come outside! Come drink with us!” Maarja yelled her offer to the windows. No one paid attention to her. Yelling was a regular occurrence in Hellhunt. Maarja stumbled her way over to the bench where Karl and me were sitting and collapsed between us. “You guys hear about Tinder?” That night was the drunkest I had ever seen her. “Tinder?” I asked. “It is an application for your phone where you choose strangers to have sex with,” Karl said. Maarja scoffed so hard she fell on my shoulder. “It’s a love app! It’s where strangers, strangers like James here, find love! What an exciting time to be single, you’re just given a list of people and you go ‘Beep! Boop!’ Next thing you know you’re married!” Maarja lifted her head. She looked in my eyes as an air of utter seriousness and rum drifted off her, “But I swear to god James, if you get married before me I’ll slit your throat.” She burst out into a stream of giggles, managing to spill her drink in the process. “Whoops! Looks like momma needs more jet-fuel.” Maarja staggered up to her feet and started falling down in the direction of the pub. Karl got up and managed to catch her before she fell over, “I will come with you. James? You want anything?” I still had half a plastic cup of vodka sprite. The two lovebirds went into the pub and left me alone with the crowd. I started to think about that Tinder thing that Maarja was talking about. Maybe she was right, maybe it was a good time to be single. I was in the country with the highest models per capita, I was a foreigner, I haven’t been in a serious relationship for six months. There was something about having two breakdowns in the past two days that flooded the obsession out of me. I started searching the crowd for someone I would have swiped right on. That’s when I saw her. She was standing at the edge of a circle of people. Some dude with dreadlocks was telling some story and she was listening. Her hazel eyes drifted around. They caught mine. For a split second we held each other’s gaze. Then Saale broke into a sprint. I ran after her. The Old Town of Tallinn is a lot less beautiful when you sprint through it. You can’t appreciate the medieval buildings when you’re in a mad dash, the cobbled streets definitely don’t help either. I ran after Saale as the city turned into a blur around me. My head spun as I ran past the buildings; old school field trips, karaoke, drunken trips to McDonalds, all those thoughts rumbled about. Yet above all of them there was one solitary thought that reigned supreme; I had to catch Saale. She ran with comical intensity, bumping into drunken crowds as she tried to get away from. It was as if an animal was chasing her. Seeing that panic in her face whenever she looked behind to see if I was gaining on her started to crack something in me. We ran out from the old town towards the two big malls. Crossing the road Saale nearly got hit by a tram. Something in me broke. I stopped. The absurdity of it all hit me at once. I was literally chasing her. She didn’t want to talk to me. She wouldn’t talk to me. For a couple minutes I stood still, letting the celebrating crowds walk past me like I was a lamppost. I was wavering between rage and despair. I chose the latter and trudged my way back to Hellhunt. Karl and Maarja were still sitting on the same bench. He was nursing another beer whilst Maarja was chugging on water insisting that she is just getting hydrated to do more drinking later on. It wasn’t rare to lose your friends at Hellhunt for thirty minutes; they didn’t ask where I disappeared to. They could tell something was off though. I tried to act cool, pretend that everything was fine but it wasn’t. I couldn’t stay there. I needed to go back to Maarja’s and just be alone. “What? You can’t leaveeee! It’s New Years eveee!” Maarja groaned, she kept on touching my face as if that would put me in a more festive mood. “Do you want us to come home too? I am sure we can see the fireworks from the back yard,” Karl finally said, “I think Maarja might benefit from lying down.” Maarja protested. She was basically sober after all. “No I think I need to be alone right now.” Karl studied me for a bit but finally nodded. “We will be back after the fireworks. There are some games on my computer if you get bored.” I appreciated the sentiment but I wasn’t in a mood for videogames. Karl gave me the keys and I made my way back to Maarja’s place. I moved past the crowds heading towards the center. I prayed I wouldn’t bump into Saale again. I rushed past the couch sitting in the backyard. I know couches don’t have eyes but I knew it was watching me. It was silently waiting for me to slip. There was a half drank bottle of moonshine on the living room floor from our pre-drinking. Just like any nineteen-year-old European boy the prospect of booze to dull my sadness leaped out at me. I tried to wash out the sting of rejection with the alcohol and for a while it helped, it dulled the pain, but the drunker I got the more my eyes started to slide towards the window. The couch just sat out there in the backyard, mud all around it, awaiting execution. ‘I told you we weren’t done’ it whispered, ‘Come outside Tiger.’ I took another pull of moonshine. I realized I needed a cigarette. -MJL (Final part)
