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Oct/12/2020 wrap-up: \\ War in Karabakh (Artsakh) \\ Battles in north (Mrav), north-east (Talish), and south (Hadrut) \\ Erdogan's cozy relations with terrorist groups \\ jihadists exposed \\ Casualty report \\ Flashback 1990s: first Karabakh war \\ Ilham feels insulted \\ the international response

Prior events: October 11 , October 10, October 9 , October 8 , October 7, October 6, October 5, October 4, October 3, October 2, October 1, September 30, September 29, September 28, September 27.

Russian outlet analyses the terrorist recruitment and deployment operations in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Syria. article: in early September, Turkish police arrested one of ISIS leaders, Emir Mahmud Ozden, who allegedly tried to plot attacks on Turkish soil to pressure the government.
Emir used to be friendly with Turkish special forces in the early 2000s. In 2012 he joined ISIS and began organizing the transfer of jihadists to Syria from Northern Caucasus, Crimea, and Central Asia. Before moving to Syria, the jihadists would stop in Turkey and undergo training. It's unclear what had broken up the relationship between Emir and Turkish special forces in the 2000s.
This July, there were two anti-terror raids in Izmir (Turkey), and Batumi (Georgia), which resulted in the arrest of 78 militants, 9 of whom were Turkish citizens, illegally residing in Georgia.
One of the arrested men in Georgia was Binal Jamgioz, the second in command of Turkish [ultra-nationalist terrorist] organization Grey Wolves (GW). He was engaged in money laundering, arms sales, and recruitment of ethnic Turkic Uyghurs in China for a separatist movement.
Back in 2014, Binal Jamgioz was recruiting militants in Azerbaijan and Georgia to fill the ranks of ISIS in Syria.
[About GW. Turkish special forces were using this group to suppress opposition, assassinate union activists, Kurdish activists, journalists, politicians. They are responsible for the death of thousands of Kurds.]
Binal Jamgioz reports to the leader of GW Devlet Bahcheli, and a billionaire and cash-machine of GW Ismail Chelebi. Chelebi resides in Georgia while remotely managing the GW financing in Turkey, Caucasus, and Central Asia.
In April, Turkey's Erdogan pardoned another large GW donor and a known mafioso Alaattin Chakothi. A question arises: why did Erdogan make so many GW arrests in September if he's also friendly with some GW leaders? Erdogan might be trying to send a message that these radical groups must play exclusively by his rules.
Erdogan had instructed the members of ISIS, GW, Al Qaida, and few others to fight in Libya and Karabakh. The leaders of [ultra-nationalist] GW had refused to fight in Libya due to not seeing a benefit for the Turkic world. Meanwhile, leaders of other Islamic militant groups had refused to fight in Karabakh in support of secular-Shia Azerbaijan.
In the end, they were forced by Erdogan to agree to fight, in exchange for freedom.
The full article contains more info about Karabakh. The above translation is a fraction of it:

50 more jihadists are reported dead

Middle East reporter says 50 more Syrian militants were killed in Artsakh. Among them are Ibrahim Jum'a and Ahmed Lahalak from Rastan. The 50 bodies will arrive at the Hiwar Kilis crossing soon.
The source is a fighter with the Levant Front, a Turkish-backed group from Rastan. He personally knowns the two aforementioned militants.

Ilham Aliyev feels personally insulted by Russia

The overly self-conscious autocrat of Azerbaijan, who recently resorted to using camera filters to make his skin appear bronzed on TV, feels personally insulted by Russian media outlets for not being pro-Azerbaijan enough.
"I have always said that Russians are attracted to Azerbaijan not only by cuisine, beaches, history, but also by the fact that they feel comfortable, they feel in their environment. They talk to people in Russian. You probably know that nowhere there are so many schools in Russian as in Azerbaijan.
But you have already spent several days here and you know how the factor of the Armenian occupation influences the mood of the people. People catch every word, every gesture, every facial expression.
And, of course, I will tell you frankly: during these two weeks, when on some Russian channels we see rabid anti-Azerbaijani propaganda, falsification, manipulation, an unbalanced composition of talk show participants, when the Azerbaijani people are insulted, the president of Azerbaijan is insulted on the leading Russian channels - this, of course, does not add credibility to Russia," Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in an interview with RBC.
(Context: prominent Azeri reporter was fired from Russian media outlets for justifying the bombing of an Armenian church in Shushi. Russian prime-time TV shows are critical of Azerbaijan for bringing Turkey and jihadists into the conflict.)

