Diy tool box external lock bar

[WTS] Spartan Harsey SHF Warthog, JIK Fuse (Cap City mods), Chaves 229 Redencion “Kickstop” PVD, ProTech Mordax (BGM regrind), Civivi Conspirator Dama/Wood, WingmanEDC MTNT Mach 3, Mcusta Tactility, Inkosi Clone

2023.06.06 04:39 chronobrian [WTS] Spartan Harsey SHF Warthog, JIK Fuse (Cap City mods), Chaves 229 Redencion “Kickstop” PVD, ProTech Mordax (BGM regrind), Civivi Conspirator Dama/Wood, WingmanEDC MTNT Mach 3, Mcusta Tactility, Inkosi Clone

Hey Swap! Celebrating another Monday in the books with a bunch of beauties up for grabs.
Spartan Harsey SHF (Warthog) - Full size Spartan Harsey SHF in the stunning discontinued DLT Warthog special edition. 3.95” S45VN blade. Etched and ano’d warthog titanium framelock. 8.9” overall length. Bought from original owner as never cut, never carried. I have not cut or carried. Action is smooth, reverse flickable. Comes with box. SV: $450
Jonas Iglesias Knives Fuse - M390 belt satin blade. Titanium framelock on skiff bearings. Modded by the one and only Cap City Creations with silk bark finish on frame and pocket clip, speed holes with satin chamfers and milled "bolster" lines on show scale. A one of a kind beauty. Bought from original owner as never cut, never carried, and I haven't either. Comes with pouch, box, sticker. SV: $425
Chaves 229 Redencion "Lee Williams Kickstop" PVD - This knife is a sold out eknives exclusive Chaves 229 Redencion with the Lee Williams kickstop disappearing flipper tab. 3.6" PVD drop point blade. PVD titanium handles. Framelock. 8.2" overall length. Bright orange peel finished clip. Reate production. Bought as LNIB from original owner and I haven't cut or carried. No blemishes of note to my eye. Satisfying snappy action and unique closing action sounds with the kickstop flipper mechanism. Comes with box and normal clip. SV: $375
ProTech Mordax - Designed by Ferrum Forge. All black version from Drop. 3.5" CPM20CV drop point blade with a sexy BGM hollow regrind. Black aluminum handles. Button lock. 8.25" overall length. Bought from original owner as never cut, never carried, and I haven't either. Comes with box and dust bag. SV: $290
WingmanEDC / Tom Mayo MTNT Mach 3 - Designed by Tom Mayo based on the classic TNT. 2.875" M390 drop point blade. Stonewashed titanium handles with speed holes. Framelock. 6.625" overall length. Running on ceramic bearings. Excellent action with front flip or reverse flick. Original owner reported to never cut, never carry, and I haven't either. Comes with dog tag COA, pivot tool, pouch, box. SV: $275
Mcusta Tactility - 3.75” nickel damascus VG10 blade. Contoured black micarta handles. 8.25” overall length. Bought as never cut, never carried, and I haven’t either. Comes with box. SV: $150
Civivi Conspirator - This knife started out as a Civivi Conspirator with cuibourtia wood scales and I swapped the blade with a damascus version, creating the ultimate Conspirator IMO. 3.48" damascus drop point blade. Cuibourtia wood scales. Button lock. 8.11" overall length. Bought as never cut, never carried, and I haven’t either. Comes with pouch, box, sticker. SV: $110
Inkosi Clone (large) - Green Thorn clone of large CRK Inkosi. 3.5" VG10 blade. Titanium framelock. 8.3" overall length. Original owner. Never cut, never carried. I 3M'd the scales to a satin-ish finish, giving it some more visual depth. I also removed the ano from the tips of the studs. The build quality and action are frighteningly good compared to my actual CRKs. Comes with pouch. SV: $75
Prefer to sell but will consider trades.
*Trade Interests*: SOC JCape V4 (satin), TW Price Dawn V2, CKF Justice, CKF FIF20 (full ti), CKF Gnome, Reate Starboy, Tashi Bharucha Krypton (large), Bradley Marais Vector (full ti harpoon tanto), Laconico Revel, Holt Specter, SBD Evo Typhoon (embossed or aspirated Ti), Arcane Design Anti-Matter, Rob Carter fullsize BBM. Open to others. Prefer LNIB or very close to it.
Payment via Paypal FF, Venmo, or Zelle
Please comment on the post before sending chat/PM. If I don't reply to your chat please resend via PM, my chat has been a bit weird lately.
Yolo >
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2023.06.06 04:11 MatchesMalone_247 [NM] Protech Malibu Magnacut 260 @ $1

Make & Model: Protech Malibu Flipper
Spots / Price: 260 @ $1
Total Price: $260
Timestamp & pics: Here
Price Justification: Here
Usual rules apply... ​
Description: Magnacut Wharncliff Malibu with textured grip. I won this a little while back, apparently I’m the 3rd owner, but it doesn’t show any signs of use or carry. I have not carried or cut with it, just lots of fidgeting. Previous raffle mentioned a little lock stick for the button, I’d say it’s working out, but probably wouldn’t hurt to let it break in some more. Comes with box and stuff
International shipping: Yes. Winner covers costs above standard and assumes risks once it leaves the US.

PayPal Info: [REDACTED]
Cash App Info: [REDACTED]

Tip BlobAndHisBoy
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2023.06.06 03:33 Certifiedmidwife Power of Having a Business Consultant

When we begin our own business, our most important advocates are our business consultants. They help you turn any problem into a solution. Their job is to solve problems within your business. Consultants can solve many business problems. Different types of consultants have different solutions.
It is not always easy. Finding the right business consultant can be difficult for business owners. You need to search for the best qualities that are most suitable for your business. A consultant must have passion for their work, drive to excellence, and an eye for detail and organization. It is important to find a consultant with expertise in your industry and experience solving the problems that your company faces.

Why a midwife business consultant is necessary?

Some companies wonder why they need a business consultant. Because they already have smart people, why would they need a business consultant? There are many reasons it is a good idea to hire someone outside.
Here are the most common reasons to hire a business consultant:
  1. Insufficient expertise – Sometimes the skills required for growth aren’t available within the company. Expert consultants can provide the expertise and experience required to complete a project or solve specific problems.
  2. Time constraints – Sometimes employees don’t have the time or the resources to complete a project or conduct the necessary research. Business consultants can be an invaluable resource to quickly staff up for short-term tasks or projects.
  3. Inadequacy of experience – It’s hard for employees to keep up with the latest trends and technologies. This results in a shortage of skilled employees who are knowledgeable about the most recent tools and methods. Training can be provided by business consultants to meet the demand or provide support until the skills are acquired.
  4. Flexibility in staffing – Businesses can hire business consultants to help with short-term projects, without having to pay a salary or benefits. Once the project is complete, the consultant’s contract expires. A company doesn’t have to budget for severance pay and other HR obligations.
  5. Unbiased opinions – It’s important to have an objective opinion when there are conflicts or problems. Experts in strategy, business consultants can offer perspectives that may be overlooked by stakeholders who are too close to the problem. They can help you think through the problem, navigate within politics and provide sensible solutions.
  6. Cross-pollination of new ideas– Business consultants have worked with many companies and industries. These ideas can be cross-pollinated to help businesses think outside the box and include new concepts and methods.
  7. For special projects that require speed and efficiency, companies can hire consultants who have previous experience. Perhaps you are looking for a new solution to a problem in your company’s software. An experienced consultant can help companies quickly overcome the learning curve and implement new tools in a cost-effective manner.
  8. Assessment – A business consultant can help companies identify data and define the problem. They will then recommend solutions.
  9. Conflict resolution – A mediator can be used by an outside consultant to help resolve conflicts. Business consultants can act as neutral mediators to resolve disputes in different situations.
  10. Compliance – Businesses must adhere to all federal, state and local regulations. Compliance consultants can help companies avoid violations. It can be difficult and complicated to implement regulations. Hiring an expert can help you save time, money, and resources.

Benefits of Hiring a Midwife Consultant

1. Expertise
A business consultant’s greatest advantage is their ability to specialize in specific areas. This allows them to provide the necessary expertise for each sector. Consultants will often work with several clients within their specialty area. This allows them to keep up to date on the latest developments and trends in the field. This can help organizations stay ahead and make the most of new models and methods. Consultants can help clients make immediate decisions and help to build a long-term structure that can increase productivity and performance. This can easily be quantified as a return on investment.
2. Independence
Permanent employees may be subject to internal “politics” within an organization. This means they might agree to things in order to please their boss, rather than because it makes sense. Consultants bring a different perspective that could make a significant difference in how you run your business. Good consultants will be objective and impartial. They are not connected to the company and can therefore focus on the client’s goals/plan without getting distracted by internal distractions.
3. One-off-costs
Organizations that hire external expertise to assist with individual projects don’t have to pay overhead costs. These include providing benefits or even providing a computer and workspace. Clients can also extend their contracts based on their needs and the results of the initial term. They don’t have to worry about having to contribute to another pension fund or covering holidays or sick pay.
4. Best practices
Consultants can work with a wide range of clients and have the ability to draw on experience from many industries and companies. They can offer innovative solutions because of their diversity of thinking. It also allows them to share best practices. Organizations can learn from the top performers in their industry and find ways to improve their operations.
5. Maintaining the business in operation
For some roles, organizations can use internal resources to staff their projects. However, in certain cases, the running of an organization may be affected by the removal of resources. In these cases, consultants can be a useful way to ensure business continuity.
Related Blogpost:Businesses A Midwife Can Create
Have a 30 Mins Schedule with me and Enroll to the Course:
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2023.06.06 01:29 mishin_control Road trip recommendations requested!

Road trip nervous-ness has me long winded
-Hi all, Im planning for a solo longer road trip down from NYC to the mountains of NC. taking the long way, about 2k miles is my estimate. I have TWO recommendation requests of all of you lovely folks:-
What essentials would you pack which are moto specific? I have a first aid kit I can mount to a bar, Im laminating my emergency contact people's info into a card to stash in my jacket, usb connected to moto battery, a battery tender, a very light and compact cover for storing when I go sleep overnight, a disc lock + Xena, rain coat to get me to the closest overpass and waterproof socks, a tire repair kit - metric allen keys ( I should bring more repair tools???) and like a couple spare sets of clothes mebbbe an extra set of gloves?
My second recommendation request is - I think i need to assess my luggage options.In any case, I am trying to pack MEGA lean, and only take the essentials. I have the Kriega US-30 Drypack - Im looking for some additional storage but dont want anything toooooo onerous - I dont want a backpack, I do have some waist bags to choose from, but for say a tank bag or a saddle bag or???? I can go super light in my personal needs... I dont want the bike laden with luggage. Are there luggage options anyone here really is in love with for their MT? Why?
Im okay going without something I might need, but def dont wanna get stranded in the middle of the mountains with no way to get to a proper city to get help... and/or something i might need to pack to wear to ride through weather or other circumstances for malaffecting my ability to ride properly???I know this is a longer query and will likely have diverse responses I appreciate all of them. I am nervous about not having what I need but also about carrying stuff I dont...
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2023.06.06 01:09 Popspoopsock I need serious help! With my mac book pro 2020 M1

I need serious help! With my mac book pro 2020 M1
The screen has weird vertical bars, will occasionally flash my lock screen then it’ll go back to the vertical bars. The Touch Bar is also black and when plugged into hdmi the only thing the external monitor shows is a dark grey screen. Video included for more details and examples
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2023.06.06 01:06 Expensive_Ad_5089 June 2023 - Unpacking the Light Police