The swirling motion of the clouds could be seen in the dark, as he fell through. Is it a void pulling him in? Or is he just falling into the sky? He wondered. There was no sound, nor any soaring winds. Just the clouds warping around him. Is there anyone for him there? Is this the end? Ivan got up grasping for his breath. His body is soaked with sweat as he jumped from his bed. It took him some moments to realize where he is. It’s his room, the white matte painted walls, his bed, desk, paintings of Duchamp on the walls, some music playing from his stereo. He breathed rapidly and slowly condensing his breath he told himself, " it’s alright. It was only a dream ". He slowly faded into reality as he realized the song playing on the stereo. After all, he could recognize Introduction : Rondo Cappriccioso by Saint-Saens even in his sleep. He quickly looked for his violin on the end side of the room. It’s there. This is real. He is still alive. But why is he? He just can’t get the thought out of his head. He is supposed to be so scythed from this dream, he convinced himself. It just is a normal thing for him now, waking up like this. Because, he never had seen dreams before this week. Settling down, he sat on his bed. The alarm clock went off on his nightstand and he reached to turn it off. 7:00 am. Start of another pathetic day. Taking deep breaths, he started with his daily routine. Freshening up, 1 hour of exercise, protein filled breakfast and so forth. He had been maintaining this routine all his life, ever since he had gotten in the academy. Life hasn’t changed that much over the years to him. The only thing that’s added is the violin session of an hour afterwards. He gained an interest into music for the past few years and trying to develop a new skill other than what he’s good at. Although, he wonders some times whether he needs any other skill. Everything he knows, he learnt from the academy. They told him, his whole life is filled with the teachings and will never need anything else. Maybe violin is just a luxury to that life. But it doesn’t matter. He practiced playing Chopin for the time being. But he didn’t want to stop playing. He knows what comes next on his routine and since last week he has been wondering about his life. It was just another day for him. Playing the violin he had sat on his desk, going through his notifications, emails and what not. Then he moved onto his website’s feed going through requests. He had slowly grown a reputation on the dark web and these days he gets 100-150 requests each day. "Accidents are my job" his tagline was, which is exactly what everyone wanted. After all, the academy taught him all the ways to make accidents happen. And he can use all those teachings to make a life for himself. As an assassin for hire. Good pay, good way. Also gets the benefit of relieving stress. But he doesn’t get that stressed. There aren’t that many things happening in his life other than accidents he makes happen. He is far out of the reach of the crime agencies, due to full security of the dark web and anonymity. The clients have to pay half in advance for the travel and accommodation, and the rest is paid later automatically. The name "Do you need an accident.onion" was a catchy one as well. Depending on the type of accident, his payment varied from .4 bitcoin to 2 bitcoins. Traffic accident, slipping accident, swimming accident and what not, catered just to the clients' needs. The website was fully automated and he just had to accept requests with required information to initiate the trade. Business was good and he didn’t need that much requests any ways. But well, what was he thinking that day? He can’t stop thinking about it. He had the sorting set to highest price up as usual. seeing the topmost one, request no. 1303, his lungs burst out nearly. Sweats had dripped down his forehead. This client wanted to pay 57 BTC for one accident! This is beyond his average pay-grade. He quickly cycled through the details. The hit was a 19 year old guy from Bangladesh. His daily routines and regular places were listed as well. The client did a thorough research it seems, making the job easier for him, he had laughed hysterically. Oh how that laugh haunts him now. The request was to make it a basic "shove into traffic". He usually charges .4 BTC for those, but was that guy insane? Also the client would pay the whole charge in advance. Damn! How could he resist? The whole hit would cost him at max 400 dollars for travel, didn’t even need to stay there for the day. Is this for real? No wait, it might be a scam or a trap from Interpol. They had been trying to track him, but failed so miserably. Was that their long shot? He chuckled thinking about that now, only if he hadn’t accepted the request. But well, who knew this would happen. He convinced himself that it might not be one and accepted the request then and there and the whole fund got transferred to his bitcoin wallet at once. The details were accurate and to the point and didn’t need any clarification. He sent a mail through encrypted SMTP to the client thanking him. As soon as it went on, he bought the tickets to Dhaka, Bangladesh for the night. The first class tickets, contrary to his usual economy class ones. He thought he deserved a treat for himself, after all. He was filthy rich and he could spend as he wanted to. And he spared no expenses. He reached Dhaka at morning and without delay went to the target’s daily commute station. He was amazed by how terrible the city was, with high humidity even in the scorching sun. The bus station was crowdy with people coming and getting on buses. He waited for a few minutes before seeing the target walking to the stations. He quickly scanned the surroundings for any possible attacks, but everything seemed clear. The target stood at the place the client said he would. Ivan took a deep breath and went behind the target. Both of them were waiting for buses but Ivan was waiting for a fast moving one. Finally he saw a bus coming very fast which seemed to have no intention to stop at the stoppage. Ivan made his mark and got close to the target. As soon as the bus came near he started running towards it as if he wanted to catch the bus. But instead of going to the bus he tackled the target as if by mistake. In the split second that it all occurred, it felt like nothing. But he heard something just before the target got separated from him and into the tires of the bus. He doesn’t know if he imagined it but he thought he knew what the target said. It still resonates unbelievably in him, making him think on what his life was for or why the guy even said that. Who says that on the verge of uncertain death? What life could have led the guy to feel that way? And why has it turned Ivan’s life upside down? Deep down, Ivan knows why, why it astonishes him even to this day. After all, why not? "Thank you" were too unbelievable of words, anyways.