the ethnic minority oppression and their history of pushing for independence from Azerbaijan

CivilNet outlet: during the Karabakh pro-independence movement in 1988, when ethnic cleansings of Armenians were committed by Azeris, the ethnic Udis, who were predominantly Christian and very close to Armenian, even with their first names, were also forced to flee Azerbaijan. Most Udis moved to Russia but some had settled in Armenia's Noyemberyan region.
During the first Karabakh war, two minorities were "active" in Azerbaijan. Lezgins created the "Sadval" movement in 1990 to preserve their ethnic identity.
The second movement was by Talysh, led by Aylakram Gumbatov, who even managed to establish the Talysh Republic in the southern Lenkoran region, for a brief period.
Lezgins, who live in northern Azerbaijan, live on the Azeri and Russian sides of the border. Talysh, who live in the south, are divided between Iran and the Azerbaijani border.
There are no widespread attempts by ethnic Talysh and Lezgins to establish independence today. Aylakram Gumbatov, the leader of the self-proclaimed Talysh Republic in the 90s, was later arrested and sentenced to death but was subsequently pardoned and exiled.
"Artsakh could serve as a role model and allow these persecuted Azeri minorities to settle in Artsakh and have representation in Artsakh Parliament."
Interview with ethnic Talysh journalist Zabil Magerramov:
March, 5, 2019: an interview with another Talysh activist Zakharaddin Ibrahimi.

a few more things from yesterday

Tens of thousands of Armenians gathered in Los Angeles in support of Artsakh. They marched to the Turkish consulate to condemn the aggression. They beamed the Artsakh flag on the Turkish consulate building.
NY Post Editorial Board: Erdogan’s proxy war in Armenia in an ugly echo of Turkey’s genocidal campaign century ago.
On Sept. 27, Azerbaijan resumed its conflict with Armenia, accusing it of unprovoked attacks. At issue is the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, a mountainous territory of 150,000 people (mostly ethnic Armenians) that is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but claimed and governed by Armenia since an earlier war.
The Azeris are plainly the aggressors: They not only outnumber the Armenians 3-to-1, they’ve been modernizing their military with a huge assist from the Turks.