Unpacking the Light Police. Light Pollution News.
Show Link:
Subscribe: Apple Podcast Spotify Google Podcast
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John Barentine of Dark Sky Consulting, LLC.
Kaitlyn Evans, Conservationist.
I was busted by the light police. They had a point, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post.
Dana Milbank purchased a home in, soon to be not, rural Virginia. At night he kept the formerly vacant property lit to the degree that spurned one commentator to call it “spaceship lighting.”
Milbank recaps being visited by the “light police,” a group of concerned citizens who help educate neighbors and instill a sense of pride in the brilliance of their starry night skies.
At first, he was taken aback, but later, not only did he appreciate their efforts, but he also converted his blinding always on, white light flood lights to warm 2700 Kelvin motion sensing lights.
Per Ruskin Hartley, executive director of the International Dark Sky Association, “for 4.5 billion years there was no artificial light at night. It’s really only in the last five human generations that we transformed that. It’s one of the most profound transformations of our environment.”
Many of you may recall an earlier story, way back in our Hormone of Darkness episode, showcasing concerns by local residents prior to a 760 house (now 761) plus town center development moving into the Culpepper County, VA area. Per the Rappahannock News, this development features “a resort style swimming pool, clubhouse, tot lot, and multiple sports fields and sports courts, all connected by a network of biking and walking trails.”
The forgotten medieval habit of ‘two sleeps’ by Zaria Gorvett of the BBC.
Gorvett opened my eyes to something I never knew about, the medieval custom of two sleeps. For those of you unaware, two sleeps are exactly what it sounds like.
Folks would partake in a communal nap, complete with rigid sleeping arrangement conventions, between 9 – 11pm, then awaken for a few hours to do everything from hang out to brew beer! In fact, the idea of multiple sleeps crossed cultures and was found in places as far from Europe as indigenous South America.
How can one’s circadian rhythm make sense of all of this?!
Well, for starters, until the invention of the alarm clock, which humorously was invented by a clocks salesman so he could wake up and sell more clocks, people had no firm way to wake up at a consistent time. The industrial revolution enforced a new circadian standard.
And there’s some science behind this! In the 1992 study, In Short Photoperiods, human sleep is biphasic, researcher Thomas Wehr found that after four weeks of 10 hour days, his subjects began to engage in this two sleep cycle, involving a one to three hour period for which they became awake and engaged in between.
Want to Learn About Light Pollution? There’s a mini-course for that!, Jennifer Sensiba of Clean Technica.
Quoting Sensiba, “As I got older, I traveled a lot more and saw the problem more for what it is. Not only did I see that in many places there is no refuge from it, but I also saw that it was slowly growing worse. Places that had been dark 30 years ago had more and more light creeping upon the horizon.”
If you’re interested in learning more, or more importantly, know someone who might benefit from learning more, Sensiba links up to an International Dark Sky Mini-Course on light pollution, call it Light Pollution 101!
There’s a Play Date at the National Museum of Natural History: Lights Out exhibit!
But unfortunately, by the time you listen to this, and hell, by the time we talk about this, it has passed.
Ann Arbor named best place for sunrises, sunsets in Michigan. Sarah Parlette for Click on Detroit.
Evidently gambling websites have decided to honor April’s International Dark Sky week in a strange new content marketing campaign, which was to rank the best places in each state to see sunrises and sunsets. My favorite one, “Ann Arbor named best place for sunrises, sunsets in Michigan,” comes from Click on Detroit, whereby a quote “study” examined Michigan’s most populated cities.”
According to Click on Detroit, “to celebrate International Astrology Day on Saturday, staff at Great Lake Stakes, a Michigan online gambling news site, looked at light pollution in the five most populated cities around the Mitten state to determine which offers the best views every morning and evening.”
Star bathing is the new outdoor travel trend we should all be trying for Summer 2023, according to Amy Beecham at Stylist.
Evidently, as an attempt to destress and promote mindfulness, romanticism about sleeping under the stars has birthed a 70% increase in searches for the term ‘star bathing’ on Hipcamp. And to be sure, “Hipcamp recommends checking a stargazing calendar which outlines major astrological events – like supermoons, pink moons, and star showers.”
Industry Must Face an Inconvenient Truth — Most LED Lights at Night are Unhealthy
Dr. Martin Moore-Ede, a circadian clock expert, recently published an article in LEDs Magazine chastising the lighting industry for not recognizing and reigning in the negative externalities of its products. Per the piece, such effects are, obesity, diabetes, depression, cancer, and more.
He cites three categories of industry responses, making the correlation that long term Denial or outright Ignorance of the Facts, may result in “asbestos-scale liabilities or draconian regulations.”
Per the piece, a recent survey by the Circadian Light Research Center of 2,697 peer reviewed scientific articles confirmed that human circadian clocks are highly sensitive to blue wavelengths, and that exposure to such wavelengths leads to major health disorders.
Moore-Ede calls for the industry to harvest the “commercial opportunity” to greatly limit future liability by creating and managing its own standards for circadian modulated lighting.
Unpacking the Wallpack, by Dan Weissman in LD+A Magazine.
Weissman, who recently purchased a telescope for his family in Cambridge, MA, discovered that the scope could only afford him views of some solar system objects and a few brightly burning stars.
The ire of Weissman’s pen takes the shape of a rectangular fixtures, be it box like or simply a panel these days, that typically hang off the side of an exterior wall or above an exterior door. “Devoid of aesthetic value” this light is often put up under the “pretense of security and safety” by “recommended practices and adopted municipal codes.”
Weissman recognizes labels that often accompany, what he calls, “Glare bombs,” including “contractor-select,” “energy efficient,” or “light pollution friendly.”
Further, per an earlier LD+A article, such lighting driven by its extreme contrasts is exceedingly common in minority communities where light is weaponized as a tool of power. It becomes a “device of alienation, creating a zone of control and separation.”
Weissman recognizes that the true reason such fixtures are selected often comes down to cost. He recognizes that it may take equally as much cost to persuade building and homeowners away from such lighting into the realm of more responsible, lower lumen, shielded lighting.
Weissman calls for producers of these glare bombs to be labeled as polluters, putting them in line with fossil fuel manufacturers and PFAS makers.
Songbirds, dusk and clear skies: Scientists explore migratory flights, by Erin Blakemore.
Bird migration season is ending here in the Mid-Atlantic. I was lucky enough to catch several Baltimore Orioles and Indigo Buntings last week. Researchers looked at 400 songbirds from 9 major species, “including the yellow-rump warbler, American redstart and Bicknell’s thrush.”
The question they hoped to answer was how are these birds so darn precise in identifying the best time to take off for their nightly migration? Scientists found that 90% of the migrating birds in the study took off within 69 minutes of dusk. A “much narrower takeoff window,” that even shocked the research team!
Per the study, taking off at night is all about maximum flight time. In addition to being able to precisely schedule their take offs, a feat that every airline I’ve flown with over the past few years has proven inept at, birds also are apparently good meteorologists! They often depart when the atmospheric pressure rises over a day’s span. Other factors also trigger migration, including sex, age, and celestial cues.
‘Lights Out’ initiative appears to be saving birds from crashing into Philly buildings by Sophia Schmidt.
Preliminary results indicate that bird death counts are down 70% at one Market Street tower, since it began its participation in Lights Out. As we spoke about on a previous show, birds utilize the stars to navigate, but city lights can disorient the birds. Combine the lights with reflective or transparent glass, and that spells fatal trouble for our migrating warblers!
Per Keith Russell, a program manager for urban conservation with Audubon Mid-Atlantic, “We’ve lost almost a third of our birds – and [collisions] contributing to that. If we’re going to want to preserve the bird populations here in North America, we have to look at these types of problems. And this is a preventable one.”
The Knoxville, TN Zoo is offering up what they call “Twilight Tours” per WVLT 8. Each event will feature a guide to showcase nocturnal critters.
I did something similar in Singapore years ago. The zoo had very dim lights in the exhibits – and they kept those lights dim as you walked so that you didn’t lose your night vision. It was a very different and, might I say, peaceful experience than the typically chaotic daytime zoo.
Flashlights posing major threat to nesting sea turtles. Fox35 Orlando
Apparently, a single flashlight can deter female sea turtles from coming onto a beach and nesting. Florida, as I did not know, is home to 90% of the sea turtle nests across the world, so losing sea turtles can affect the global ecosystem.
One visitor to Cocoa Beach stated, “Just leave them alone. Stand back and look. You don’t need a flashlight.”
Another, “It’s not super surprising because more buildings go up, more technology. As it increases, nature and stuff like that decreases,” said Zoe Jovaag, whose grandfather used to take her on walks to see sea turtles.
Capture the Dark 2023 officially is under way!
The International Dark Sky Association opens up its annual photo contest complete with prizes across eight categories and an additional People’s Choice category. Voting begins on July 3rd, entries must be received by June 30th.
City Tests Traffic Light That Only Turns Green for Drivers Who Obey the Speed Limit. Erin Marquis for Jalopnik.
And hey, you better not speed in Brossard, Quebec….otherwise you may be waiting around for a while. Brossard is testing out a new traffic light that will stay red until it senses oncoming traffic. However, it will only change to green if the car is going the speed limit. Per the Jalopnik article, “FRED [the French acronym for “educational traffic calming light] forces fast drivers to stop and gives them a chance to reconsider their life choices.” Such lights are already used in Europe, but this will be the first for the Great White North.
Why the Greatest Threat to Star-Gazing Isn’t Light Pollution, and this comes to us from Dorin Elin Urrutia at Inverse.
Elin Urrutia writes, in her compelling piece, that the greatest threat to star-gazing is actually the weather. Citing notable examples of the Mount Stromlo Observatory in Australia (which burnt down due to bushfires) and the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico (which sustained structural damage following the winds of Hurricane Maria).
While the threat of human-caused climate change has presented new challenges, Elin Urrutia references proactive burns that saved Los Angeles’ Mount Wilson Observatory from flames in 2020.
On a similar note, ABC News (the Australian Broadcasting Company, not to be confused with the American Broadcasting Company), brings us “A World Without Darkness Could Be a Reality within a Few Years.”
Per Carol Redford of Astrotourism Western Australia, “There are some people in the world now who don’t actually experience darkness anymore. They’re in a city like Beijing, Toyoko, or London. In all those big cities, it’s never dark, it’s always light. During the day of course with the sun, but then during the night with all of the artificial light. They’re not experiencing darkness, and definitely not seeing those beautiful stars…”
In the 66 years since the implementation of the UN Convention on the Peaceful Use of Outerspace, around 11,000 satellites orbit the Earth. But it’s about to get wayyy busier. Driven by innovations that have led to dramatic reductions in costs, over the next ten years, Per attorney Steven Freeland, it’s anticipated that somewhere between 100,000 to 500,000 objects will be sent up. Let me pause on that for a second.
On the travel front, we stay in the land down under, “Aussie region determined to keep its darkness is a stargazer’s dream” by Chantelle Francis of
The town of Swam Reach, population 270, resides in a 3200sq km region of Southern Australia that received its International Dark Sky Reserve status over three years ago. On a scale of darkness between 0 – 22, the River Murray Dark Sky Reserve at Swam Reach, measures in at a whopping 21.9!
Tourism has become a growing business. The reserve hosts numerous telescope pads and offers tours of the night sky. There’s hope that an observatory and/or planetarium may also arrive in due course.
Best smart lights for outdoors in 2023, Brittney Vincent of CBS Essentials.
Oh there’s a lot not to love here, but it does fall in line with last month’s ‘Lumens are Coming’ article.
For those of you who feel the need to light your trees, because for some reason they need light at night I guess…I’ll try and pretend it’s not solely for ostentatious and narcissistic reasons. By the way, does anyone remember when those were negative characteristics?
The article features spotlights that can be programmed to over 16 MILLION colors including…lucky for us, ALL shades of white….which you can also do for a 500 lumen flood light set.
And hey, Ring now has solar path lighting. Don’t worry though, the fixtures themselves put out up to 80 lumens of sideways light.
You know, it’s astounding when you look at some of these pictures. The amount of redundant lighting. It honestly makes no sense to me. You have a porch light, which lights up the path. Path lighting, which lights up the path. And, in the one picture, god awful frontward facing flood lights, which also light up the path. How bright do you need these paths!? I digress. But the lumens are indeed coming.
LDS Church will get to light up its Heber Valley Temple after all, but the faith didn’t get everything it wanted, Blake Apgar of the Salt Lake Tribune.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fought hard to rid itself of any nighttime lighting responsibility by pressuring Wasatch County, Utah officials to approve new lighting rules that would enable the church to light a proposed new temple the same way it does for every other temple.
The Church received permission to uplight the temple, enabling an exception to be made in Wasatch’s rather stringent nighttime lighting rulebook. However, the temple will be restricted by the level of lumens it can use, and it must have exterior lighting turned off an hour after sunset or an hour after normal business hours.
Smart Street Lights Market is Expected to Hit USD 14,751.1 million at a 23.4% CAGR by 2030, Market Research Future Press Release
The pandemic is officially over, smart street lighting is about to boom. Combine the rush to LED fixtures with the Internet of Things, and expect to see street lights moonlighting as traffic and parking monitors, air quality meters, and more. Not to mention, “it is anticipated that camera-connected smart street lighting will increase road safety by lowering the likelihood of accidents and criminality.”
Texas now has 7 dark sky communities for spectacular star gazing, Sana Ameer, MRT.
Let’s cheer on the city of Bee Cave, everyone! Bee Cave joins a growing list of dark sky places already in the Lone Star State, including 2 Dark Sky Sanctuaries, 5 Dark Sky Parks, and 1 Dark Sky Reserve. Nighttime is alive and well in some parts of Texas!
Our Afraid of the Dark article is a bit scary! Hilton Head’s dark roads and pedestrians are deadly combo. What the town is doing about it, Blake Douglas at The Island Packet.
Per the article, 9 pedestrian and cyclist fatalities occurred since 2018, with five occurring after dark. Prior to that period, there were 28 recorded deaths from 2000 – 2016, with 20 of them taking place after dark.
In 2018, an 11 year old resident was struck and killed while walking her dog across an intersection one night. Lighting advocates began taking shape in what otherwise is a very conservation focused island. Hilton Head, SC has a limited number of street lights, priding itself on “avoiding light pollution and blending nature with construction.”
Lighting advocates appear to be, at the very least, asking for flashing crosswalk lights on the island to indicate when an individual is crossing.
It should be noted that the article shows a chart of 9 after-dark-deaths since 2014, only two of them occurred at crosswalks. In fact, during the same time frame, 6 additional deaths occurred at crosswalks during the daytime.
As a whole, the National Safety Council reports that 74.5% of pedestrian deaths occurred at night, whereby 39.1% took place in lit areas and 35.38% took place in unlit areas.
Bryan Bloch, an auto safety expert, surmises that car companies bear some of the blame – producing cheap or ineffectual headlight fixtures, and drivers themselves, who don’t realize that they need to regularly clean their headlight lenses.
Despite opposition from residents, it appears that Hilton Head will be receiving lights at two new intersections and possibly more depending on engineering studies currently in progress.
Is lighting the key variable here? Is more light going to solve pedestrian deaths?
Our featured research article of the month comes to us from Animal Conservation, “Manipulating spectra of artificial light affects movement patterns of bats along ecological corridors.”
Bats are already known to have a wide range of responses to artificial light at night (also known as ALAN). Fast flying species tend to be more opportunistic in the presence of ALAN while slower ones tend to be more light averse. We know that “long wavelengths and reduced intensity” can minimize their environmental effects on bats. It’s not unheard of for bats to travel upwards of “tens of km per night.” Furthermore, bats are very dependent on the landscape and the structures within those landscapes.
Despite the nuances between species, the consensus is that ALAN, especially high intensity ALAN, negatively affects bats. This study attempted to answer what exactly bats do when they encounter ALAN – how do they react depending on different types of ALAN.
The study used three different light fixtures – one green, one red, and one white. The control was devoid of light fixtures. The researchers attempted to ascertain the behavior of bats as they encountered lights adjacent to woody areas. The researchers looked at three different bat groupings based on their foraging-echo location behavior, that being one of open field foraging, forest edge foraging, and narrow space – or more aptly forest foragers.
Researchers found that open and edge foraging bats increased their activity close to white and green lights, and to a lesser extent red lights. However, narrow space bats were more likely to veer away from all colors of lighting. Edge foragers were also less likely to cross a white light.
The positive effects of white and green light on open and edge foraging bats appear to be attributed to the accumulation of insects around light sources containing more blue light.
The nighttime sky over Oahu will be lit up with green lasers in the coming days. Here’s why. Hawaii News Now
Before we close up today, do you live in Hawaii? I know I wish I did!
If so, do you recall seeing green lasers streak across the night sky? Well, the Army Corps of Engineers was using lidar at night to complete a coastal mapping survey.
Why did they survey at night? Specifically, why did they do this between midnight to 5am? Simply b/c the airspace is so busy, that time was the only chance they had to complete the survey. The remaining survey was completed during daytime hours.
submitted by Expensive_Ad_5089 to lightpollutionnews [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 00:01 heynoswearing Heres some PrEvoker Macros I find useful. Please share more with me!

Thought I would share the macros I use on my Preservation evoker. Some of these are really useful, some of these are just me trying to have the most streamlined, efficient, minimalist action bar setup. Some are just silly but I thought they were interesting, so I hope you might too. None of these are going to make you an epic 3000io player on their own but I do find that lessening cognitive load can really help during the M+ grind.
I would love if people shared any macros or ideas or improvements! I could spend hours making silly little buttons.
Here is a picture of my UI and keybinds if you want to have a look what my screen/setup looks like. I put as much keybound stuff on a hidden bar at the bottom (like Living Flame and Hover). I also use Opie! The best add-on ever.
Casts "Azure Strike" on your mouseover target without modifiers, "Quell" with Shift modifier, and "Sleep Walk" with Ctrl modifier on mouseover targets. Good bind on my mouse button for easy spam.
#showtooltip /cast [nomod,@mouseover] Azure Strike; [mod:shift,@mouseover] Quell; [mod:ctrl,@mouseover] Sleep Walk 
Deep Breath/Fire Breath
Description: Simple shift modifier to put Fire Breath and Deep Breath on the same button. If you use Deep Breath it casts it immediately at your cursor position. You could create a WeakAura to show you when Deep Breath is almost off cooldown, or just check by pressing shift.
#showtooltip /cast [mod:shift, @cursor] Deep Breath; Fire Breath 
Emerald Communion Helper
Cancels "Emerald Communion" if active and casts "Emerald Communion" if not active. This means if you Communion and get locked in place, then a swirlie appears beneath you, you click it again to be able to run away. Lifesaver.
#showtooltip /cancelaura Emerald Communion /cast Emerald Communion 
Fury of the Aspects/Visage
Casts Lust with left-click in combat and Visage with right-click out of combat. Stops you casting Lust out of combat, just in case, though this means I sometimes have to throw an Azure Strike on the mobs before I can lust.
#showtooltip Fury of the Aspects /cast [combat, btn:1] Fury of the Aspects; [btn:2] Visage /cast [nocombat] Visage 
Sneaky HoveSoar
This ones fun. It uses Hover in combat. Out of combat, it will first try to put you into Visage form first, otherwise cast Hover. This is a stupid workaround for the fact that Evokers always get put in dragon form which means you’ll spend much more time in your Visage form! In combat it will just Hover, so you don’t have to worry about it messing with encounters. It also uses the Highborne Soul Mirror which leaves a translucent copy behind you which can be useful in PvP. While holding shift it casts Soar, to save you a bar slot.
#showtooltip [mod:shift] Soar;Hover /stopcasting /cast [combat] Hover /cast [nocombat, mod:shift] Soar /use Highborne Soul Mirror /script UIErrorsFrame:Clear() /stopmacro [combat] /castsequence reset=nocombat Hover, Visage 
Mass Return Alert
Sends a message to your party or raid when you Mass Rez. Doesn’t work in combat which prevents you spamming the message when you’re waiting for the last mob to die. I dont use normal Rez anymore, even though I know it would save me 1s of cast time. You could do a simple shift modifier if you wanted that option.
#showtooltip Mass Return /cast Mass Return /stopmacro [combat] /script if IsInRaid() then SendChatMessage("Casting Mass Return. Don’t release!", "RAID") elseif IsInGroup() then SendChatMessage("Casting Mass Return. Don’t release!", "PARTY") end 
Damage Reduce/Self Healing
An all-round damage reduction button. Left-click uses Obsidian Scales, right click uses a Healthstone, shift-left-click uses a Refreshing Healing Potion. You could put Renewing Blaze in this macro on a shift-right-click, but I prefer giving it its own button so I can easily see the CD.
#showtooltip [mod:shift] Refreshing Healing Potion; [btn:2] Healthstone; Obsidian Scales /cast [mod:shift] Refreshing Healing Potion /cast [btn:2] Healthstone /cast [nomod,btn:1] Obsidian Scales 
Rescue/Oppressing Roar
Description: Casts "Rescue" if known at the cursor location, or "Oppressing Roar" if known. I swap between a Rescue build in raids and a Roar build in M+. This just means the button changes automatically when I swap specs.
The Rescue function is a must - you click an Ally then Rescue to your cursor point. Big timesaver when every second counts.
#showtooltip /cast [known:Rescue,@cursor] Rescue;[known:Oppressing Roar] Oppressing Roar 
Rewind/Favourite Pet
The most important macro on this list. Prevents you casting Rewind when out of combat (I have a real problem of blowing my cooldowns because of twitchy fingers. When you right click it out of combat it summons a Random Favourite Pet :3
#showtooltip /cast [nomod,combat] Rewind /rfp [nocombat, btn:2] 
Time Dilation/Landslide
A space saver. Casts Time Dilation on my mouseover, or Landslide at my cursor point when I shift-click the button.
#showtooltip [mod:shift] Landslide;Time Dilation /cast [nomod,combat, @mouseover] Time Dilation /cast [mod:shift,@cursor,known] Landslide 
Dream Breath & Trinket
Description: Simple trinket to auto-use a trinket with my Dream Breath whenever its off cooldown for a little burst. This is unsuitable if your trinket requires more specific timing.
#showtooltip /cast Dream Breath /use 13 
Use Trinket or Follow
Uses your 2nd trinket on your mouseover target when in combat. I also made it so that out of combat, pressing that button follows my mouseover target (if I can), which has felt surprisingly good to have on an easy keybind.
#showtooltip 14 /use [combat, @mouseover] 14 /script if not UnitAffectingCombat("player") then FollowUnit("mouseover") end 
Eat & Drink
Simple space saving WateFood macro. Replace the names with your specific items (which could be Conjured Mana Buns). Uses food on left button click, water on right button click.
#showtooltip [mod:shift] Cup o' Wakeup;Thrice-Spiced Mammoth Kabob /use [btn:2] Cup o' Wakeup; Thrice-Spiced Mammoth Kabob 
Mana Potion/Invis Potion
General space saver and a reminder to always carry Invisibility Pots.
#showtooltip /use [nomod] Aerated Mana Potion /use [mod:shift] Potion of the Hushed Zephyr 
Renewing Blaze or LFG
Just putting this here as inspiration for other space-saving/efficiency macros. In combat it uses Renewing Blaze, out of combat it opens up the Group Finder (straight to premade groups!). Could free up a button for someone.
#showtooltip Renewing Blaze /cast [combat] Renewing Blaze /script if not UnitAffectingCombat("player") then PVEFrame_ShowFrame("GroupFinderFrame", LFGListPVEStub) end 
Bonus Macros:
Crest & Chest Cleaner
When I click this it attempts to combine Crest Fragments or open the most common type of treasure its (Weekly quest box, Professional skill-up items, etc) so I don’t have to go digging through my bag. This is just a random list of the items I use it for, but its here as inspiration if you want to make your own. Currently it shows me how many Aspects Crests i have on the button.
#showtooltip /use item:204078 /use item:204077 /use item:204075 /use item:204076 /use item:200454 /use item:198964 /use item:200677 /use item:205226 /use item:198608 /use item:205247 /use item:205423 /use item:199115 
Quick Fire
When you use your cooking fire it sets it at your feet, instead of requiring a second click. The game is literally unplayable without this.
#showtooltip Cooking Fire /cast [@player] Cooking Fire 
Just put this button your Dragonriding Action Bar for an easy dismount. Used to ease my anxiety when doing Nokhud.
submitted by heynoswearing to wow [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 23:04 unusual_username14 Would I be able to bend thin steel (0.1mm thick) with this kitchen torch?