The world economy is on the verge of crisis again, cryptocurrencies will be strong
Vulnerability refers to the property that things are vulnerable to damage when faced with fluctuations. -Nassim Nicholas Taleb In the face of economic fluctuations, it is disadvantageous to hold such a negative view. Every capital market has its own life cycle, which inevitably goes through a process from growth, to peak, and then to recession. Now is no exception. As we emerge from the longest bull market in history, we suddenly find ourselves in a highly vulnerable global economy facing the panicked and perplexed planet unprepared. However, the turmoil has just begun. Newton's first law, also known as "the law of inertia", means that any object must maintain a constant linear motion or standstill until an external force forces it to change its state of motion. Although this analogy does not perfectly correspond to the capital market (because the market is always changing and developing in different directions), at least one thing is certain that under the action of the market mechanism, the market cycle always appears Trend from peak to valley. The music box winds up, and the performance of the song sounds, and then it stops after a while. When this happens, the market structure collapses, eventually leading to huge chaos, and then falling into silence. Once external forces force the entire economy into trouble, people will realize the long-standing hidden structural defects in the economy. Now, the world economy is on the verge of crisis again. All human beings have to face a sudden outbreak of a global epidemic and the resulting shocks in supply and demand in the market. The economies of some countries have stalled. Ironically, the effects of inertia may be prevalent in market fluctuations. While witnessing the development of the global economy, we still find two simultaneous macro trends: --1-- USD strong We believe that the strong US dollar is driven by three factors: Investors turn to safe assets: Despite the Fed ’s interest rate cuts and monetary stimulus policies, the market ’s increasing demand for the US dollar has pushed up the US dollar index and hit a new high in 18 years. US Dollar Financing Issues: Cross-currency basis swaps measure that investors are more inclined to hold the US dollar than the euro or the yen. On March 17, the euro-dollar basis swap swap premium expanded from -60 basis points to -120 basis points, the highest level since 2011. As of press time, the Euro-US dollar basis swap has rapidly dropped to about -27 basis points, while the US dollar-Japanese yen basis swap has expanded to -70 basis points. Negative basis points indicate greater pressure on the dollar and higher hedging costs for European and Japanese investors. The reality is that U.S. banks, which are the main source of funding for the U.S. dollar, are storing large amounts of cash instead of actively issuing short-term U.S. dollar loans to foreign banks. Due to recent pressure from the balance sheet, more and more U.S. banks are beginning to reduce credit lines to retain cash. In addition, many foreign banks that lack direct access to the US dollar market can only rely on central bank liquidity swaps for financing. This week, the Fed and several other central banks opened new liquidity swap tools, providing USD 30 billion to USD 60 billion of liquidity, respectively, to ease pressure on USD financing. Central banks in emerging market countries are taking urgent steps and lowering their benchmark interest rates: Emerging market investors are very worried about the stability of their currencies and are pouring into the dollar market. According to Bloomberg, all major emerging market currencies weakened against the US dollar on January 20, just as the new crown virus began to spread in Asia. ——2—— Treasury liquidity tightening Abnormally performing credit markets: In general, price fluctuations will prompt investors to switch from risky assets (such as stocks) to safe-haven assets (such as bonds). This was indeed the case when the new coronavirus was causing panic. However, the current despair of liquidity (especially cash) by market investors has led to a large-scale sell-off in the global bond market, falling bond prices and rising interest rates. Repurchase market: The Federal Reserve's rescue measures have not brought the expected results. In the past week, the Federal Reserve announced three repurchases and other measures to release liquidity, hoping to ease the current state of the US Treasury market and reduce the inventory of primary dealers. However, market demand for government bonds remains sluggish. Let's turn our eyes from the home of the macro economy to the cryptocurrency market. Although they are not necessarily related, we find that the two are closely related. In the face of volatility, it is particularly important to develop a price action strategy. The CBOE-VIX index, an indicator that predicts the trend of the S & P 500 in the next 30 days, has surged to its highest level since the last global financial crisis. At the same time, we also saw that the 90-day implied volatility of Bitcoin options rose to 6.8% (annualized 130%), which is about 5.9% (annualized 113%) this weekend. As the "Black Thursday" on March 12th, BTC was down 40% and ETH was down 50%, some leveraged positions were forced to close. According to reports, BitMEX alone closed USD 700 million worth of long and short positions. At the same time, the sell-off of ETH dropped the value of the DeFi ecosystem by 40%. The total amount of collateral liquidation of Compound, dYdX and Maker and other lending platforms reached US $ 10 million. But in this turbulent market, not all assets perform so badly. Although