Would I be able to bend thin steel (0.1mm thick) with this kitchen torch? submitted by unusual_username14 to Machinists [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 22:42 Eastern-Sector-6104 Trigger warning. Ocd and blackout

I had a similar fear on two different occassions I’ll label Episode B (2023) and Episode A(2021). The difference is Episode B I was completly blacked out alone for hours and hours whereas Episode A I was alone for like an hour an 30 minutes I asked my ex to come over and it took him an hour to get there and we were on the phone 70% of the time . Episode B Nov 2023: Severe fear that I molested my dog while blackout drunk since I live alone. Anyone had any similar alcohol blackout fears? I Have not drank since but when I drink I hit on people and get very sexual (beer google eyes and just nothing wrong with sexuality) but when I drink it comes out in ways and with people I don’t want it too and I don’t feel self aware I’m just acting out on alcohol and lower inhibitions. My point is since I have pure ocd intrusive thoughts of sexual intrusive thought with people,dog,family etc. almost daily basis. I have severe trauma/fear that what if I got home alone and like molested my dog or something. I was at bar hiting on a guy that when I saw selfie I took next day I would not have flirted with this guy in a million years (0% my type) and in the next bar and in Uber I was coming on to my best female friend. I’m a female and I would have ever hit on my friend in the 5 years we have been friends, she’s like my sister so because I was so drunk I was coming on to her heavy/begging almost as per what she said. She was upset about it but forgave me. However, I no longer drink with her or at all anymore after we left the bar (I went to three bars in the span of 5-6 hours and had prb 4-7+ drinks which were mojitos at first and then I blacked out so don’t remember). When I was dropped in lobby I was inside but accidently got out and locked myself out of lobby door for about an hour, I could stand and walk (though I would rock a little back and forth) and I was disoriented to some degree because there was a man entering lobby and he let me in lobby and got inside elevator with him, he got out on his floor 7th and I pressed 10th floor (I live on 11th) then got out on 10th took off shoes realized I was not in my floor. Went back to elevator press end lobby and then 10th floor. Then door open again then I saw myself trying to press 11th floor and eventually I got home to my floor (without shoes, I left in other floor and left purse/cellphone in lobby) my apt door was unlocked (due to the lock being broken) and was kinda lost I live in 11th floor and took me 2 minutes to get home since I got off wrong floor and pressed wrong button twice until I pressed 11th floor (I only know if this bc I saw security camera footage because I asked since I blacked out) and wanted to know how I got home. Once I got home I don’t know what happen other than I believe I showered and I found a tv remote control and and wet towel on bathroom floor and dog bone in shower and that I woke up naked in bed covering myself in a bedsheet and that i had left my dog locked in the bathroom (I believe with light on). As someone with ocd you can see how this has wreck havoc in my mind and uncertainty. I have no memories of anything, my fear is what if I had an intrusive thought and acted on it with dog or what if I was in a sexual state of mind still and acted with my dog. There was also a knife in my bathroom but I don’t know if it was there earlier from dying my hair or if I grabbed it in a drunken emotional state of mind ( episode A: 2021 I have grabbed a knife on another occasion a year ago once on the phone drunk with my ex bc I thought I had done something wrong to my dog an intrusive fear so I took that fear as what if something happen while intoxicated though I was only home alone for 30 minutes also I was fueled with sadness over our breakup so it was a bad mix ) my ex came over and that’s i) so I don’t know if I’m Episode B the most recent my subconscious mind grabbed the knife since I was alone and prb had fear or if the knife was already there from drying hair earlier to open a hair box bottle not sure. Long story short, it’s been 6 months since Episode B the thing about episode B I don’t remember anything/my train of thoughts nothing. However since Episode B occurred I have stopped drinking and planning on never drinking again but the uncertainty and what if and fear haunts me and I don’t know how to deal with the fear and uncertainty. I’m sorry if this is confusing to read. If you have any questions let me know. I wanted to share but also try to see if anyone has ever had a similar fear. It has been 6 months since this event and I have not drank since but needed to vent bc I’m starting to think about it more these past few days. It’s always been a thorn like something that bothers me most days I try not to think of that fear but these past two days I started to ruminate.
submitted by Eastern-Sector-6104 to PureOCD [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 22:39 Eastern-Sector-6104 Trigger warning. Ocd/pure ocd/blackout drunk

I had a similar fear on two different occassions I’ll label Episode B (2023) and Episode A(2021). The difference is Episode B I was completly blacked out alone for hours and hours whereas Episode A I was alone for like an hour an 30 minutes I asked my ex to come over and it took him an hour to get there and we were on the phone 70% of the time . Episode B Nov 2023: Severe fear that I molested my dog while blackout drunk since I live alone. Anyone had any similar alcohol blackout fears? I Have not drank since but when I drink I hit on people and get very sexual (beer google eyes and just nothing wrong with sexuality) but when I drink it comes out in ways and with people I don’t want it too and I don’t feel self aware I’m just acting out on alcohol and lower inhibitions. My point is since I have pure ocd intrusive thoughts of sexual intrusive thought with people,dog,family etc. almost daily basis. I have severe trauma/fear that what if I got home alone and like molested my dog or something. I was at bar hiting on a guy that when I saw selfie I took next day I would not have flirted with this guy in a million years (0% my type) and in the next bar and in Uber I was coming on to my best female friend. I’m a female and I would have ever hit on my friend in the 5 years we have been friends, she’s like my sister so because I was so drunk I was coming on to her heavy/begging almost as per what she said. She was upset about it but forgave me. However, I no longer drink with her or at all anymore after we left the bar (I went to three bars in the span of 5-6 hours and had prb 4-7+ drinks which were mojitos at first and then I blacked out so don’t remember). When I was dropped in lobby I was inside but accidently got out and locked myself out of lobby door for about an hour, I could stand and walk (though I would rock a little back and forth) and I was disoriented to some degree because there was a man entering lobby and he let me in lobby and got inside elevator with him, he got out on his floor 7th and I pressed 10th floor (I live on 11th) then got out on 10th took off shoes realized I was not in my floor. Went back to elevator press end lobby and then 10th floor. Then door open again then I saw myself trying to press 11th floor and eventually I got home to my floor (without shoes, I left in other floor and left purse/cellphone in lobby) my apt door was unlocked (due to the lock being broken) and was kinda lost I live in 11th floor and took me 2 minutes to get home since I got off wrong floor and pressed wrong button twice until I pressed 11th floor (I only know if this bc I saw security camera footage because I asked since I blacked out) and wanted to know how I got home. Once I got home I don’t know what happen other than I believe I showered and I found a tv remote control and and wet towel on bathroom floor and dog bone in shower and that I woke up naked in bed covering myself in a bedsheet and that i had left my dog locked in the bathroom (I believe with light on). As someone with ocd you can see how this has wreck havoc in my mind and uncertainty. I have no memories of anything, my fear is what if I had an intrusive thought and acted on it with dog or what if I was in a sexual state of mind still and acted with my dog. There was also a knife in my bathroom but I don’t know if it was there earlier from dying my hair or if I grabbed it in a drunken emotional state of mind ( episode A: 2021 I have grabbed a knife on another occasion a year ago once on the phone drunk with my ex bc I thought I had done something wrong to my dog an intrusive fear so I took that fear as what if something happen while intoxicated though I was only home alone for 30 minutes also I was fueled with sadness over our breakup so it was a bad mix ) my ex came over and that’s i) so I don’t know if I’m Episode B the most recent my subconscious mind grabbed the knife since I was alone and prb had fear or if the knife was already there from drying hair earlier to open a hair box bottle not sure. Long story short, it’s been 6 months since Episode B the thing about episode B I don’t remember anything/my train of thoughts nothing. However since Episode B occurred I have stopped drinking and planning on never drinking again but the uncertainty and what if and fear haunts me and I don’t know how to deal with the fear and uncertainty. I’m sorry if this is confusing to read. If you have any questions let me know. I wanted to share but also try to see if anyone has ever had a similar fear. It has been 6 months since this event and I have not drank since but needed to vent bc I’m starting to think about it more these past few days. It’s always been a thorn like something that bothers me most days I try not to think of that fear but these past two days I started to ruminate.
submitted by Eastern-Sector-6104 to OCD [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 22:19 MissionSuccess Things I've learned after 1yr in as a FTHB and DIYer

Buying a home in this market is stressful as all hell, and I feel for you all. Prices and availability may have you considering homes with critical flaws or in conditions you never thought you'd be willing to accept. I want to share our experience from a doozy of an inspection to the approaches we took to cut costs and make a fixer upper doable for us.
A heads up, this post is DIY heavy. I realize that's not for everyone. This is for those who are in that mindset, or are on the fence about DIY or learning how to research and manage trades quotes.
My wife and I purchased our first home in Denver at the height of the market in June 2022. Interest rates were much better than, but the prices were still very high.
We found an almost unmolested/untouched 1969 3br 3ba two-story time capsule with a full height unfinished basement in a nice part of town. It had a lot of deferred maintenance. Let's start with the inspection, which we absolutely refused to waive. DO NOT WAIVE THE INSPECTION. Knowledge gained via inspection later saved us $30k at the negotiating table.
Inspection Report - Major Items:
  • Significant street facing foundation wall crack. Two structural engineer assessments point to soil expansion pushing the wall in, slipping house on mud sill on that wall only. We're told it's due to poor front yard grading in the first 10-15ft causing water to pool.
  • Flat roof has seams + cracks and is due to be replaced.
  • 18 somewhat leaky, poor-condition original aluminum single-pane windows.
  • Potentially dangerous electrical panel, using known bad manufacturer from the 60s
  • Failing valves for old water softening system; complex old piping to split house between two systems.
  • 27 y/o AC condenser unit.
That was a lot barrel to stare down, but we had already done a lot of research in ways of mitigating, repairing, and spreading out these or similar issues to reduce risk and up front cost across our 6 months of shopping and putting in offers. We gave ourselves two weeks in our offer to go/no-go, to give us time to do the legwork needed to move forward, back out, or negotiate.
So we put in our offer, and quickly learn we're the only non-flippers, non-corporate buyers. The previous owners are sentimental, and so that wins us the house. After almost 20 offers, we finally have our house. The rush subsides quickly with a ton of work ahead of us.

Quotes and Fixes

Foundation fix

3 quotes, 2 structural assessments for $300 ea, 3 different approaches. We could anchor and epoxy for $12k or $15k (two companies), demo and repour for some astronomical number like $50K+ (contractor), or based on a tip I found...reinforce, epoxy, and regrade for $4.5k if we DIYed the reinforcement via a wall brace kit. After talking with the engineer at Gorilla Wall Braces, and our structural engineer, our condition was a good fit for the system and we went that direction.
Final cost was $2.6K for the kit + spec steel beams + DIY install, and what we were told might be a grade issue turned out to be a sprinkler head leak next to the foundation causing countless gallons of water to pour down it each grass watering. Once that was fixed, the area dried right up. We had it assessed and were given the clear. We later had it regraded for $700 as part of some landscape work for peace of mind.
Scary wide range, but fixed a major flaw in the report for a fraction of the price.

Old AC Unit

Stopped working within the first month of ownership during the peak of summer, in 90 deg temps. 3 quotes, Home Depot, some local HVAC company, and a guy in a truck on Thumbtack. $15k for the first for a whole new central system, $36k from the local outfit for a whole house ductless setup, and the final guy was $300 to replace the damaged capacitor and get us back up and running.
You gotta realize part of the stress here is that each outfit will sell you hard that you "absolutely want their option and no other will do, because of XYZ" and make you feel like an idiot for considering anything else. They'll use hard sell tactics to get you to sign on that line today. It can be tempting to pull the trigger for a now-fix, and they'll give you all sorts of bullshit offers and reasons to do so, but it'll eat your reno budget or trap you in finance payments for years. For every issue we had, it took really digging to find other options, but they almost always presented themselves.
Final cost was $300. Guy said it'd probably be fine for another 5 years, and had no leaks. AC worked great for the whole summer, and started up fine this year. It's less efficient, but does the job for now. Later, I'll probably install a Mr. Cool DIY ductless setup for $5-6k when we're ready to modernize, or if/when ours blows.

Leaking Roof

The flat roof started leaking almost immediately when the next couple huge rainstorms hit. At first it was a little, then a lot. That lit a fire on this one. Two quotes. $6k for a local company to patch all potential areas and guarantee the leak would be fixed, or $20k+ to scrape and reroof with TPO.
Final cost was $1.6k We ended up DIYing a Henry's silicone roof coating product for $1.6k that not only sealed it extremely well, but cut our AC bill in half due to the reflective surface. Our roof does have 3 layers on it, so this might just buy us time, but after chatting with a few folks in the field, it might get us 10+ years.

Sprinkler Valve Leaks, Line Cracks

Our first water bill revealed that we had a massive sprinkler leak, that was causing water to pool against the foundation (causing the soil expansion/foundation cracking). It was pooling under the decorative stone, so wasn't especially obvious at first. I didn't even bother quoting this one. With all the easy press-to-fit fittings at the box store, all it takes is a shovel, some fittings, and 3/4" line pipe to do most of your line repairs. $400 later everything was fixed across the yard with all new valves.

Sketchy old plumbing

The previous owners had installed a water softening system in the 80s that piped half the house on soft water, and half not. It was a mess, and every valve was questionable, including the water main. This was more peace of mind, but I opened a permit, bought the $500 PEX-A expansion gun, and replumbed the whole house with PEX to code over the summer while we had walls exposed. Total cost including the tool was less than $2k.

Leaky Windows

Call it ambition or stupidity, after a $30k quote for shitty Champion PVC double-pane double-hung windows, I hunted down a Chinese vendor on Alibaba to build us custom replacement triple-pane low-e nuts-o-quality premium casement + tilt-n-turn aluminum windows for $13k shipped to our door. They are the Bently of windows, in all but brand name. They arrived in 3-months and I was able to DIY all the 1st story windows in before fall hit. What a massive difference in quality of life they made. I might have to hire out a couple of the big 2nd story ones this summer, but even so I'll be so much better off.

Aluminum Wiring + Electrical

This one hurt, but ended up being the the single biggest improvement to the house. We learned that not only was our panel a potential fire hazard, and that the house was on old 150A service, but that most of our wiring was sketchy aluminum Vietnam era stuff that really should be mitigated or replaced. 3 quotes, all within $1k of each other. We bit the bullet. Top tier local company rewired the whole house, plus 200A panel, plus EV charger, couple sub panels, basement lighting, garage shop lighting, whole house LED lighting + switches + outlets, heated bathroom fans, really the works for $27K. Took them 4 months. Not a single old electrical cable, outlet, or switch remains. By the time it was done they told me they should have charged twice that. Feels like a new house.
Wrapping this up. These could have easily drained our reno budget and more had we gone with the first quote, or done everything by a pro company instead of DIY, or a guy in a truck / Thumbtack approach. It takes a lot more legwork, research, physical work, and usually involves taking on more risk, but I wanted to share that sometimes scary inspections aren't always costly ones. Learn what your issue is and the approaches people take to solve it, ranging from the cheap temp fix, to the best permanent one and really weigh your options. Do your homework before AND after getting quotes; be prepared to ask the right questions and be schooled to spot bullshit sales tactics and upselling, and resist and/or evaluate scope creep.
I should have added that pulling a bunch of quotes during that negotiation window gave us the leverage to negotiate the cost of our home down $30k. So while we still had to dish out for our fixes/upgrades up front, that effort was well worth it.
I also strongly advocate for FTHBs to be willing to pick up some DIY skills. I had few of these skills before owning a home. I was somewhat decent at general handyman work and picked up some trades skills from volunteering at Habitat for Humanity. With trades costs skyrocketing, the job market flimsy, and general financial uncertainty, Millennials and GenZ can't afford to throw money at the problem like many of our parents often did. Digging into Youtube and Thumbtack can stretch your budget far beyond where you'd get otherwise, and can make home ownership tenable for those who otherwise might be stretching to maintain a house.
For those considering DIY, or are hesitant, I empathize that it can be scary or daunting to take on some of this stuff at first. Just start small and work your way up. Watch videos, read stuff, double check your work. Start with projects that have lower risk to your home or yourself, where you're just risking the price of a pro to redo it right, then move up as you build confidence. Hardware stores and Youtube tuts make this stuff extremely approachable.
submitted by MissionSuccess to FirstTimeHomeBuyer [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 21:56 nation543 r/witchcraft and Calls To Arms Sub Blackout

Movements and ideas are important, for civilization, and it's important to take part in movements that matter.
There's an upcoming "event" that many subreddits are taking place in because of Reddit's decision to stop or limit third party apps, or something along those lines. I don't know, I haven't looked into it. Because I don't care.
Blacking out this subreddit, for any reason, only impedes YOUR life. There are 373,000 people subscribed to this subreddit, and if I blacked it out then I'd be harming you. I will not harm this subreddit, and any good faith subscribers who are here in earnest, for whatever reason.
I may not be a python master, but I do know how to code Automod to do what I need, and the Crowd Control works wonders. Reddit gives us some great tools to moderate, and we catch pretty much all bad faith actors; whenever we've seen patterns of bots or scammers, I update Automod in some way - and the latest updates for the Known Scammers has worked wonders. I'm not aware of any of those scams hitting our board directly.
FYI, if you get hit with a DM from a scammer, simply report it as Spam > Harmful Bots. Reddit will take action within minutes.
I know and understand that people are creating third party apps to make money, which is great --- but this "issue" and "movement" impacts witchcraft in no way, and it impacts exactly zero of the moderators on this team, in any way.
This "issue" impacts your daily life in no way, unless you exclusively use third party apps. There's nothing wrong with that - everybody has their freewill - but I feel as though this is a petty and menial issue that solves nothing for the good of mankind. I view this as a group of kids who don't like that the grown ups decided to take out the monkey bars from the playground, after thirty kids broke an arm.
tl;dr No. witchcraft will not be blacking out the subreddit just so that people who know how to program can keep grifting information and money off of people via THEIR app, when the FREE native app works just fine.
Edit: Post is locked because a couple of bad faith actors are concerned about something that doesn't impact this subreddit (it doesn't. flat out, it doesn't. witchcraft will always be here as long as Reddit is here; you being able to access it on your device is beyond my capability). What strikes me is that some people are upset that I won't stop 373,000 other people from being able to access this subreddit just because you feel strongly about something that doesn't impact you or this subreddit.
You want me to hurt other people because of how you feel about a private company's decisions that you don't pay money to.
Think about that.
submitted by nation543 to witchcraft [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 21:56 Commercial-You-3153 Possible way to allow bigger expansion cards

I'm trying to get traction for my idea for modifying the framework laptop to allow for bigger expansion cards. One of the things that have annoyed the sh*t out of me is the expansion cards being slightly too small to be able to fit dual functions (dual USB-A, USB-A+C or even dual USB-C). And judging from the namouras threads asking for dual ports, I’m not the only one bothered by this. This is something I could live with if it was a technical issue but it bugs me even more by the fact that it it a mechanical/physical issue.
So I've been thinking of a new approach that instead of trying to shrink things to expansion card sizes why not enlarge them?
I got some good close up pics of the expansion bay area and feel that my idea of just removing the space between the expansion cards might not be as crazy as I might seem. Of course you'll have to be a little bit craze to take a dremel to your newly bought laptop in an effort to "improve it" but hey a gotta be a little bit crazy to not have these intrusive thoughts.
Looks like we could get a good 10mm of extra space by removing the middle piece
It looks like the main component occupying the space in-between the expansion slots are mainly there for the mechanics for locking and a light guide (and both sides looks to be identical).
piece of the hardware to remove to allow for more space for the expansion cards
Now putting the locking mechanics aside, my suggestion would be to have the in-between part (marked in red above) as a separate detachable rail guide that you can just fixate by the top screw. This would allow the laptop to be compatible with single slot expansion cards or be removed for compatible with a dual slot expansion card.
suggestions of how expansion cards could be enlarged
To think about it we don't even need to have a dual slot expansion card but could maybe even have a combo of a single slot expansion card and one slightly oversized expansion card.
Now for addressing the mechanical locking issue I put I aside earlier, securing of the expansion cards could be solved by utilizing the expansion bay cover (see pic) and have rails on the underside of it.
expansion bay cover
Rails under the expansion bay cover to allow for extended cards to slide in and attach
The oversized expansion card could then have rails on the top to allow it to be secured into the laptop. I do believe the overall mechanical fixture of the expansion cards would be slightly less rigid than the current solution but don’t really think this would be a problem as I’m not worried they will be asserted to too much force during normal everyday use.

Of course I don't expect Framework to start tossing out expansion cards in different sizes as that wouldn't make financial sense but I do see a huge potential for the DIY community if this can be done. Imagine the potential when you now have more than twice the size for an expansion card... bigger snack box, bigger post it notes holder, an actual bottle opener, full sized SD card reader, USB-C to DC37 port... all those "silly" ideas could now be a reality.

I would really like to hear some thoughts about this and how feasible it is. I’m really close to getting a framework laptop myself as I feel that my old laptop is about to give up on me and having this work would be a major boost in the usefulness in my opinion.
submitted by Commercial-You-3153 to framework [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 21:48 geraldm8 [WTS] Spyderco Para3 Seconds, ZT0230, Pena X-Series Zulu, CRK Small Sebenza 21, Tactile Rockwall, Zach Wood Pen Prybar

Prices are in USD and includes shipping to US and Canada
Payment by Paypal G&S
Not looking for trades at this time.
Timestamp and Pics
Spyderco Para3 Maxamet Factory Seconds - $160
Like new from a show, carried for a couple days but never used. Blade has a little notch by the jimping indicating it's factory seconds. Blade drops when the lock is disengaged. Action is buttery smooth. Lockup is rock solid at 30%.
Zero Tolerance 0230 - $130
Like new. Carried a few times, never used to cut anything. Action is buttery smooth. "Lockup" is solid with no blade play. Comes with box and papers.
Pena X-Series Zulu Marble CF - $325
Carried and used a few times. Always kept in a sheath. Sharpened to a mirror edge matching the factory angle at 22 DPS on my KME. Buttery smooth action, has been disassembled and lubed with Nano-Oil. Lockup is solid at 30% with no blade play. Comes in a x-series trapper box which is how I received it.
Chris Reeve Knives Small Sebenza 21 - $325
This sebenza was an EDC user. I sharpened it to 21 DPS on my KME years ago, but have maintained it using a Spyderco Double stuff and a strop. The action is very smooth, and well broken in. Lock up is around 50% with no blade play. Only comes with COA.
Tactile Knife Co. Rockwall Thumbstud Magnacut - $210sold
Catch and release. Edge has been touched up and stropped. Very nice action. Blade drops free when the lock is disengaged. Lockup is 30% with no blade play. Comes with COA and box.
JDR Knife and Tool Titanium Makemake - $70
Brand new from maker. Approx 2.5" long, weighs 18g.
Zach Wood A2 Pen Pocket Prybar - $150
Carried and used, it has some wear on the finish near the tip. 4.375" long, weighs 36g.
submitted by geraldm8 to Knife_Swap [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 21:13 Formal-Shallot-595 WWDC 2023 Summary: Quick and Dirty

iOS 17
Phone app
Airdrop Updates
Keyboard and Dictation
New experiences
iPad OS 17
Audio and Home
Apple Music & CarPlay
TV OS & Apple TV
Watch Health Updates
Never isolated from people
For Work
At home
Disney on VisionPro
3D Vision Scanning
Privacy and Security
Early next year – $3499
submitted by Formal-Shallot-595 to mkbhd [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 21:07 Techshu2022 How to optimize images for SEO

Images play an important role to boost a website's appearance and organic traffic. Relevant and High-quality images make website content more attractive, engaging, and visually appealing and also contribute to improved SEO performance.
Professional SEO services help to drive non-paid traffic, improve user experience and ensure easy navigation by offering priceless SEO consultation. As an organization initially, we were very confused about how to take full advantage of image optimization to resonate with our SEO strategy, TechShu (a Top-notch digital marketing agency providing SEO services in Kolkata) decreased our anxiety level and gave us a proper plan on how can we be successful with our SEO quest.
In this article, We will point out the essential things which you need to focus on when you are uploading images to your website:
  1. Image Selection: Make sure the images you are using for your blog post are related to the content, as it may confuse the reader if an unrelated image gets uploaded. The image should have high resolution, correct aspect ratio and size should be suited for all devices. And the most important thing make sure you are not using copyrighted images, To be on the safer side take your own images and create your own charts graphs and visual designs to save yourself from monetary damage. Free Image Platforms:- -- Google Images: Well, you just need to search for the image on the Google search bar, then select the images section and then go to the usage rights drop-down menu. Here you will find two options Creative common licenses and Commercial and other licences. You need to choose images under creative common licenses where you will have to give credit and provide a link to the original uploader. Don’t go for images under commercial licenses as they are not free. -- Other than Google you can also try Unsplash, Flickr, Pixabay, Pexels etc. All images are copyright free but you will need to give credit to the photographer.
  2. Size of the image: Keep an eye on the size of the image, as if you are uploading heavy images your page shall take more time to load, which can affect your rankings on search engine result pages. You use various image resize tools available over the internet.
  3. Name your image: In WordPress, the image name automatically becomes the title. Giving a name to your image also helps you to find it out later on from your WordPress media section.
  4. Alternative Text or Alt-text: Always remember Google cannot see your images but it can read them. Therefore whatever you write in the alt-text section make sure it resonates with the image or explains what the image is all about. Alt-text is also used by screen-readers to help people with visual impairments.
  5. Description and caption: You will find descriptions and captions around the Alt-text section in WordPress, Although there is a very negligible contribution from the description and caption boxes to your SEO strategy but it provides the much-needed depth and dimension to your blog.
  6. Image restoration: Imagine you took some wonderful photos by yourself or with the help of your photographer, Or you designed info-graphics on “canva” and through other Photoshop tools to provide your blog with a distinct look. And those images are getting used by some other bloggers or video creators without giving credit and links to you or your website.This will surely snatch the uniqueness of your website and blog. So, what you can do now to stop this? Simple! Go to image raider and add your images and infographics to the catalogue, Now next time anyone uploads your digital property an alert will be sent to you and you can check if proper credit has been given or not.
In the end, understand that you can create a brilliant blog by focusing on joining the various essential elements in which image optimization also exists. Accurately optimized images with proper file sizes and alt text can ensure faster website loading, accessibility, increased visibility and attracting more visitors to your website.
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Honestly, TechShu SEO services have helped us a lot to achieve what we desired, The team has 10+ years of experience and provides 360-degree B2C and B2B Digital Marketing Services which include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC), Content and Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing & Creative and Apps. So, If you want to know more please write to them at:
submitted by Techshu2022 to u/Techshu2022 [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 20:44 CIAHerpes My father always kept the shed locked. Today, I found out why (part 3)