the price of BTC, like the stock market at the beginning, plummeted, falling by 60% from the high price in mid-February, it rebounded by about 50% from the price low on March 12. Over the past period, we have found a large amount of funds flowing from altcoins to BTC. With the spot premium (the spot price is higher than the futures price), the demand for bitcoin lending has increased. The effective fund interest rate also gradually returned to normal as the curve was inverted. In contrast, when futures are at a premium (the futures price is higher than the spot price), there is almost no demand for BTC's lending transactions. At present, the BTC funding rate on various lending platforms has increased from 3-5% to 8%, and the ETH funding rate has increased from 2-4% to 6%. ——3—— Floating profit stablecoin market Since February 14, the entire cryptocurrency market has experienced a large-scale sell-off, with a market value of $ 45 billion evaporated. At the same time, the market value of USDT has risen to nearly $ 5 billion. USDT has emerged from this market volatility and has become a safe-haven asset. This week, the premium rate of USDT prices in China and South Korea is as high as 7%, which is caused by the demand of payment service providers and arbitrage traders. The current over-the-counter USDT supply exceeds supply. At the same time, the market value of USDC climbed to US $ 630 million, a record high. The market value of BUSD is exceeding the US $ 150 million mark, mainly due to the surge in demand for Binance's borrowing and margin trading. ——4—— Near-term outlook We pay close attention to the changing macroeconomic trends and the successive monetary and fiscal policies implemented by governments around the world. Although we cannot predict the specific trend of the market, we still believe that cryptocurrency as an asset class will be strong. In a nutshell, we think: ● Due to the recent sell-off in the market, the value of positions has shrunk sharply, making the distribution of positions in the market clearer. ● With the exit of market makers, the spread between major exchanges has brought more market arbitrage opportunities for retail traders. In particular, the derivatives market (futures and perpetual swaps) has seen a significant discount compared to the spot market, which has pushed up BTC's lending rate. ● By hedging the spot and long futures, market participants can carry out arbitrage trading, which is completely contrary to the market situation we saw last year (the futures price is significantly higher than the spot). ● Over the past six months, trading activities in the options market have grown rapidly. We expect that trading activities in the options market will continue to grow. ● At present, on our platform, institutional clients such as hedge funds, arbitrage traders, crypto companies, etc. have all bought a lot of BTC and USDT. Market volatility is part of investment. We believe that after a period of time, the economy will re-enter the upward trajectory, please let us work together for it.
down the Node-Red rabbit hole, part 5 - hold my beer
part1part2part3part4 so, it's been 4 months since i started this journey and i gotta say that NR has really re-vitalized my personal interest in home-automation, as well as, my HA and whole house setup. i've done more in the past 4 months, to streamline my setup and adding new automations than i've done in the three years since i started using HA somewhere around v0.24.x'ish. i got that shit dialed in now. (also some credit to EspHome for being awesome, despite having meh documentation. yeah, i said it. meh👏doc👏u👏men👏ta👏shun) at this point i have about 36 NR tabs. some are just testing, or playing around with a particular component/palette, but most have at least one flow on it that is live and in use. so, i thought i'd break some of them down for you guys, 'barney style+': (also, some of these are way to huge to post readable screenshots of, so i'm just gonna describe them. plus some of these i detailed in my previous posts.) first up is my globals. where i set global.vars
sets the day/night thermostat values, so i only need to edit them in one place.
looks at my power usage on my 'dumb' tv via sonoff s31 and sets a tv on/off global.var
gets the current volume of my sonos
gets the battery status of my iphone
sets the location status of my iphone according to my unifi link
pulls the current weather info from darksky
posts a NR heartbeat to a mqtt topic (that HA watches for and sends alert if missing for more than 10min, i think it's my only automation still running in HA)
sets/gets global quiet time
won't let alexa set the thermostat to anything less than 70 or higher than 86. since that one time i told her 78 and she heard 8, and set it to 8. dumb bitch.
sets dryer on/off by reading the SCT/Esp8266 sensor value.
same for washer
a 'feed the fish' reminder for alexa to TTS
use twilio to send me SMS as my standard notify, but i only have the single send node for me. all my flows that send texts use a link node to this flow.
other housemates SMS linked send nodes.
turn shit on
turn shit off
and shake it all about
similar to above
less shaking about, especially in the mornings.
i have made it a little smarter by using the HA workday component, so now it won't wake me up on holidays. https://imgur.com/66KNbfB
if bedroom door opens, and i'm not home, flash the light blue/red, alexa TTS: 'the cops are coming' (total bluff), send SMS alerts.
same for bedroom window
i plan to add live video via the newer iOS app soonish.
edit: forgot to mention, i also now have a petsitter IB, so when thats on it will not set off the alarm, so my housemates can feed my fish. i still get text alerts that my door opened tho.