Part 1: Part 2:
The Undergraves were as close to literal Hell as I could imagine. In fact, we only survived because of a twist of fate and a sad, lonely mutant.
There were creatures everywhere, and most of them were horrible things to behold. More of the strange pig-men with long knives had come out of the surrounding rooms. They always had human bodies hung up and butchered, drying meat stretched out on hooks all around the room. Hell, if Gil and I had no problem with cannibalism, we could eat for years in this place.
I had shot at least a dozen of the pig-men, trying to conserve my ammo by using only a single headshot where possible, and Gil had decapitated probably a dozen more. Some of them we just ran away from, especially if there were large groups. But it felt like we were going further into the fire rather than escaping from it.
There were windows now, endless windows along the sides of the rooms, and they showed a world in flames. I saw people with missing limbs huddled around barrel fires in bombed-out cities, husks of tanks scattered across the street and bodies hanging from the lampposts. I began to see where the meat to feed all these creatures was coming from. Gil and I found a room with a pyramid of clothes, shoes and glasses that stretched to the top of the room.
“Brother,” Gil said, “this place makes me sick.” I sighed, sitting down on a pile of clothes and opening some beef jerky and a candy bar. I checked my ammo supplies, and realized I was down to my last magazine.
“I can’t wait to get out of this fucking place,” I said. “The smell of so many dead bodies must have seeped into my clothes by now.” Then I heard a soft rustling from behind me. I turned my body, pulling up the gun and pointing it. A strange man stood there with his hands up.
He reminded me of pictures I had seen of the Elephantman. Tumors and scarred, rounded growths stuck out all over his head. His forehead sloped radically to the left, and one of his eyes was slanted, the folds of skin around it hanging loosely above and beneath it. He had on an old military uniform, one I assumed he scrounged from some dead body. My finger tightened on the trigger for a moment, then I relaxed. He had no visible weapons.
“Please…” he said. “Can I get a chocolate bar?” I laughed, breaking the tension and handing him an Eisenheart. It was, apparently, a brand he knew and loved, for he ripped it open and ate it, smiling and bowing. I gave him a soda too. His face brightened like a child’s. “Thank you, thank you! Nice men, very nice.”
“What’s your name, friend?” Gil said slowly, still holding his bowie knife tightly. I still had my finger on the trigger as well, but I had a feeling we wouldn’t need weapons for this guy.
“Frankie,” he said. His smile was so wide now that it showed all three of his remaining teeth. “I’m a friend?”
“Sure,” I said. “Why not? Frankie, my name is Luke, and this is Gil. We’re good guys. We’re… not from here. In fact, we are trying to get out. Do you know how to get out of here?” Frankie paused for a long moment, as if that many sentences at once had overloaded his brain’s processing power. His face took on a slack, vacant look. Then he brightened and nodded.
“You can go to Rusty Township right out there,” he said excitedly, pointing out the window to where a woman’s body was being picked apart by angry, squawking birds. I shook my head, smiling.
“While that seems like a real nice place,” I said, “I’m actually looking for another where. We came down here on the circular stone stairs. Some… uh, real nice people told us that those stairs could be found over here in the Undergraves, if you follow that strange hallway covered in muscle and skin straight.” Those “real nice people” had also been cheering and clapping as they shoved one another in an iron maiden and let the blood soak into the floors, I remembered. Frankie laughed, a genuine, happy sound that felt strange in this place.
“No, friend,” he said, wiping a tear from his eye, “if you go straight into the Undergraves, you come to the Pit of the Skull. There’s thousands of angry demons in there. They’d eat you.” He continued laughing. “I think your other friends played a joke on you.” I swore, my face darkening. Gil looked like he was about to be sick.
“Never trust a woman with scurvy blossoms on her face,” Gil muttered. “I should have known.”
“So we would have died if we followed their directions?” I asked. Frankie nodded. I wanted to go back to where I had seen them and use the last of my magazine on those sick weirdos, but I tried to focus on my breathing and calm down.
“Jesus man, it’s a good thing we found you,” Gil said, reaching into his pocket with his unmutilated hand. “You want another chocolate bar?”
From what we learned from Frankie, who tended to stare off into space and drift off topic but seemed otherwise all there, the people who sacrificed each other to the iron maiden or, as they called it, the steel mistress, were all refugees from Rusty Township. They were also apparently cannibal cult members. Once they had drained the blood from whoever picked the burnt match or played Tic Tac Toe the worst or whatever other insane way they chose, they would throw the mutilated body into the opening of the Undergraves. The demons would come out after the drums and drag the body away to eat it. And the cult members also tended to send wayward travelers, like ourselves, down into the Undergraves to get killed and eaten by demons. Apparently they thought these precautions kept them safe from the majority of the horrors of the Undergraves, and hell, they had survived this long, so maybe they were right.
The urge to go back and murder the whole lot of them came strongly to me. I could see Gil felt the same way. But getting home was far more important.
Frankie had lived here for years, foraging from the occasional vending machines and stealing supplies from the cult members and demons. I assumed this means he ate human meat for a lot of his calories, but I wasn’t going to point it out. It just didn’t seem polite at this point. He seemed like a hard guy to upset though. After all the things he had seen, it was hard to imagine him turning out otherwise.
But it also meant he knew the halls and intersections like the back of his hand. When I explained to him the staircase we had come through, his eyes lit up.
“I know it,” he said, “but it is nowhere near the Undergraves. It changes, but it is always found at either the beginning of the Endless Hall…”
“That’s where we came in, I think,” Gil said. “It seemed endless enough.”
“Or it hides between the meeting place of Veriden and Rusty Township.”
“So we were right next to it?” I asked angrily. Now I really wanted to kill those lunatic cult members. Frankie nodded, drawing back slightly, his eyes widening at my anger.
“Well, let’s go,” Gil said, looking more tired than I had ever seen him, holding the bloody, bandaged remains of his hand against his chest and wincing. “I’m tired as hell, but I’d like to get out of here before those nutjobs find us and throw us in an iron maiden, or maybe some pig monster slices me up and makes jerky from my muscles.” Frankie shook his head violently.
“No, no, no,” Frankie said, “if you go back the way you came, you will die. The drums stopped.”
“What are the drums?” I asked. He shrugged.
“They come from the ceilings and walls,” he said, describing a small, black box that sounded like a speaker. “Maybe they were originally set up before the collapse of Rusty Township. I know not, friend.”
“I don’t give a flying fuck about the drums,” Gil said. “What happens if we just walk back the way we came?”
“The cleaner comes after the drums,” Frankie said in a whisper. “The cleaner is mean. He is a tall, metal man, as tall as the ceilings, and he is strong. I’ve seen him snap the pig-men in half.”
“So is there another way around the main hall?” I asked. Frankie took a long moment to think, then he nodded.
“It’s dangerous too,” he said. “The tunnel underneath leads back, but it has strange things.” This was all he would say about it.
“OK, Frankie, lead the way,” Gil said, throwing the deformed man a bag of beef jerky and a soda. We were getting very low on food and drinks by this point, but as I saw it, it wouldn’t matter. Either we would get out, and we would have plenty of food and drinks back home, or we wouldn’t, and we wouldn’t need food and drinks if that was the case. An old riddle popped into my head as I considered this. What is greater than God, worse than the devil, the dead eat it always, but if the living eat it, then they die? Nothing.
Frankie got up quickly, eating the entire bag of beef jerky in a single swallow, which I didn’t even know was possible until I saw him do it. His cheeks were stuffed like a chipmunk, and he chewed slowly and thoughtfully with his few remaining teeth, savoring the taste of the meat.
Then he went back behind a pile of clothes, felt around on the floor, and with a cry of triumph, pulled out a weapon. It was just a baseball bat with rusty, bent nails sticking out of it like the broken quills of a porcupine, but it was better than nothing.
“Let’s go, friends,” Frankie said. “I would do anything to help my new friends. You should go home, where you belong. We all need a home…” He trailed off sadly. I looked around at where he lived, and my heart broke for him.
He stuck his huge head out the door, looking up and down the main hallway of the Undergraves. Slick, muscular growths covered the walls, the ceiling and the floor. The red stuff seemed to contract and expand, as if it were undergoing peristalsis.
With a look back, he nodded and went forward. We followed along, placing all of our trust in this strange being who called us his friends.
The hatchway to the tunnel was in an auxiliary room a few hundred feet down the hall. I walked in front next to Frankie, seeing as I had a gun and needed to be able to shoot in an instant without worrying about them being in my way. The hatchway was rusted and ancient-looking. It had a wheel that had to be turned to open it, and it took the strength of all three of us to get it moving. It squealed loudly, flakes of rust splintering off it. I cursed under my breath, hoping that it wouldn’t draw attention. As soon as it was open, we went down the ladder, one by one, underneath the main hall.
The tunnel was cramped and dark. Red emergency lights placed every hundred feet or so gave us some illumination, but not much. Everything had a bloody glow to it. And there were auxiliary shafts running off the main one, some with no lights at all. But in the darkness, I could have sworn I saw movement, as if a slightly less black silhouette were moving towards us through the darkness.
We got through as fast as we could. Another ladder led up, and we took it. But that strange sensation of being followed by dark shapes hadn’t left me.
The ladder opened into a room I didn’t recognize at first. The hatchway panel opened up into a place filled with detritus, broken furniture and mold spread out all over the floor. But when we got into the main hallway, I felt like cheering. Further down, I saw the sign for the intersection of Rusty Township and Veriden. And crossing in front of it, I saw the cult members who had tried to give us directions to the ninth circle of Hell, or whatever that place truly was.
“Stop right fucking there!” I screamed, raising the gun. The dark-haired woman with the scurvy blossoms on her face jumped so high, I thought she might fall over. The other cult members turned and looked at me, surprised and afraid. “Didn’t expect to see me again, did you? Thought I would get killed by demons and maybe you could take my body and eat it? Or just give it as a sacrifice to those abominations?”
“Sir, I am sorry,” the woman said, “but we must get out of here. The machine…”
“Stay right there, or I will blow your goddamn head off,” I said, walking forwards quickly and shoving the gun in her face. “Your brains will be dripping off the wall. You’re not going anywhere.”
And then I heard it. A mechanical whine started down the hallway, coming closer.
“The cleaner,” Frankie whispered in a tone that reminded me of the scared voice of a child. “Oh God, the cleaner…”
I kept the gun raised, but prodded the woman forwards towards the intersection of the three hallways, looking down towards the Rusty Township side, where the noises were coming from. What I saw sent my heart racing.
It was a robot, at least ten feet tall. Its silvery skin shone in the flickering fluorescent lights. It had two eyes that shone white LED light, a slit of a mouth, and long arms and legs that looked like they had been made of steel beams.
“Freeze,” it said in an emotionless voice. “Please show identification.” The cult members screamed and started to scatter like cockroaches. The robot instantly responded upon seeing them move, taking one of its long arms and running forward, whipping it across the hall in a blur. I heard bones crack and saw bodies break as they were pushed into the walls and, in one case, out of the window. I heard shrieking for a few seconds as the hapless man fell to his death.
“You’ve killed us all,” the dark-haired woman told me accusingly. She tried to run away from me as I backpedaled away from the insane robot, but it grabbed her, twisting off her neck with a loud crack. Blood poured out of her head as the robot threw it across the ground, rolling it like a bowling ball.
“You are in violation of executive order number 82,” the robot said. “Show identification, or lethal force will be used.” It was running at me now, and I saw it approaching as if in slow motion. I knew I was dead.
And then Frankie came running out, swinging his baseball bat as hard as he could into the robot’s back. The nails stuck into the metal. I saw his large muscles bulging as he tried to pull it out. But before he could, the robot turned and hit him with a balled-up metal hand. Frankie’s skull collapsed inwards as he fell, crumpling into a heap in the corner.
“No!” I screamed, running forwards. I looked at the bright eyes of the robot, and suddenly, an idea came to me. It was the only one I had.
I started emptying the magazine into the robot’s face, and within seconds, its white eyes had burst. My ears were ringing from so many gunshots in such a small space. Sparks and wires shot out, and the robot began to wail. The smell of gunpowder and burning metal filled the area.
“Visual centers offline,” it said, “visual centers offline. This is a catastrophic error. Contact Victoriat Arms Corporation and report the location and type of this error. A large reward is offered. Please call 1-600-333…” I stopped listening. The robot had begun to move randomly, swinging its arms and legs in wide circles as its alarm blared. I saw it crush a few more cult members to death. It smashed into the walls, breaking the sheetrock and leaving huge dents and holes everywhere.
I ran over to Frankie. He was still alive, though he was fading rapidly. His eyes were shutting.
“Did I help my friends?” he said slowly, sadly. I nodded, a single tear falling from my eye.
“You saved us,” I said. “I’m so sorry…” He nodded, then closed his eyes and let out a long breath.
“The stairs… are down the Veriden hall. Before the train to Naraka,” he said. “Go home, friend. Go home.” Blood pooled around his broken head as his lips began to turn blue and his breath stopped.
Gil pulled me up, whispering in my ear.
“I think we’re being followed,” he said. “We need to go now.” And so we did. We began running down the hallway. I looked back, seeing the bodies of the dead cult members and the kamikaze writhings of the robot as he smashed into random rooms and went further down the hallway towards Rusty Township.
But there was something there, something dark and humanoid. I squinted, but it faded into the shadows.
“There!” Gil yelled, pointing to a door I recognized. It was a chipped blue door with a daisy painted on the front. My euphoria and elation was so high at seeing it that I grabbed Gil and hugged him.
“Frankie did it,” I said. “He got us here…” And then we heard the shriek from behind us. I turned to look, but it was all dark shadows now behind us. The flickering lights had died.
We flung open the door, running through it. It opened on the same circular stone steps that we had used to get down here. They were still slick, still endless, and still had no railing, but my adrenaline was so high that I just started sprinting. My fear of heights had nothing on my fears of what was down here with us.
But whatever it was following us, it was getting closer. I could hear it gaining, hear it shrieking. I checked my gun as I ran, and was not surprised to see I had no ammo left. All we had was that damned bowie knife.
I was exhausted, but we kept running, on the verge of passing out. Eventually the temperature started to go up, and the air felt less oppressive and thick. I could see the entrance to the shed a few more revolutions up around the circular stones. Using the last of our energy, we sprinted to the end of the stairs.
We ran out into the shed, clearing the last of the slick, stone steps. The door was locked, just like when we left it. There seemed to be new gouges in the plate metal shielding the interior of the shed, deep claw marks and lines running every which way, but especially over the shielding for the door. Gil fumbled in his pockets for the key.
“Hurry up,” I said through gritted teeth. “It’s coming.”
“I can’t…” Gil said, reaching into every pocket. He kept coming up empty-handed. He had lost the key, and now we were going to die. I slammed a new magazine into the pistol, ready to fight to the death.
Then he reached into the little pocket built into the main pocket of his right front jeans, and I heard a tiny jingle. He brought up the leather strap with the shed key on it. With shaking hands, he shoved it in the lock and began turning.
I heard deep thudding footsteps only feet behind us now, and a demonic voice began to shriek. My ears rang in a high-pitched squealing, but I kept my hand on the now useless gun, looking back and forth from the door to the last step. Just as Gil pushed open the door, I saw it.
It had empty, black sockets where its eyes should have been. Its skin looked like the tight, desiccated skin of a mummy, and it seemed to tremble and writhe as its body moved. Its mouth opened nearly to the center of its chest, just a huge, black void that sent out deafening screams constantly, seemingly without needing to breathe.
We slammed the door shut. I put all my body weight against it as Gil put the key into the lock and began to turn. There was a tremendous shaking as the abomination slammed into the door, and then Gil clicked the lock into place and pulled the key out. I slid to the floor, my heart beating so fast that I couldn’t feel the individual beats anymore.
After resting a while, we went back into the house. Gil flipped on the TV, where we saw “Breaking News” flashing across the screen on our local channel.
“The death of an entire family in Lancester County today continues to remain unsolved. Authorities state the neighbor found the bodies of Larry Matheson, age 46, his wife Linda Matheson, age 41, and their children, Jonathan Matheson, age 11, Jordan Matheson, age 7, and Abigail Matheson, age 3. Authorities state that the amount of violence at the scene was ‘unbelievable’, and that the victims were physically mutilated both before and after death.
“In addition, authorities told our reporters that the heads of the children were removed, and that they still found no sign of them. Police believe the killer or killers likely took the heads with them.
“Anyone with any leads is asked to call…” I shut off the TV. Gil looked up at me. The shrieking in the shed started up again, and I heard scratching and clawing coming from behind the house.
“Something got out,” I said. “Something got out of the shed.”
submitted by CIAHerpes to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 20:42 GreasyBikerSkid One off bootleg mods.

The durz has a few, some people show interest in them so...
Front and side fenders are trimmed for aesthetics, fork guards are trimmed for clearance with O/S tires. Foglamp/Tool roll doubles to widen the difference between trail/fog light and low-hi street use
..switches to block off individual light circuits. The failsafe so I won't accidentally leave my brake lights off is that it's run to light up the turn signal indicator on the dash when in use. They're quick connect for anyone wondering how annoying a shroud removal is.
Removable windshield, cupholder, phone mount/charger. Dash expansion with volt meter.
Hardlined and upgraded regulator, battery tender hookup, lightweight battery, iridium plugs, ECU upgrade and starter safety switches deleted. It'll run without battery, spark without starter.
Kicker install and external horn. Louder than stock. Still doesn't help. Cone engineering exhaust, luggage rack, camp rolls, tow chain, CB radio and single unit tail/signal light.
Fender, chain guard delete, overflow delete... Overflow is a metered marinade injector mounted behind the radiator. Open intake, intake box deleted, put a vent in the intake panel to aid passive cool air flow. Most any of the fasteners known to strip have been swapped.
The seat padding has been replaced with a Purple poly gel insert with a groove for tailbone relief. The tires are both 130/90. Stretched drive, crammed steer with flat seal in the tubes.
Random ho-made sliders everywhere, brush guards, the whole set's bed liner with smooth spaces for stickers, butches love stickers.
Standard power mods 15/39 gearing and decomp lever install. Its a big ole roach bike.
submitted by GreasyBikerSkid to DRZ400 [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 20:16 StrangeAccounts I won a trip to visit the Wordsmith.

I won the chance to meet with my favorite Author. By no means was he an equal in comparison to the popularity of Stephen King or Dean Koontz but there was something special about his works. If you happened to stumble across one of his stories they had a habit of sticking around and festering like little rotten delicacies within your mind.
For years as a growing adult I sat down and studied every word of his. I tried to mimic the way he wrote and every time I’d fall short. There was something inside of me that just couldn’t match the integrity of his tales. Every story he wove sounded drastic, real, as if the main characters were screaming out for their stories to be heard in hopes they didn’t fade away into eternity.
He didn’t just make the characters come alive, he made them tangible. The reader felt as though the characters themselves were only a pages flip away.
Maybe that’s what made his horror so powerful. It wasn’t just the people you felt you could turn too, but also the creatures, the villains, the things that couldn’t be described by anyone else except by Vincent Valentine himself.
I ended up writing a brief paper and submitting it to a contest wrapped around the idea of ‘who inspired you to write?’ I can’t say I won by any means but every paper was openly displayed on the internet for anyone to read and comment.
Imagine my surprise when I received a comment from one 'Vincent Valentine' exclaiming only a few words;
‘You’ve warmed my heart. Keep a lookout in your inbox.
With much appreciation,
Vincent Valentine.’
I remember the sinking feeling in my heart as I read his comment. I felt blessed by a man so above my stature that it made me feel spotlighted in oddest, best and worst type of way. Nearly every hour on the hour I’d do a quick log in and hope to see the little message icon highlighted in the upper right hand corner of my screen.
This went on for a week. Precisely 7 days later on the hour of his comment I got a notification that someone had sent me a message.
‘109 Woodcrest Rd. Portland, ME? I feel confident in my sources. Expect a package soon.
With elation,
Vincent Valentine. ’
He had found my address.
To say I was surprised wouldn’t sum up my feelings in the least. I felt no hostility or fear however, it was almost Wonka-esque. I felt like I was getting a golden ticket and that feeling wasn’t misplaced. Another 7 days later I woke up to find a package waiting at my door.
I stared down at it for a minute, a black fabric shroud was tightly wound around a wooden box. My address was stamped in red lettering over the thick velvety veil. Next to it lay the words ‘From: Vincent Valentine.’
I reached down letting my hands grasp around the extravagant box. With a gentle tug I raised it off of the ground. The concrete seemed so boring and mundane compared to the package. I almost felt ashamed that I had let it sit there even for just a moment.
With a quick spin I turned around, slammed my door shut and proceeded over to my kitchen table. I tried to find the seams of the dark fabric, tugging along the edges but to my surprise found none.
From here it took me a moment to comprehend how I was going to open it without damaging the pristine void like cover. With some trepidation I wandered over to my storage closet and pulled out a box cutter. I hated the fact I had to ruin such an interesting presentation but I knew there was no other way.
I pressed the tip of the blade to the fabric and slowly slid it down. As the fabric retreated it split open revealing a red swirly underside clearly influenced by the colors of flowing blood.
My lips twitched upward before a small laugh left my lips. I stared at the display in front of me. I had cut the fabric from one corner to the other and it had perfectly spread and curled back like a body under autopsy. The wooden box itself lay under the skin ready to dissected from its body.
I set my box cutters aside and pulled out the wooden chest. Intricate designs were carved into the paneling and I instantly recognized them from how Vincent described them in his books. I was looking at Avestan text. They were so beautifully drastic from our modern characters and alphabets.
A chill ran up my spine as I thought back to the horrors Vincent had described in his tales. His greatest theme was studying the dangers of the oldest knowledge available in the world. The spreading of unnatural knowledge was ever present in his works. Granted I couldn’t read the carvings I still appreciated the showmanship.
I had never in my life thought I’d ever be brought a gift like this from someone I admired as much as Mr. Valentine.
I felt the indents of the box as my fingers trailed up to the lid. The wood seemed cold as if it had been left in some winters cavern overnight yet it was a midsummer's day and the sun was blazing outside of my front door. With a quick flick upwards I removed the casing and peered at the contents inside.
The innards of the box contained a black leather bound journal and next to it an envelope stamped with the symbol that appeared in every one of Valentines stories, the mark of Aka Manah. The forgotten God of magic and suffering.
I pulled the envelope out first, letting it rest in one hand while my other hand blindly felt around the table for the box cutters. With a quick nudge I felt a light sting. My eyes tore away from the folded letter and to the razor on my table. With blind stupidity I had skimmed my skin across the blade slicing my fingertip open. I let out a huff of disappointment in myself before gripping the handle and pulling it upwards towards the stamp.
Very gingerly I rocked the razors edge around the bottom of the wax seal, hoping to keep it in one piece. Oddly enough the wax seemed incredibly durable. Even after a couple of flawed jabs it held up nicely. The lip of the envelope separated exposing parchment inside.
I could feel the shivers creep up my spine and crossing over to my neck. Something was so foreboding about this whole situation and I loved every second of it. At the time I felt like I was in the definition of a horror novel.
I carefully pulled the parchment out from its resting place and began reading the handwritten note.
‘I hope you’ve enjoyed the extravagant show I’ve so far prepared for you. There is so much more to come. Inside this very special case that I’ve provided you resides a bound journal. I couldn’t help but notice the limitations to your short stories. Though I loved every single one, I must say, I found something missing. I wouldn’t worry though. I want to help.
Further in this envelope are plane tickets. I want you to visit my home for seven simple nights. By the time you leave I can promise you that little black book will be filled with your first ever living, breathing tale.
All you have to do is make the plane journey and I’ll take care of the rest. Make sure to sign the front cover of your new book. It’s special after all and it’s all yours.
With respects,
Vincent Valentine.’
I slowly lowered the letter on the table, careful to avoid spilling any droplets of blood onto the page. I could feel the indent of the tickets still in the envelope. I couldn’t believe my luck. I’d say my heart sang but once again something crept its way in me, something dark. It felt like I was being invited to a gala that I didn’t belong at.
I was simply a dwarf standing amongst giants.
I shook the feeling off and reached into the box to retrieve my new journal.
Each page was blank and crisp, hundreds of pages ready to be filled. When the flickering of pages reached the front cover I noticed something. A simple black line. A perfect place for my signature.
With a tepid sense of giddiness I raced back to my storage area and retrieved a pen. I quickly returned to my book and spread it open wide. With one hand I held the pages spread and with the other I held the pen. I swept my signature boldly across the line, and just as my pen tip left the page, a single droplet of blood pierced down on top of the paper.
A final period at the end of my name.
The irony of this wasn’t lost to me. I laughed trying to offset the feeling of unease. Signing that book shifted something in my life that I wouldn't be prepared for. I no longer felt like I didn’t just belong near the giants. I felt like they now were aware of me. They were watching me, judging me.
The tickets that lay inside the newly opened envelope were scheduled for 7 months out. I knew these dates weren’t by coincidence. Vincent wanted these sevens to appear, for what reason? I couldn’t say. I figured more of his showmanship would explain it to me in due time.
So I cleared my schedule for a while and prepped for my departure.
When the date came I took a taxi from my home towards the airport. The sky was darkened and cloudy. I watched as lightning flashed in the distance within the heavy gray clouds.
The sky seemed so high up that day. A true monolith of creations might. I could almost feel something immensely powerful looking down upon me from within that storm. It's eyes were assuredly turned down upon me and the journey that lay ahead.
In contrast, the airport itself felt as clinical as always. The typical smell of coffee mixed in with the incoming rain blended together into a mesmerizing fragrance. I grabbed a cup for myself and pressed it against my lips. I let the aroma fill my nostrils as I took in the sights of the planes docking and departing.
When the time came for me to board, lightning struck the tarmac. A mix of asphalt and gravel exploded near our plane. Several passengers screamed out in fear. The explosion sent pellets of rocks into the metallic frame of our sanctuary.
Of course the plane was decommissioned for the day. All planes in the area were tarmacked until further notice. I felt my shoulders give way to disappointment. Vincent said all I had to do was board the plane and he’d take care of the rest. Due to the fates I couldn’t even manage that much.
I took a seat over at the departure area and began my wait. It took the storm 7 hours to depart the area and free up the skies for travel. I had nearly given up on the trip when I heard the intercom sound from overhead.
“All flights are now boarding.”
I looked around me and noticed only a handful of us had survived the stay. The rest had all left. No doubt distraught over their failed plans. Us few who remained had boarded with ease. Almost like a miracle, the rest of the journey went smoothly. We traveled hours before the sun began setting and we arrived at our destination briskly at dusk.
Upon exiting the plane we all headed towards the luggage area. Much to my surprise I was intercepted just meters away by a handsome clean cut man dressed up in an all black suit and wearing a chauffeur’s cap.
“Excuse me Madam, I believe I’m here for you.” The Gentleman said, his dark brown eyes squinting at me with remarkable elegance.
“I’m sorry, who are you?” I politely questioned. I couldn’t have imagined that my ride would have waited for me after a seven hour delay. I was already prepared to gouge my own pockets to hire a taxi service to Mr. Valentine’s home.
“I’m in service to Mr. Vincent Valentine. I believe that I’m to take you to his residence.” His voice was so soothing and smooth. He seemed like more of an actor playing in a role than a real services employee.
“In that case, I’m sorry I made you wait.” I turned my eyes to the bags next to him. He had already procured my luggage.
“Oh, don't worry about that Madam. I haven’t been waiting long. This is the precise time I was told to arrive and so I did. Now if you wouldn’t mind, Mr. Valentine would like to see you as soon as possible.” He flashed me a smile, his pearly teeth were perfectly aligned and accentuated his chiseled jaw.
Without much more conversing he led me to the back of the small parking garage. With a slight nod he guided me over to a black 1964 Dodge 330. It looked ravishingly untouched despite its old age.
My personable Valet walked over to the passenger’s side door and opened it for me. I went to collect my belongings from him but he stopped me. He let me know he’d take care of my bags. I thanked him and took my seat. The interior of the vehicle reflected much of the same feel that it had projected on the exterior. That this was somehow a brand new classic.
When my Chauffeur returned to his side of the vehicle and shut his door I felt myself jump. I was once more jostled into feeling out of place. I had wished that I could have brought some company with me. Someone to be within my same social class. Instead I was resorted to simply just being a fish out of water in the lap of dark luxury.
Without another word and only a glimpse of a quick smile from my companion, we headed off.
I was surprised by the terrain we had found ourselves in just minutes after leaving the airport. The businesses and shopping centers had given away to grasslands and forests. The trees at first came one by one, then by clusters and then finally they tunneled us in. There was merely a thin road with a wall of lumber on either end of us.
Yet still, I was immersed in the landscape. My eyes jumped from one thing to another. The hoot of an owl, the chirping of crickets, it all amazed me. It was as if I was a new born baby entering the world for the first time. The face of my traveling partner remained nonetheless unimpressed. His demeanor made it clear that this journey was nothing special to him. And I suppose it wasn't.
As the darkness outside had peaked, refraining me from any sort of sightseeing, the man next to me spoke up.
“We’re here, Madam.” He spun the wheel of the car instinctively and circled into a large rounded driveway. I looked out my window and saw a large stone manor cropped up in chiseled Gothic architecture. Gray brickwork textured and meshed brilliantly with darkened oaken doors and rich window frames.
“I’ll get your bags. Please, head up to the door. Mr. Valentine is waiting for you.”
I nodded and thanked my driver who waved away my thanks in a polite manner.
“Oh, don’t thank me. I’m just doing what my contract outlines.” With one final charming smile he exited the vehicle. I soon followed
The size of the manor astounded me. Vincent was an amazingly talented author but I knew most readers had no idea who he was. How he could afford to live in a Victorian palace like this was unexplainable to me.
With heavy lead lining my heels I made my ascent up the stone patio steps towards the large wooden door. Hidden amongst the frame of the giant gate was a wicket door. As my feet reached the final step I felt myself freeze up. The way the manor had towered over me made me feel inexplicably small and meaningless. It had left me intimidated beyond movement.
“Well, go on Madam. You've made it this far.” The driver called out to me in a gingerly tone. He was preparing my luggage for travel. With trembling hands I knocked on the thick oaken door. A muffled impact sounded with every strike. A few moments passed by before the wicket creaked open. Inside was a beautiful young woman dressed in a black service outfit, much like the driver wore behind me.
With nothing more than a glance from her piercing eyes she spoke up.
“Welcome to the Wordsmith Manor Ms. Williams. Please come in.” The fair skinned lady reflected the same charm all of Vincent’s employees seemed to have. Though her tone was much sharper and direct. I admired her long black hair that had been pulled back into a tight bun. The dark color resonated brilliantly with her freckles and icy blue eyes.
“Thank you.” I quietly muttered. I kept my eyes low to the ground. I was scared of further intimidation from this home or its perfect occupants. I felt a finger lightly tap the underside of my chin and I looked up to see the Maid smiling at me with an unexpectedly soft smile.
“Don’t be scared to look around. Mr. Valentine specifically asked us to allow you to get a grasp of all you could on your way up to him.” After a quick meeting of our eyes I finally let my gaze roam. Inside was just as immaculate as the outside. Stone lined the walls with finely finished wooden flooring.
The dim lighting that flickered around us seemed to emanate on its own. I saw no signs of lights or cords connecting to any outlet, nor any outlets in general. I felt as though I had stepped back in time. Endlessly long hallways stretched out in every direction from the foyer. It struck my imagination immediately as it quite literally looked like an intricate spiders web.
As I was taking in the sights of the Wordsmith Manor, the male servant scooted past my back in a hurry. He was carrying my luggage up a nearby staircase.
“Your room will be located just upstairs in the main guest room. Your bags will be there for you to unpack. Though you'll find everything you need already located in the room should you search for it. For now Mr. Valentine would like to meet with you.” With a light footed twirl she began walking in front of me. I toed just behind her.
We went through a nicely ornamented hallway of different paintings. Each art piece seemed to be of different creatures and characters that could only be found in the multitude of books Vincent had written. They were painted just as vividly as the author had described them as. They felt like windows into another world rather than paint on parchment.
As I gawked upwards at the portraits of all of the characters that had enraptured my mind over the years, I had scarcely noticed the change in lighting. A rose coloring had begun filling the hallway spilling outwards from a nearby threshold. It lent the way to warmth and a calming sensation. With a few more steps towards the wave of soothing light we entered Mr. Valentine’s Den.
Many books and tomes lined the walls of this area in a neat fashion. Not a singly speck of dust prevented the shimmering of polished wood from glowing in the light. A large red rug swirled with golds and blacks. It lay at the center of the room. Sitting right next to a large stone fireplace
was the man I had only seen on the back covers of my favorite books, Mr. Vincent Valentine. Above him a large portrait of a hellish landscape. The placard read 'The Face of Aka Manah.'
“She’s ready for you Sir.” The woman chirped up. Vincent’s eyes fluttered to life as he looked to her than over to me.
“Thank you my dear. And also, of course, thank you Ms. Williams for coming.” His eyes shined unnaturally well with an endless depth of knowledge and experience. The red tint of the room had darkened his irises to a near pitch black coloring.
“Mr. Valentine, thank you so much for doing all of this.” I nearly stumbled over my words but managed to choke them out. Vincent merely gave me a half smile and shook his head dismissively.
“Nonsense. I saw that article you wrote about how my stories. About how they had inspired you to take up the pen and try your hand at crafting your own tales. I was beyond flattered.” He motioned his slender finger over to a blood red leather wingback chair that sat next to him. With a nod I followed his directions. With a short walk closer to the Author I had taken my seat in the form fitted throne next to my life long hero.
“It really is a shame how many people don’t know about you.” I offered as a sincere sentiment. His half smile spread slightly more across his aged and wizened face.
“My work finds precisely the people I want it too. You can’t share true horror with just anyone you know. I think some Authors found that out the hard way.” With a soft chuckle he resumed, “but this isn’t just a pleasant trip, as you must’ve gathered from my letter. This is a gift. I want to tutor you for for however long it takes until you can find your voice. I can promise, no matter how heavy and large that black book you hold feels, it’ll fill as easily as any ink to paper with the right motivation.”
With one of his ancient hands he pointed over to my jacket pocket, exactly where I had kept my little black book. How he knew where it was still remains a mystery to me.
“I would love to learn from you if I could get the chance.” I held back a yearning look. I didn’t want to make this man think lowly of me.
With a quick check of his watch his face had grown long and disappointed.
“The nights fading well past dawn and I fear our time tonight must be cut short. That being said I want you to understand one thing before bed. Each and every story you tell is as real as flesh and blood. Maybe not to you but to someone, something, somewhere. The cosmos is large and beyond that even larger. Science is just starting to scratch into what philosophers have known from the beginning of time. Sadly humanity's science will never catch up to their freedom of thought. The human understanding will always be a blip of the whole until it’s wiped out completely.”
The way he was staring into my eyes told me so much about who this man was. Whether or not he was sane may have been up to a debate to everyone but himself. He knew he lived in a reality so much more vivid than our own.
“Excuse me sir, the guest bedroom has been prepared. We have seven minutes.” A feminine voice behind me had broken me from my trance. Mr. Valentine's gaze left my own and looked towards his servant.
“And so ends my lesson for the night. Dream about what I taught you and I can promise by the morning you’ll already be one step closer to a new well of horror. Possibly by tomorrow night you'll be completely submerged.”
Before I could respond, the Maid had ushered me out of the den. We had arrived back in the hallway of portraits. The faces amongst them had seemingly changed their gazes to match my mood. Their eyes now were cast down upon me, judging me for who I was and who I wanted to be. Once again I felt that feeling of foreboding darkness. This time however I looked the Demons back in their countless eyes. I was trying to see them as real entities just as Mr. Valentine had requested that I do. Their terrible gazes seemed to soften with every step I took. Their lips seemingly upturning at the edges of their mouths in just the slightest of manners.
Once we hit the staircase in the main foyer I chanced a glance down an adjacent hallway to see the elegant servant carrying thick iron chains from one room to the next. After quickly shutting the doors behind him he used the irons to bar them from the outside. He glanced over towards me and our eyes met. He nodded at me in acknowledgment. His face seemed paled and worn.
My guide nudged my arm to grab my attention away from the man. "Hurry now, we need to get you in bed soon." With a hurried but dignified saunter she had led me up the wooden staircase and into the abyss above. Just as the den had tinted the air red, the second floor cast shadows of darkness around every corner. I felt a cold breath of wind run through me that seemed to emanate from the Manor's stone brick walls themselves.
“My apologies for any drafts up here. It’s been a very long time since anyone has been a guest in the Wordsmith.” Her voice reflected an apologetic tone but also that of stoicism, as if she was repeating an archaic sentiment from her memories but still a sentiment nonetheless.
“It’s fine, I enjoy cold air as long as there's a nice warm blanket to accompany it.” I forced a smile and looked at the side of the servants face. She seemed to have a coy expression on her lips at my fleeting justification for a drafty home.
“And here it is, right at the top of the staircase. I hope you find everything to your liking. If not we’ll do our best to please you in the morning.” She turned to face me. Her eyes emanated light in the darkened corridor. They were submissive but penetrative, an odd combination but one gained from countless years of servitude.
“I’m sure I will. Thank you.” With a nod she stepped beside the door, allowing me entry past her. I walked in front of the Maid and pressed my small hand on the brass handle of the guestroom door. A quick tug and a push allowed me entry.
I gaped at my room.
A large queen sized bed lay mid-way between the doorway and the far wall. A veiled rose colored canopy adorned the edges of the bed mimicking Victorian royalty. The posh blankets seemed soft enough to resemble that of ruby red a cloud. I had never seen anything like it with my own eyes before.
An expansive window lay on the farthest wall, moonlight pooled into the room and coated my resting place with a beam of heavenly light. Just below the window resided a writing desk and a chair, neatly tucked in. No signs of dust or unkempt follies showed any sort of face in this pristine room.
With hushed footsteps I approached my bed. The door latching shut behind me. I allowed my hands to slowly draw back the drapes, the silk nearly slipping through my fingertips. I took a deep breath and laid down. The bed gave way underneath my body and devoured me into its encasing folds. I let out an exhausted breath as I smiled and stared up at the ceiling. I couldn’t possibly have felt more excitement and desire for the future. My heart had swelled up inside of my chest at that moment.
With little more notice my eyes pushed themselves shut and filled my mind with an empty darkness. Neither dream nor thought seemed to come to me that night. My weary brain needed a rest perhaps more than I knew.
I woke up hours later to the brilliant shine of the morning’s sun. Even through my wispy half taut curtains the sunlight had managed to breach into my room. The large window had fully replaced the moonlight from the night prior. I looked down at myself and sighed. I had fallen asleep with all my clothes on including my shoes. I felt as though I had somehow once again proven that I didn’t belong within the halls of the manor.
I pushed that negative thought out of my mind. Quickly followed by physically pushing myself out of my resting place. With all the clarity of an early bird, I let my eyes travel around the naturally well-lit room. I saw a small door on the wall nearest the foot of my bed.
Shortly after I saw my luggage neatly placed near a hardy looking writing desk. After a quick post slumber stretch I allowed myself to start the process of unpacking my belongings. I quickly discovered that the door nearest to the bed led to a bathroom. With travel pack in hand I entered.
Marble countertops and glistening silver accessories lined the bathroom. A smile broke through my face as I saw how disheveled I looked in the mirror in comparison to the pristine nature of the room I was in. I walked to the counter and unzipped my baggie.
To my surprise everything I could need was already placed neatly in a row. Toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant and even other more personal items. Strangely enough they were all my favorite brands.
I shook it off and convinced myself that I just had good tastes in products.
I took some extra time with getting myself cleaned up and presentable. I was fully prepared to make a good impression on my host. Hell, at that point in time, I just wanted to keep pace with his Servants.
Once I was freshened up I put my used clothes into a linen hamper and headed out towards the bedroom door. With a quick flick of my wrist I felt unexpected resistance. I tried again to meet the same result.
It was latched shut.
I kept trying but sure enough the door was locked up tight from the outside of the room. A slight panic began to fill my chest. A panic set in by the fast realization I had allowed myself to enter a strangers home without proper precautions.
I felt my heartbeat begin to race.
With a heavy fist I pounded on the thick wooden frame of the door. Not too long after I heard heavy footsteps glide up the staircase to the other side of my room. With the sound of a lock turning the door opened. Standing on the other side was the Butler, my former Chauffeur.
"My apologies Madam. It's been so long since we've had a guest I suppose it slipped our mind that this door would need unlocking." He tried to give me a charming smile but I wasn't going for it this time. I quickly spat a retort back towards him.
"Why was my door locked in the first place?" I questioned, my eyes shooting directly into the brown depths of his.
"It's mostly to keep the night staff out. They don't like to be bothered much and can be a bit of a handful if they bump into anyone they don't know." In retaliation to my stare his eyes had softened and melted down some of my guard.
"Well I don't care about that. I don't want my door locked. Don't do that in the future." The man grimaced and nodded.
"As you wish." He stated flatly. "Now If you wouldn’t mind breakfast is about to be prepared. If you head to the dining room I’m sure Mr. Valentine will meet you there.” With that the man headed back down the steps towards the foyer. I stood still. I was at a loss as to where to venture. I decided to follow him and venture down the steps. By the time I reached the bottom the man was gone.
"You can head straight down towards the Den but make the first right in the hallway." I jumped as the female voice spoke up right behind my back. I turned around to see the maid behind me. She gave a calm nod and waved out her hand, pointing down the direction of the hall.
“I’m sorry, thank you.” I whispered. It was slowly becoming clear to me that there was something lurking just below the surface of this manor, like it was all a part of some type of show.
With that in the back of my mind I headed off down the hallway. The stone began to lighten up towards the back as a large windowpane took over an entire wall. I entered the windowed room and saw a rather extravagant dining set. Two chairs presented themselves at the foot of either end of the table.
I chose the chair that seemed reserved for a guest, the one less commanding of the dining room. Before long a sensual smell filled the room. Freshly baked bread, bacon and eggs were all seemingly being made from scratch. I stared outside the window as I waited and saw a large clearing in the woods. A bench lay outside facing the yard while several rocky outcroppings lay at the far end, just out of my sight.
“It’s a beautiful day isn’t it?” A smooth voice trailed off. I had glanced at the doorway to see the tall slender figure of Mr. Vincent Valentine. A new blazer was draped over his body accentuating his strong but thin shoulders.
“Very beautiful Sir.” I said, smiling at him. He put out his hand and waved my pleasantries away.
“No need for that. I need you independent for teaching, otherwise you’ll just end up like me.” His tone was like silk. He knew how to speak. Without another word he took his seat at the other end of the table. Fresh plates of food were brought out by the servants and placed in front of us. Just as I had imagined they had prepared fresh biscuits, bacon and eggs along with finely toasted bread.
I raised some food to my mouth and took a bite, nothing but purity of flavor could explain the taste. It was so very refined. It was prepared in such a way that I had to believe that the chauffeur didn’t just have a knack for driving under his belt but was a perfected chef as well.
Mr. Valentine gazed out of the window as I ate, not touching a bite of the spread that lay in front of him.
“Are you willing to go beyond your personal comfort to write?” He asked out loud. The surprising nature of his question made me put my food back down on my plate.
“As long as I’m being taught by you, I don’t think we could go wrong.” I offered while I eyed up the strange teacher.
At my words his sharp gaze shifted to my eyes, penetrating my very soul.
“I want you to leave here a creator, an author of the highest ability. That takes a great deal of sacrifice. Would you be willing to do that?”
I felt stunned at his question. I didn’t understand his meaning nor his goal.
“I believe I am.” I replied. I looked on his face for any type of signal that I had said the right thing. To my surprise a smile came across the old man’s face.
“Good to hear. Tonight will be a fine night for horror.” With that Mr. Valentine stood up from his chair and walked out of the dining room, leaving myself and the feast before me, to our own devices.
I took my time to fill my stomach and then excused myself silently from the table. I wandered the halls of the Wordsmith endlessly. The layout seemingly to continuously shift with every loop. I couldn't explain it but my thought's seemed to refuse to be collected.
I had based by two equivalent foyers, three libraries and countless halls. Eventually becoming lost in the maze of the manor. I felt a cold sweat begin to hit me as I was quickly realizing I wouldn't be able to get back to where I started.
Somehow every long hour only lasted a short minute. The windows began to shift from morning light, to brilliant afternoon beams to a rose colored sunset in just moments.
I spent all day lost and didn't speak with Mr. Valentine a single time after breakfast. No doubt frustrating the man that I was wasting his time.
I quickened my pace down the stone hallways. Left, Right, Left, Forward. Somehow I looped around. I began to jog. Night was approaching. The layout was impossible. Where were the servants?
I heard whispers coming from doors that had long since been chained shut. The same chains I had seen the Butler the night prior carrying. Could this be some ploy just to scare me? If so how were they commanding these stone spaces to loop and twirl so easily around me.
It didn't matter eventually. Night had fully fallen by the time I found myself at the Foyer near my bedroom. Even though hours supposedly had past my stomach was still full from breakfast.
I felt like crying. I wasted an entire day of my trip running around a manor by myself. Not a single page written in the journal Mr. Valentine had bought for me. And to make it worse a quick glance around the hallways showed no signs of life. Just cold drafts of dry air. I had no option but to go back up to my room and try to start anew tomorrow.
I traced my steps back up from the night prior and making it back up to my room. Inside was dark, clouds had covered the moonlight letting nothing break through the thick ink that had pooled inside. I kicked off my shoes and fell back onto the bed. Tears in my eyes.
With every huff of air I took I could hear an echo coming from the blackened corner of the room.
I turned my head and stared into the void.
I couldn't make out anything at first. I wiped the water from my eyes and kept focusing. Eventually a figure formed in my mind. Something just taller than myself. Masculine, dapper.
The Male Servant.
I sat up and called out to the shadow. "What are you doing in my room? How long have you been there?"
The mans outline just continued to watch me. My senses suddenly kicked in. Some sort of instinct was telling me to get as far away from this man as possible. I slowly stood up to my feet, my eyes not leaving his shape.
I slowly began to step towards the door. His frame just stood in the darkness like a drape, his face watching me as I walked further away.
Once I was near the door I felt my shoulder bump into something. I turned and stared at the Maid. Or rather the Maid that was not a maid.
Her outfit clung to her like loose fitting rags. Her face gaunt and mouth opened exposing a pit of darkness outlined by a row of pearly white teeth. Her lower jaw jiggled with my shoulders light touch.
I heard a voice in the back of my head call out to me. 'Run.' And so I did.
I immediately ran down the stairs towards the front foyer. The skittering of feet following closely behind me. I reached the front door and pulled. It tugged but refused to budge. It was locked. I turned to face my pursuers but through my squinted gaze I was met with nothing more than an empty room.
I started to breath heavily trying to control myself. Off down a distant hallway I heard a door open and close. It sounded like it came from Mr. Valentine's Den. I turned back to the front door and tried opening it again, looking for the latch.
Footsteps began to walk down the hallway towards me.
I pulled and pulled, tears welling up in my eyes again. I made a mistake. Coming to here, meeting a stranger, I was being dumb. I never should have taken the offer.
Eventually I screamed out at the front door and heard a soothing voice come from behind me.
"What a terrible night you seem to be having." It was Mr. Valentine. I turned to face him. His back was turned towards me and face obscured.
"Mr. Valentine, please, I don't want to do this anymore. Something's wrong with this place. I'm sorry, I just-" I froze as Mr. Valentine walked closer to me. His knees protruded backwards, facing the wrong way underneath his fine silk slacks.
"My dear, you have 5 days left here." With that all the light faded in the Foyer. I was cast in darkness.
It wasn't until sunlight hit my face the next morning that I felt some sort of relief. I looked around me, I was in the guest bedroom. Precisely where I was the night before. I shot back up and looked around. Nothing was out of place. I heard a knocking at the door. It was the Maid.
"Madam, we've prepared breakfast for you. You wont want to miss your first lesson with Mr. Valentine. He's waiting for you.
I didn't know if I could make it much longer there. Nothing made any sense.
When I came to think of it, I couldn't even remember a single title Mr. Valentine had ever wrote.
submitted by StrangeAccounts to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 20:09 Archives-H I work for a company that studies cursed places. There's a place they call the House of Tongues.