'sleep mode' drops the volume of my sonos by 1% per 1 minute. vol30 = 30m. when 0, stops music, sets volume back to original.
pings my internal servers/VMs and then texts me if they don't respond after 10m.
checks heartbeat mqtt of each of my esp8266s and then texts me if they don't respond after 10m.
checks heartbeat mqtt of my unifi and then texts me if it doesn't respond after 10m.
watches the temp on my bitcoin miner, alerts if gets too high.
watches the temp on my bedroom sensor, alerts if gets too high.
battery (the nodes are very similar to above)
i have a .sh running via cron on my macbook air & work macbook that post the current battery percentage to mqtt, so when the batteries go below certain threshold it turns on the charger, gets to 100% turns off. it's also send text message if it's below 10%.
i have an input_boolean on the HA front end, when on, it...
turns on/off the aquarium light
sets the thermostat to global.away_temp
one button push to backup my spotify playlists. link
every 3m, records what song listening to. this works on any spotify device i happen to be using. i don't even have to be home. i could be in the grocery store and it'll post what my AirBuds are blaring via spotify. nifty.
randomly picks from 12 affirmative responses. i use it on all my switch commands as an alexa acknowledgment.
this one i'm really proud of. it watches the Alamo Drafthouse (movie theater chain) for the two theaters near me, for when new tickets go on sale, then texts me. it keeps a list of the current titles listed, hits their site for a json, then compares if anything new is on the that list. if five new titles got added, i get five texts.
i've even shared this with a few select friends, by adding in their theatetext numbers. they love it. today i bought the first Alien 4K restoration tickets. last week i got tickets to 'an evening with adam savage' minutes after they went on sale.
so, yeah. i'd like to see some of you post some of your flows/ideas if only so i could totally steal them. . . +obscure skippy joke. it's from a book++. ++yes i read. well, i audiobook, but same diff+++. +++i mean, it's just basic science!++++ ++++i mean, that study coulda been bullshit, sponsored by "the audiobook council" or some shit, but i'm taking it at face value.
The /r/XboxOne Game Of The Year Awards 2017 - RESULTS!
Seasons greetings /XboxOne! Thankyou once again for an amazing turnout of voters this year! We had a total of 10,103 responses - And upon removing the 6,822 naughty votes from people who thought they could bot the system (tisk tisk) we arrived at the grand total of 3,281 respondents!
A big thanks to all of you who took the time to fill out the survey.
On with the show!! As always - The votes have been counted correctly, altered based on my own personal bias and edited to reflect the juicy bribes I received in bitcoin and anime hug pillows from publishers. Each winner has been given a prestigious and totally not imaginary /XboxOne exclusive "award", and are celebrated below. As a heads up - By their very nature, these awards will contain mild spoilers. You have been warned BEST SHOOTER
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
Blasting Nazis, robot dogs and the KKK with death lasers in a fictional alternate reality 1960s America? Whats not to love here?! The man who starred in the very first FPS game as we know them; B.J Blazkowicz returns and sets the record straight on just how the shooter genre is done. BEST RPG
Assassins Creed: Origins
Something of a surprise winner this year - The AC series is not known for its RPG flair, but Ubisoft went back to the drawing board with the newest instalment of the franchise and re-imagined AC as a sprawling, open world RPG set in ancient Egypt. Well done Ubisoft. Despite very strong competition from South Park: The Fractured, But Whole, you managed to take the win! Just don't get comfortable in your seats - I have a feeling we will see you back on the award stage very soon... BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE
Assassins Creed: Origins
And by very soon - I mean right now... Never before have we awarded the Action Adventure AND Role Playing Game trophies to the same game - But then again, never before has a game managed to fuse open-world action, platforming and adventure quite so well into a deep RPG system. Truly a new benchmark for the open world genre, AC:O smashed its second-place rival, Shadow of War by over a thousand votes and adds another feather in its hat. BEST NARRATIVE
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colussus
4 awards given out and only 2 games mentioned. Despite very healthy competition in this award from many games, Wolfenstein 2 managed to narrowly outpace its nearest rival, Prey and take the win. Violent, ridiculous and funny - But also poignant, emotional and surprisingly human. Wolfenstein 2 takes one of the most ridiculous storeys ever told in gaming and makes it feel real. BEST FREE TO PLAY GAME
Fortnite: Battle Royale
This was not even a question in the minds of you guys. Epic's somewhat ahemfamiliar take on the battle royale genre utterly decimated the competition this year. Just goes to show that when your original game idea is tanking, there are much worse things you can do than rebuild your game into cartoony PUBG meets Minecraft. Nice one Epic. BEST SINGLE PLAYER CAMPAIGN
Assassins Creed: Origins
This was a close one! Going head to head with Wolfenstein 2 yet again, the sandy expanses of the assassins creed world were just enough to push it into the winning position, by less than 30 votes! The trials and tribulations of Bayek of Siwa were enough to win award number 3 for Ubisoft this year. BEST MULTIPLAYER