So it all started with a box of bees. It was deep within the stores of the Company, in the depths where only the bravest dare enter. Well, that, and literally about everyone with a basic Level One access code.
And in the depths one could find a box of bees, all dead and devoid of any color. Bees that had once nested in the suburbs of North Carolina, in an odd house that had always stood there.
They called it the House of Tongues.
My name is Canopy Hydrangea. I recover cursed artifacts, explore haunted places, and report back the information needed to the people I work for. The Company then arranged what has to be done to remove these blemishes from the world.
If it isn’t possible, we make sure the evil of cursed artifacts and bizarre places doesn’t make its way to the general public.
But sometimes, it’s important to leak a report or two to the unsuspecting public. Makes for a good warning- and this particular file is one of many that must be known.
“So, team,” I began, as we sat around an old fireplace, in the bakery-turned cover for our base of operations, “what has the Company found us today?”
Rainie, my key assistant, tuned up the old projector and pressed a few buttons. Kyran faked a yawn, and my scrollkeeper, Cypress, laughed.
We all stopped laughing when the image of a dead dog, bloodied and covered in long, piercing slashes emerged. “So let’s talk about the House of Tongues,” Rainie began, changing the slide to an image of a remodeled, but still old looking house. “This house was built back in the 1620s, and…”
I’ll cut Rainie’s exposition by a lot here. Many unnecessary details, but details that kept us intrigued and interested.
The house, built in 1627, was built by a migrating priest and his family. Initially, it was supposed to be a small cabin, a little summer place for rest and meditation. This all changed when, according to local mythology, the priest was offered a deal by an odd man in white and black.
He called himself the Night Merchant, and the priest gave up his cabin, and within seven days and seven nights a grand, expansive house replaced it.
The licking began to take place nearly a year after that. Not much is known from the priest’s records- as Rainie tells it, “his words were deemed heresy and burned.”
But we do know that the house, named Attager Place changed hands over the centuries, though most records were lost to time. The more important records come after the end of the Great War.
  1. A family, the Bakers, moves into Attager Place, now remodeled to fit it with a little town that popped up from the economic boom.
  2. William Baker’s ‘youngest’ daughter reports a sensation at night, a strange rough feeling, as if she were being ‘licked by a cat’. Cats do not approach Attager Place- in fact, the house does not seem to welcome all but human life.
Cats who approach it go mad and disappear. The family dog Baker brings along is found on the street, eviscerated by long, piercing slashings the police could never explain.
Three months later the sightings begin.
William Baker goes out one day to investigate mewling noises behind the house. The entire backyard is trashed: pots have gone flying, dirt has been dug- the entire garden has been uprooted.
Darting around the corner are monsters. Small, slender things, an ashen white with bodies as thin as sticks; their bones show, the muscles pulse.
But strangest of all are their heads, large and muscular, adorned with small horns that dot it, and two eyes he states as ‘deep blue like the sea’. Terrified and confused, William goes back to the house to fetch a rifle.
When he goes back, though, they’ve vanished.
The noises continue for the rest of the year- but always gone before he can take a good, clear look. But something else, far more chilling and incredible has appeared- one of his two daughters have vanished.
Both Company and government records show that the Bakers only had one daughter. And yet, in the cold winter of 1928 William Baker finds himself mad, shocked as he begins to remember a daughter that never existed.
An older daughter, he remembers. But try as he might, he can’t picture her face- nor find any certificates, legal evidence she had existed.
But in the halls of the house she does. There’s a bedroom with things that aren’t supposed to be there. A bed, posters, and books- all evidence a teenage girl had once lived there.
But on paper, she does not exist. And neither does she exist in the minds of anyone else. His wife and ‘only’ daughter do not acknowledge the extra room. His neighbors seem to avoid him.
  1. At night, they come. They appear as shadows in the windows, peering in with small hands, large, blue eyes. And then they open a circular, razorlike mouth and a long tongue with teeth emerges, licking the window and gently cracking it.
William takes his rifle and journeys outside.
The creatures seem to taunt him, gracefully avoiding his gunshots, leading him deeper and deeper into the woods that were not there when he bought the place. When he realizes, all too late, that his fences have ceased to exist- it’s too late.
The creatures are gone. And behind him, in the large house called Attager Place, there are screams.
When William Baker finally finds the house again, everything is silent. His wife and child are gone. The creatures sit cross legged and wait, tongues eerily lolling out. He shoots them but the bullets always seem to miss.
By dusk, they are gone.
Legally, William Baker's wife and two kids do not exist. He spent the rest of his life telling the same tale in a mental asylum. He also claimed the creatures followed him there, always peeking in through the bars and windows.
He is found near death one day, bizarre lacerations and slashings. A man comes by, wrapped in shadow and gives him a buzzing box.
Bees. And the creatures never appeared-
“Wait,” Kyran cut in, “you’re saying that bees, of all things stopped these… tongue aliens?”
Rainie nodded, almost in disbelief of the story herself. “Whoever gave him those bees knew how to deal with them,” she continued. “However it works- it worked. William got out the asylum and lived the rest of his life as a-”
“A beekeeper!” Cypress guess. Rainie nodded. “So if this case is closed, why has the Company handed it over to us?”
Rainie sighed in disappointment. “As I was saying,” she remarked, teeth clenched, “the bees have failed.” A slide displayed thousands of dead bees, around the house. “In 1937 two Company Agents bought the house and bombarded the place with beehives. Beehives that have remained ever since, cared for by a gardener.” She paused and switched it over to another angle. “Last week, the gardener vanished, only remembered by a single surviving Company agent. Any guesses as to what they want us to do?”
I nodded and gleefully raised my hand. “They want us to clean it up. The bees, and the uh,” I tried to think of the name, “Tongue Aliens. Tonliens, if you will.” That generated some laughter. “Cypress, Kyran, you two are my containment experts-”
Cypress revealed a drawing on an iPad- “Already working on a spell.”
Kyran shrugged. “The new Ironsalt Guns are ready.”
I looked at Rainie in anticipation, wondering if there was more. “That’s about it- there’s a similar story that happened in 1932, but same old, same old.” She paused, thinking. “We should also watch for artifact hunters- sources suggest Lorreno’s crew may be looking to seize one of the uh, aliens for themselves.”
I practically growled- Lorreno and his crew were a gang of villains that dabbled in selling cursed artifacts and cryptids to shady dealers. “Cryptid smuggling?”
Rainie nodded. Cypress noted this as well. “If they show, boss, we’ll take them out this time.”
By the next hour we’d prepared all we’d needed. We stood by a large, symbol adorned mirror and waited. Cypress chanted some ancient, long forgotten poetry, and the mirror changed to a quiet street.
Rainie stepped through, then Cypress, Kyran, and me, and then we were face to face with Attager Place.
I felt a sense of great discomfort. “Do you-” I muffled my ears, suddenly starting to hurt, “head that?!”
It was the sound of bees, buzzing all at once in a cursed, malevolent death knell. I screamed in pain and fell to the floor. Cypress caught me as I fell and read off of their phone. “Infected beast of… unholy…” I drifted in and out as the ghost swarm dazed me, “begone!”
And it was over, and my vision cleared. “The house is… powerful,” I murmured. “I don’t think we’re just dealing with the tongue things,” I stammered, still dizzy. “There’s,” I reached into the ether, “more than one entity.”
Kyran looked a bit worried. “Should we call for backup?”
“Nah,” I replied. “We can take it.”
We entered the house, the buzzing still in the back of my mind. As told, a swarm of bees lay dead around the place, and with every step we took we a loud crunch emanated, echoing around the house.
Besides that, and the deep fear we were all beginning to feel, there was nothing. “All the events happened at night,” Rainie reminded. “And it is-”
Something red and thick fell onto my hand. It was blood. drip-drop. More began to fall from the ceiling, a river of blood pouring from cracks. It was cold and seemed to pulse in time, as if- alive.
Rainie wrote into a journal, then collected a sample. “Weird. It’s not a threat.”
Kyran nervously pointed his weapon around. “Well I don’t like it.”
“Well go on and Ironsalt it,” I told. “I don’t like it either.”
Kyran nodded, reached into his bag and found a sphere of white. We averted our eyes as he lit the fuse, tossing it up into the air and exploding in light, spraying us with salt and fine iron- enchanted so that it would not hurt us.
The ghost-blood stopped and fell to the ground, evaporating into ash. “One phenomena neutralized,” Rainie noted.
We continued onwards, until the house decided to shift itself, creaking, trying to spin its halls so that we would emerge back where we came from. We were at the kitchen- then it would creak, and the door we opened-
“Back up front,” I murmured.
“I’ll handle it,” Cypress offered, already beginning to chant. The place let out a sigh, and things were restored. “It won’t hold, though.”
And then they finally appeared. Little deformed things.
Pale bodies, large heads, large, bulbous eyes. They appeared in the corner of my eye at first, though as we ventured deeper into the house they seemed to dart here and there.
Kyran attempted to shoot them, but they seemed ever-evading, always just out of reach. Rainie noted them and sketched the beings. And as we got deeper the sound of the dead bees began to crescendo.
And other noises. The sound of screams, of pleas for help. The house seemed to go on forever, unfolding, each layer of the house seemingly older and more arcane from the last.
In front, it had seemed like a remodeled house. Inside, it was at least thirty years old, and in each subsequent hall, room it got older and older. In the distance we saw something dark and rocky.
“That’s a cave, isn’t it?” I asked.
Cypress’ magic was of no use either. “Wait,” they paused, as we reached the cave. The shadows flickered within, and the creatures seemed to whisper in the darkness. He spun around and gasped. “I think we’ve been tricked.”
I turned to see- a wall. A solid wall of paint and brick. “That wasn’t there the last time I-” I screamed as something lashed out, cutting me. “Agh!” A tongue drew into the darkness, sharp.
“Lights!” Rainie shouted, flicking on a lantern. The electric device sputtered, and failed- illuminating about a dozen tongue-things in the darkness, leaping out into shadow. “Damn it!”
Kyran began to fire aimlessly as more and more tongues darted in and out, slashing us. “Cypress, boss, solution?”
Cypress read off their phone, and a ball of light emerged in front of us, yet the darkness still remained. The wall behind us began to move, pushing us forward.
The magician yelped and tendrils of paint burst from the wall ensnaring him. “Help me!” I flicked a knife open and him loose.
We were being forced forwards. The wall behind us seemed ever fleshy now, tendrils of red dripping limbs reaching out at us. In front, tongues lashed out, cutting us up, one by one.
But we continued to push, running forwards and firing as the wall of flesh behind us forced us into the darkness.
“Look!” I shouted. “A building!”
There was something there. Ancient, and carved from stone. The ruins of an ancient temple that seemed just like the house. Statues of the tongue things lay in wait, eerily inviting us in.
The wall picked up speed, and we ran into the ruin, just as the wall crashed into it’s entrance, locking us within.
A flash- then black goo. “I got one!” Kyran cheered, stepping over and picking it up. It whined, still alive, and a tongue lashed out- only for Kyran to sever it. “They can be killed.”
Rainie was studying the walls of the temple- the death of the creature had scared them off- for now, at least. “This place is old. Like, really old- I’ve never seen this,” she gestured to the arcane symbols on the walls, “language before.”
Cypress knelt down next to two skeletons, little marks of teeth all over. “Must be the Bakers.”
Around us were more skeletons, all marked by small incisions. Most were ancient but some were all too new. A fresh corpse even lay in a corner, just a few days old.
I looked at it. I recognized the corpse as a black market artifact dealer. “Serves you right.”
“Company Agents-” Rainie gasped. A team, just like us lay dead on the floor, recently deceased. “I thought we were the first to come here in a long time?”
“This place,” I remembered, “eats people. Memories. HQ probably sent them and forgot they existed.”
A scuttling came from deeper within, and the sound of bees suddenly stopped. An unceasing quiet came next, and suddenly I preferred the bees to the quiet.
“I think,” Cypress announced, “I can get us out of here.” And then they reached into their backpack and brought out, of all things-
“Is that a cat?!” Rainie puzzled. “Did you actually-”
“I supposed it would come in handy,” Cypress confessed. “Plus, it isn’t mine, and I’ve got to return it.”
“Enough, guys,” I ordered. “Cypress, how does this work?”
A glint in their eye came now. “Well,” they began, “we know that the house hates animals, right?” we nodded. “Let’s see why.”
And with that, Cypress released the cat, and it trotted softly down a hall, deep into the temple. We followed, up until the cat stopped before a chamber, stone gates warding us off.
I opened the gates- and then we saw it.
This was some sort of congregation room, a grand hall filled with stone benches, ancient symbols of old religion, and- thousands of the creatures, all sleeping, save for a dozen or so chattering and climbing the walls.
“Look- there,” Cypress pointed to light in the corner of the hall, where creatures popped in and out. “Daylight.”
“A way out,” I murmured.
“Just have to get through all of this first,” Kryan pointed out.
“Not necessarily,” Cypress started, “I’ll be right back.”
Cypress returned a moment later with the corpse of the tongue-creature, then inscribed several symbols into it with a knife. They lit up, and we walked into the haldl, Cypress leading us forwards.
The creatures began to wake, jumping beside us and sniffing the air. “I’ve disguised us as a mass of them,” Cypress explained. “Let’s see how long this holds.”
The creatures ignored us, returning to hibernation. I observed the hall as we journeyed closer and closer to daylight. Statues of goat-like things watched us, tall and ancient, yet oddly familiar.
The creatures tended to the place, lighting candles and even managing a small garden towards the back. They did not construct the place- but whoever did left them to tend for it, to keep it sacred, safe.
“Oh no,” Cypress murmured. “The spell’s worn off.” That’s when the creatures began to shift, paying attention to us once again. Cypress gulped, found the cat and threw it. “Run!”
And so we did, towards daylight. The creatures lashed out at us, the cat seemed to distract them, pawing its way through the little beasts. “I need rope,” Cypress commanded, just as the light shone above us.
An opening seemed so far away. “Here!” I tossed it, and Cypress reached out and, with ancient art, floated it up.
“Climb!” I shouted, already beginning to do so. “Go!”
And as we climbed the creatures did so too, leaping from the walls to seize us. Kyran fired and Cypress did strange art. I slashed them away, and they fell to an ever growing pile below us.
Three were on the rope below us. “Take this!” Kyran slashed the rope, cutting them loose.
I rose into the light first, pressing open a grate and helping Cypress up. Rainie came next, then Kyran. I threw the rope over, and shut the grate back down. Still, they stuck to the walls, still chasing us.
I found an explosive, strapped it to the grate and ran. A boom came behind us, and no opening remained.
We were in the backyard. “I think,” I murmured, “I’m going to submit this place for immediate destruction.”
And that was that. The place had been surveyed, our job was done. We’d done all we could and found what we needed. We couldn’t stop them on our own. A request was made, and the last time I heard of the place, it had both been burned, collapsed, and creatures seized for further study.
Another day was done. Another bizarre placed kept under control. If you know a place marked by evil- let us handle it.