Get ready to drop. Not surprisingly, PUBG wins best multiplayer this year. The Xbox is known as the "shooters console" and PUBG is currently the most popular shooter in the entire world - With a staggering 10%+ of all PC gamers on steam having played it (Making it the 6th most popular PC game in the world). It only makes sense that Xbox gamers would catch PUBG mania as well. Congratulations Bluehole! BEST SPORTS GAME
Oh hey, it's that genre that FIFA wins every year! Football is the worlds most popular sport, so it would only make sense that it would be the most popular sports video game as well. In fact, the only gaming franchise that sells more on console than FIFA is COD. Well done EA. Next year we will ship your award early to save time. BEST DRIVING/RACING GAME
Forza Motorsport 7
Oh hey, it's that genre that Forza wins every year! Seriously though, Forza is the undisputed king of racing games. No other racing game series on any other platform comes close to the quality and frequency of releases that the Forza team manage every year. This year was no exception, with FM7 being used as the poster boy for the Xbox One X 4K, 60FPS HDR miracle. Turn 10 utterly obliterated the competition this year by over THREE THOUSAND votes. Possibly the widest margin of victory we have ever seen. Rekt. BEST PLATFORMER
Let's be real for a second - As a pure platformer, Cuphead is average at best. But in its own genre of "Artistic tour de force bullet hell cross boss rush cross platformer cross dark souls with incredible music" - It has no equal. The blue hedgehog made a come back this year with the incredible Sonic Mania, which did VERY well in votes, but it wasn't even close to knocking the crown off of the cup's head. Well done Studio MDHR. BEST HORROR GAME
Resident Evil 7
Resident Evil is the king of the survival horror genre. After years and years of poorly performing sequels, the team went back to the drawing board and re-designed just what it is that makes a Resident Evil game. Despite changing everything from the setting, to the story, to even the player perspective - RE7 Still somehow managed to feel like Resident Evil. On top of that, it was one of the best horror games released this year. Prey and The Evil Within 2 managed to actually tie for second place, but they must both bow before the king. A true return to form from Capcom. BEST SOUNDTRACK
Possibly by virtue of being one of the most original soundtracks in gaming, Cuphead stunned everyone with its old-timey Big Band and Barbershop soundtrack. Noticeable competition came from Prey, which was composed by Mick Gordon (Who won last year's best soundtrack award for DOOM) and Destiny 2 - But they weren't enough to overcome the originality and awesomeness that was Cuphead's soundtrack. Also worth noting that this song is actually sung by a woman. The incredibly talented Alana Bridgewater. BEST "GAME PREVIEW PROGRAM" (EARLY ACCESS) GAME
Award number two for the innovative new franchise. Despite its technical and performance issues on release, the game is still fun enough for the VAST majority of you to overlook. They earned this particular chicken dinner by over 2 thousand votes. Tasty. BEST SOUND DESIGN
Star Wars Battlefront 2
Despite the controversy surrounding the Battlefront series - There is one thing that nobody of sound mind can ever fault the series, and indeed DICE studios themselves for. Sound Design. The pew pew of the blasters, the whroom of the light sabres and the skreeeeeuummmmm of tie fighters all coming through JUST right. Oh, and who could forget the almighty thermal impolder... BEST GRAPHICS
Assassins Creed: Origins
This game is simply stunning. In 4K HDR on the Xbox One X - There is arguably no better-looking game in existence right now. Incredible texture detail, stunning vistas, built up cities, sweeping sand dunes, a draw distance that stretches to infinity and historical accuracy so legit that you can play the game with an Egyptology book on hand and actually compare visual notes and translate the real hieroglyphics. AC:O is one hell of a pretty game. Battlefront 2 put up a good fight, but it was no match for that Ubisoft magic. THE "SHOULD HAVE BEEN DELAYED" AWARD
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Mass Effect: Andromeda was, in what is retrospectively the height of irony, delayed more than once by EA who claimed "We’re willing to make moves in launch dates if we feel that it’s necessary to deliver the right player experience" after their first 5-month delay. It seems that wasn't quite enough. Bad characters, Bad Plot, Bad Glitches - The ME Series hit an all-time low with this instalment. Causing such a stir as to have EA gut the entire development team and then to declare that the Mass Effect franchise is to be shelved indefinitely. Ouch... BEST FREE GAME WITH GOLD
Ryse: Son of Rome
We live in a post Pool Nation FX world. Gaming has peaked. Since then we shamble about aimlessly, lost and alone. We make do with what we are given. Ryse: Son of Rome was a launch game for the Xbox One, that Meme'd on this subreddit only second to PNFX. With weekly threads asking for it to be a GWG, Numerous rumours and hoaxes - The madmen finally did it and gave it to us. So that's it. We defeated Microsoft and have no games left to meme... Soldiers without a war. Is there truly a place left for us in this world? Oh, and the game is alright I guess. MOST BANG-ABLE CHARACTER
The "Retry" button - Cuphead
Easily one of the most smashed menu options in recent memory. This filthy harlot was always there, ready for you to fail. You hated yourself for going back to its arms - But it was always there when you needed it. In the back of your mind, you knew this was an abusive relationship, but nobody truly knows you like the Retry button. Every time you press it, you swear to yourself that was the last time. That is until the next time... Also as always, my mother was a strong contender in the "Other" category, as well as MajorNelson and the Puddle Slime from Slime Rancher. PS - My... uhh... friend says thanks for those fursona pictures. MOST HATED CHARACTER