mass grave
submitted by Archives-H to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 20:03 ZachTheLitchKing [TT] Theme Thursday - Villain

Original Prompt

What's Ours is Mine
Neon-green acid spewed out of Alicid's mouth. The geyser of florescent bile splashed across the brick, mortar, and glass of the bank's facade. It rapidly dissolved away into thick black vapors and noxious fumes, giving the purple-and-green costumed woman an easy path in.
A much more dramatic entrance than going through the front door.
"Where's the deposit boxes!" she yelled, her voice scrambled and amplified by the mask she replaced over her mouth. Her eyes and nose were obscured by the upper portion at all times, to protect her identity, but the part that kept her mouth clean and helped heal the damage from her acid had been removed in order to attack.
The people inside the bank were panicking and one of the tellers, who was smart enough to know his job was not worth his life, pointed over to a hallway with a sign that, when Alicid was closer, read Deposit Boxes.
Alarms started to blare when she spat more acid onto the barred door that kept people out of the vault but she did not care. The masked woman turned to a file cabinet beside the door and ripped open the drawer labeled "G-J". She pulled out folders and tossed them aside until she found "Juarez", which she opened and checked for the box number.
When Alicid found the right lock she spat a small amount of the green goo onto it so that she could pull it open.
"Freeze!" a man shouted over the sound of the alarm.
Alicid pulled the box out of its slot and looked over at Officer Juarez. He looked confused and concerned as he tentatively lowered his gun.
"Bastard!" Alicid screamed.
"Alice, calm down," he said, taking a step through the melted bars.
"NO! You think you can just cheat on me and that I wouldn't know!?"
"Listen, it-"
"FUCK YOU, JOE!" Alicid pulled the bottom part of her mask off, tears running down her cheeks as she vomited a geyser of acid onto the floor between them. The gout of black smoke screened her escape through another hole in the wall she made behind her.
Everything they had saved together was hers now.
submitted by ZachTheLitchKing to TomesOfTheLitchKing [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 19:56 Meepster23 Lets talk about those API calls

Can't cross post apparently, but here's the original I wrote
I'd like to take a couple minutes and talk about what exactly the API requests and app makes to Reddit to function and how fast they can add up.
Reddit's API that is used by third party applications has been around for a long time and hasn't seen all that many changes or improvements over the years, but that hasn't been a huge deal because a couple extra API calls didn't cost anything except bandwidth. For example, it's two separate API calls to check if you have any reddit messages vs your modmail messages. To view someone's profile it's 3 separate requests, one for their user info, one for their posts/comments, and one for their trophies. This wasn't a big deal until now when Reddit wants to start charging for API calls.
Lets take an imaginary journey and count up the API requests! Running total will be in parenthesis
Open up Reddit, API call for your front page, API call for your messages, API call for your modmail. + 3(3)
Upvote a post + 1(4)
Upvote another post + 1(5)
Open up the comments on a post + 1 (6)
Scroll through comment section and "load more" 3 different comment chains that got long +3 requests (9)
Vote on a couple comments +4 (13)
Leave a comment + 1 (14)
Should we check if there are messages again? + 2 (16)
Get another page of your frontpage + 1 (17)
Visit a specific subreddit. API call for the side baabout. API call for the posts. +2 (19)
Check who the mods are + 1 (20)
Check out one of the poster's profiles. API call for user info, API call for posts/comments, API call for trophies +3 (23)
Follow links into a couple of their other comment sections + 2 (25)
Check for messages again + 2 (27)
Oh look, we got a message! Lets open view it +1 (28)
Okay we viewed it, lets mark the message as read + 1 (29)
Lets respond + 1 (30)
Go view another comment thread + 1 (31)
Oops, well that person is breaking the rules, lets report them + 1 (32)
I want to check for new comments on a thread + 1 (33)
We've done very little and we are up to 33 API requests already. As you can see, these add up in a HURRY when basically everything is an API request. That's not bashing on Reddit's API, that's just how ya know, the internet works... Go open your browser's developer tools sometime and check out the network tab.
But that's only 33 API calls you say! Reddit is only charging (at scale according to the Apollo dev ) ~ $2.50 per 10k requests. Well, lets put that into perspective using this hockey game thread which is maybe a bit larger since it's the Stanley Cup finals, but it's a good example I think.
It has over 10k comments. Since pushshift is dead I can't average the comment scores to get the number of average votes (ish) per comment, but we're gonna ball park it at, I dunno.. say 10. That feels low to me honestly just checking, but I don't want to over inflate this for the drama. Lets just pretend also that every vote was also a page refresh to get the new comments. Lets pad that just a bit for accounting for people loading deep comment threads and say that is another 10k. Give another 5k inbox checks (low I'm sure). And lets total it up..
10k comments + 10k * 10 votes + 10k page refreshes + 10k load more comments + 5k inbox checks = 135k API calls conservatively
(135k API calls / 10k calls) * $2.50 per 10k calls = $33.75
If that was all third party app usage, that thread would cost well north of $33.75 to create. I was honestly trying to dig in to how many ads this would approximately be, but it's not really feasible since the costs vary so wildly. Highly targetted ones can be $6 per 1000 views in the high end of the "recommended" spending range (suggested by reddit's ad system), or $.90 per click.. I dunno, it's all over the place.. needless to say it's a decent chunk of ads served/clicked to make up that kind of amount.
"Well that seems fair, I mean you said there were 10k comments right? So 10k impressions!"
Well, maybe.. viewing that thread on old reddit I'm not seeing any ads at all actually.. And max there might be one that shows up sometimes in the sidebar I don't honestly know. New Reddit I'm also not seeing any ads.. Is my long expired gold status still removing all the ads?? I don't know whats going on. I could have sworn there were at least some ads in the side bar usually.
Anyway.. I was trying to get at the point that not all api requests are equal in processing power or potential for lost ad revenue. I swear to god I will 3d print and blow up a snoo if they ever decided to put ads in my personal message box for example. But a call to get the posts for a subreddit does have a potential hit to displayed ads.
Reddit charging for a commercial third party to use and display their content is not inherently unreasonable. What is unreasonable is the costs that are currently proposed coupled with the ineffecient Reddit API that inflates necessary calls.
My last thing I wanted to address, and I might be burying the lede a bit here, is some of misleading, or downright inaccurate and untruthful claims that the admins have made in regards to these changes..
Apollo could reduce their cost by 3.5x if they were as efficient as these other 3P apps.
So I have not dug into Apollo specifically as I didn't have an iOS rooted device handy. BUT, my guess as to the "increased calls" is due to them more frequently checking if a user has messages, and/or less caching of comment sections and more re-pulling them for the latest on navigation. Could Apollo not check for messages as frequently? Sure.. Reddit is Fun used to check for messages on any refresh it seems, and they sometime somewhat recently seem to have changed that and for game day threads which I frequently use it for, I often miss responses to my comments for a very long time because it seems to only do it now every so often.
Usage graph
This one is kind of hilarious to me. So my (possibly mistaken) previous understanding and experience with the rate limits was that it was not requests per client id, it was requests per user of said client. So it's laughable to try and paint this is thousands of percent over the "limit" when the admins redefined what the limit was and in such a way that makes any multi-user app pretty much guarenteed to be in violation.
We are comparing events / user / day across apps with comparable engagement. Apollo is higher than the norm and higher than us.
Ok.. no... no they are not higher than you.. The only way that you get to claim they are higher than you is if you don't count your GQL api usage at all. Lets take a quick peak at the horrors of the Reddit official apps API calls.
* OAuth call for posts/comments * OAuth call for categories for subreddit * OAuth call for structured styles for sub * OAuth call for similar subreddits * GQL for pending invites? * GQL for post guidelines * GQL for if the subreddit is muted? * GQL for other? subreddit styles * GQL for posts/comments ... * GQL for experiments * GQL for devplatform * GQL for user location 
Yeah, that's not even close.. And pretty freakin funny when your GQL and Oauth calls overlap for the posts/comments. Also this doesn't even bring up the fact that it appears to spam the shit out of GQL calls for dev platform meta data as you are just scrolling down the comments. And the responses are all the same lol
This comment is a real doozy... Couple highlights...
Google & Amazon don’t tell us how to be more efficient. It’s up to us as users of these services to optimize our usage to meet our budget
Google and Amazon absolutely will help you use their platform effectively and reduce your costs with them. This is a complete and utter LIE.. Reddit you can't even see the number of API calls you are making. Google will literally hop on a call with you with an engineer and work with you to best use their platform....
On March 14th, Apollo made nearly 1 billion requests against our API in a single day, triggered in part by our system outage. After the outage, Apollo started making 53% fewer calls per day. If the app can operate with half the daily request volume, can it operate with fewer?
Well isn't that interesting.. Because according to the Apple store's page for Apollo, and the version history, the closest releases for Apollo were 2/22 and 4/7... none at all in March. So Reddit... why the decrease? Did you happen to fix something with how your system was logging calls from certain apps maybe? Did you break something? Cause sure doesn't look like it was on Apollo's end like you claim...
Edit: it was brought to my attention that Apollo does push notifications for messages even when you aren't using the app. This is almost certainly the main discrepancy between it and other apps API usage. And it could have been a back end change then related to the polling for those notifications that caused a reduction in API calls
In the end, the admins are currently at best misleading and misunderstanding about their API and it's usage, and at worst, outright lying. Limiting the NSFW adult content available to third party apps is pretty telling since there is literally no reason to do this except to try and drive people to their own official app. So I'm leaning towards they are lying about trying to kill off third party apps, but form your own opinions.
There are many alternative solutions to this and if Reddit was an actual, functional, grown up company, I don't see how they'd continuously wind up in these binds.
There should have been a dashboard at least to view API usage and it should have been in place with 2+ months of "example" billing data to let app developers adjust and figure things out.
Charging for all api requests equally is pretty dumb when your API is as poorly laid out as Reddit's is. Charge based on where you'd actually be losing revenue, not to check if a user has messages.
Have an offering that if the user has gold/premium the API rate limits don't count against the client id / are by user again
Etc etc etc.
Alright, I'm done. Congrats if you made it to the end.
submitted by Meepster23 to Save3rdPartyApps [link] [comments]