This was a polarising choice. Seemingly Bungie managed to accomplish the impossible by irritating both the hardcore Destiny 1 fanbase AND the casual audience with a cavalcade of "downgrades", controversies and poor press. From being caught stripping down content to be re-sold as microtransactions through to skimming EXP from players - Destiny 2 has not been a smooth ride. Not even Starwars Battlefront 2 came close to the level of regret felt by long-time Bungie fans.... Again... BEST CONSOLE EXCLUSIVE
What is left for me to say here? Cuphead is one of the most original, well executed and highly decorated games of the year. A stunning achievement for indie developers Studio MDHR - They even got props from the prime minister of Canada himself! Congratulations again guys. You crafted a fun and unique game that took the old school and somehow made it new school. A game that no Xbox One owner should be without, Cuphead is a triumph in every sense of the word. OVERALL BEST GAME OF THE YEAR 2017
Assassins Creed: Origins
Another Close one! With Cuphead and Wolfenstein 2 hot on its heels, it was once again Assassins Creed: Origins that managed to edge ahead of the crowd by a MEASLY 82 votes to pick up its 6th award this year - Making it the most highly decorated game in /XboxOne history. Here is what the results looked like: https://i.imgur.com/rnzBiXH.jpg There seems to be no question at all on your minds as to what the essential game of 2017 is for every Xbox One owner. That game is Assassins Creed: Origins. Ubisoft took a year off in order to make the best new AC game they could and it is obvious that that little extra layer of TLC was exactly what the series needed. If you are a fan of action games, platformers, stealth, hack and slash combat, open world exploration, RPG mechanics, loot, crafting or even just a history buff - You owe it to yourself to play this game. Particularly in 4K HDR on the Xbox One X. Congratulations Ubisoft on your first ever big win on the sub! A big thanks to everyone who voted once again! Looking forward to 2018's wild ride! Love - The mod team.
There's a million bitcoin podcasts but which ones are actually worth listening to? I'll point out the ones that I've looked into, but I'm wondering if there's some I've missed.
I'm not particularly interested in podcasts that are petty or spend a lot of effort in creating conspiracies. I'm moderately interested in the politics as long as they are being somewhat secular and non tribal. I'm also interested in podcasts where they delve into technical stuff and are pretty knowledgeable. I have a huge affinity for irreverence. I loved bitcoin uncensored in the past because they just didn't give a fuck and they mocked everything, while at the same time had a pretty deep understanding of how the technology works. They also weren't afraid to say something that didn't tow the line and weren't afraid to be controversial. I'll give a few examples of podcasts that I'm listening to and ones that I'm avoiding currently. Junseth's World: The show is quite entertaining, though some I don't really care as much for the generalized politics that they talk about. That said the hosts are entertaining, they generally know what they are talking about and they discuss the stuff that I find interesting for the most part. The stuff they go deep on is stuff that is generally true and they talk about things that I don't see talked about in other places. For example the fallacy of more energy efficient mining. The implications of having mining come to your area. The generalized economics that they discuss is all very interesting. This is probably my favorite podcast in the space but it isn't as good as bitcoin uncensored was. Derose uncensored: I'm generally a fan of chris's position of being a secular bitcoiner, but he's gone off the rails a bit since bitcoin uncensored fell apart. It's ironic because he used to really hate going into areas that he called a "science free zone". Now he spends almost all of his time there and the sheer volume of farts in his content is absolutely noxious. He spends a lot of time talking to people who have just entered the space and who aren't even worth listening to. It also seems quite clear to me that he goes into these discussions trying to manipulate the discussion and trying to push a position rather than trying to learn anything. I'll only listen/watch his content if there's a very specific topic or a very specific person on that I find interesting. It's not that great. Noded: They go off a bit into the tribalist nonsense that I don't find very interesting or productive but they are entertaining and have highly technical people on their podcast all the time and they discuss the things that I find interesting. On the whole this show is great. Tone Vays: I almost didn't want to bring this guy up just because he is such a fucking moron. He has no idea what he is talking about. He's an astrologer at his core spreading absolute bullshit about reading his tea leaves. It is absolute bottom feeder content that appeals to newbies and naive people. He also is VERY non-technical and makes it very obvious to anyone who knows anything about the space that he has no idea what he is talking about technically. He says things that are absolutely wrong constantly and when he talks to people with opposing views he almost always loses because of how unknowledgeable he is. He makes a lot of appeal to authority. He makes a lot of circular arguments. This guys content is the absolute worst. WCN/Bitcoin group: This is usually just a panel of people who have no idea what they are talking about and is generally uninsteresting. They also aren't very funny or entertaining. Blocktime with Michael Tidwell, Paul Sztorc, Michael B Casey and I forget the last guy: Back when they were making podcasts they were great. It's really unfortunate they stopped making these. They all were pretty knowledgable and had a pretty good understanding of how bitcoin worked. It was funny and insightful but for whatever reason they stopped coming out. Jimmy Song: He comes out with some long for content/podcasts from time to time that on the whole is pretty good. He's pretty technically knowledgeable and for the most part seems to avoid tribalistic fallacies and drana and argues things based on their merit from his perspective. Shinobi/JW/Block Digest:These guys are as tribalistic and conspiratorial as they come. I find these guys very difficult to listen to because of this BUT they are generally technically knowledgable, they come out fairly consistently and they discuss the day to day goings on in the bitcoin ecosystem. They also from time to time have something insightful to say. I very begrudgingly listen to this podcast most of the time due to there not being anything better that comes out frequently and keeps me up on the week to week goings on in the space. I would enjoy their content much more if they would stop weaving fabulous unfounded conspiracies about other actors in the space. Extrapolating intentions of people, companies, and projects that make absolutely no sense if you even put a modest amount of thought into it. I mean why weave some magical conspiracy about someone's intention being evil or nefarious when it could very easily be described as just being naive or stupid. Not everyone is a fucking super villain. Not every project is a secret plan to try to destroy bitcoin or undermine the ecosystem. Doug Polk: This guy is pretty entertaining. He is very non-technical, but isn't afraid to admit it. The people he has on his show can be pretty hit or miss. A lot of the time it's just one of his buddies he invites on the show who is even more clueless than doug is, and those shows can be real stinkers, but sometimes he has interesting people on and the discussion can be quite interesting. Richard Heart:This guy is interesting. For what it's worth I think he's a total scammer and a bit of an asshole. He's proclaimed he is going to create atleast 2 scams and outright said he's doing it solely for the money, not to actually contribute to the ecosystem. He's also into a bit of the woo woo technical analysis bullshit. That said he's had some of the most epic and entertaining rants in the space. When he interviews people with his skepticism hat on he can be spot on and those shows are great. Let's Talk Bitcoin: These shows on the whole are okay. Sometimes they discuss stuff that is interesting and sometimes they discuss stuff that is stupid. Andreas on the whole is great. Adam on the whole is okay. He is a bit naive. Stephany just seems like a token female to me. She doesn't seem to contribute much interesting to the discussion and doesn't seem to know too much about the technicals or even what is going on in the space. She seems generally uninterested in bitcoin. That's not to diminish her as a person as she is a smart person and has her expertise outside of the space. I've listened to a lot of her content over the years and she is quite knowledgable and has insightful things to say about a number of things, but bitcoin just doesn't seem to be one of those things. I think she's lost interest in the space as it's become more mainstream, and she's even said as such. They are also generally a bunch of fence sitters and wait for controversial or contentious things to be derisked before they take a position. Also they seem to record content in advance which can be quite obvious when they have a show come out like 2-3 weeks after an even has happened and they are talking about it. This stuff can be time sensitive and ephemeral and after a week or 2 all that can be said on a topic has already been said. Andreas in general is great and everyone should watch his videos. He's quite technically savvy, appeals to a large audience and covers plenty of interesting topics. That's all of the stuff that I'm aware of(unless I'm just forgetting something.). I'm always desperate for more though. I listen to podcasts all the time as I can listen to them at work and while I'm out and about so I can never have too many. Are there any people in the space or podcasts that I am missing? I can't get enough GOOD bitcoin content.
Bitcoin Mining Power Hits Fresh All-Time High Bitcoin’s hash rate reached record highs this week amid rising prices and anticipation of the miner reward halving later this year. The number of bitcoin transactions is at an all-time high of nearly 427 million, according to the charts. The bitcoin hash rate, which corresponds to the computational power of the network, is also, according to metrics, at an all time high of over 60 EH / s. The statistics speak for Bitcoin, the ATH has also resulted in the mining revenues that BTC for miners is more profitable than the ... The world's most popular cryptocurrency bitcoin dropped below $6,000 on Sunday, losing over 30 percent of its value since hitting an all-time high set earlier this week. Bitcoin was trading as low as $5,519 on Sunday, plunging over $2,300 from its Wednesday record high, according to data compiled by industry website Coinmarketcap . 21 members in the CryptoCrunchApp community. A community dedicated to Bitcoin, Blockchain and all other cryptocurrencies including ethereum, xrp … Press J to jump to the feed. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. Log in sign up. User account menu • Chainlink (LINK) Gained 12% to All-Time High Above $9. Close • Posted by just now. Chainlink (LINK) Gained 12% to ... Bitcoin Hits All Time High. As 2017 progressed, we witnessed Bitcoin’s meteoric rise to hit its all time high value of just under $20,000 in what seemed like a matter of weeks. But just as ...
DANGER!!!!!!!!!!!!! INSANE BITCOIN CHART HITS ALL TIME ...
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