October 12th arrives / the battlefield / international response

8:31 MoD: the front lines were relatively stable-tense last night. Azeris are shelling the southern front right now.
9:02 Artsakh army: the northern, north-eastern, and southern fronts were active. All the Azeri attack attempts were repelled. They sustained heavy human and equipment losses. Their ongoing artillery fires are being suppressed with appropriate measures.
10:32 army: the operation to locate and destroy the Hadrut infiltrators continues. Azeris accumulated large backup forces with an attempt to enter the city. There are fierce battles. ,
11:28: Artavazd Knyazyan, an Armenian-Spanish businessman, has posthumously received the title of Artsakh Hero.
11:39 army spokesman: I have repeatedly referred to the fact that it is not so appropriate to indicate clear positions, landscapes, even settlements at this stage of the war. The war is fierce, the Armenian army is fighting hard against the Turkish-Azerbaijani forces, which is several times larger and is fully supported by the Turkish air force, other intelligence systems, a large number of mercenaries, terrorists, and private military organizations. The Armenian army is resisting these forces with great success, with such success that even international experts mention it.
According to the tactical-operative necessity, the defense army carries out both retreat and change of lines, as well as attack and counterattack. Trust our army, we will win.
12:30: soldiers released a video from the front lines.
12:58 army: the losses from the Azeri side: 4919 soldiers (one Lt. Colonel today), 4 TOS (Solntzepyok?), 514 tanks and armored vehicles, 17 aircrafts, 16 helicopters, 168 drones, etc. ,
13:26: army released footage showing the destruction of another Azeri AN-2 drone.
13:38: Azeri media reports that the Azeri govt is accumulating more riot gear and water trucks to disperse possible demonstrations. "Some residents aren't happy that the govt keeps the data about casualties secret."
The war resulted in large migration from bordering cities Ganja, Terter, Barda, Gerambo towards Baku. Azeri Telegram channels earlier shared a video showing large vehicle traffic near a Baku suburb called Kherdalan. The police blocked the road to prevent them from reaching Baku.
Azeri Twitter began sharing a hashtag that demands answers from Aliyev.
14:23: Artsakh president Arayik met the veterans of the first Karabakh war. "In this dire state, we must all stand up as one."
CivilNet recalls the first Karabakh war in 1990 to draw comparisons: today, the heaviest battles are in southern borders between Horadiz and Jabrayil; it's about a 15km section. This isn't new. In the 90s, when Azeris attacked, that's where their Operation Ring was carried out. It was around Hadrut.
In the winter of 1994 when Azeris made their last push, we lost a lot of lands there, then recaptured some of it. The line of contact stopped between the Armenian and Azeri towns of Horadiz (both similarly named). Those 5 months were Aliyev's last push. Armenians suffered 2,000 deaths and Azeris 5,000.
The situation was also dire in 1992 when Abulfaz Elchibey won the elections and started a new war. Azeris captured Martakert and Shahumyan in a few weeks. They captured 40% of Karabakh. That's what I call "dire".
Another dire situation was in 1991 and Karabakh leader Leonard Ter-Petrosyan went to Baku to negotiate with Azeri president Mutallibov.
Another dire one was in 1992 when the Lachin corridor with Armenia was about to be blocked. At the time, Azeris controlled the northern Qarvachar region and were pushing south to cut off Artsakh from Armenia. Only a few kilometers were left from the Lachin corridor.
How did Armenians change the course? It was the Armenian political unity, cold-heartedness, lack of panicking, good governance, problems within Azerbaijan.
Ceasefires have been broken before. On April 10, 1992, while the Russian delegation was there for negotiations, the Azeri army entered Maragha village and massacred dozens of civilians. The war isn't easy to stop; it's expected that today's ceasefire is hard to achieve.
14:37: European Parliament MP Jaromir Stetina has called for the official recognition of the Artsakh Republic. "What is happening now is dictator Aliyev's policy towards small Artsakh. In order for all this to stop, the international community, and first of all European Union, must recognize Artsakh as an independent state."
14:52: Russian MFA says it's important to follow the ceasefire agreement reached in Moscow. ,
15:22 army: we shot down an Azeri Su-25 jet in the north. The Turkish F-16 jets continue to accompany and aid the Azeri jets.
Hours later: at first Azeris denied losing Su-25, then their front line administration confirmed it, without realizing that we had already confirmed it. ,
15:25: Los Angeles Lakers player Danny Green expressed solidarity with Armenians, saying "they want peace but are under attack now". Lakers won their 17th NBA champion title yesterday and tied it with Boston.
15:27: British journalist Dominic Lowson wrote an article for The Sunday Times, in which he criticized Boris Johnson for his silence over Turkish aggression.
He reminded that Johnson's great grandfather was a Turkish man named Ali Kemal who was murdered in Turkey and had an Armenian name written on his body for his support for Armenians and the condemnation of the Armenian genocide.
The article notes that Artsakh has already voted to be independent from Azerbaijan.
15:47: the Armenian side reaffirms commitment to the humanitarian ceasefire if Azeris do the same.
16:25: Armenian MFA met his Russian colleague and spoke about Azerbaijan's involvement of jihadists, "which poses a threat to the whole region."
15:07: PM Pashinyan held a meeting with non-parliamentary and opposition parties (HHK, ARF, etc.) to discuss various topics about independence recognition, security, possible official military agreement with Artsakh, etc.
The ambassador to several states entered the government building after the meeting. Pashinyan urged the ambassadors to recognize Artsakh republic during the meeting, "which will help end the humanitarian crisis."
Ruling party MP says that Armenia should recognize the Artsakh Republic only after another state does. , , , ,
15:10: Armenians have intercepted a radio communication of Azeri Syrian jihadists near southern borders. Some segments are presented, about how they discuss miserable conditions, mistreatment by Azeri commanders, snipers shooting some Azeris in the back in case of surrender, them being told to be careful not to shoot at the Iran border, etc.
15:17: Galina Simova, the community leader of the 1,500 ethnic Russian community of Artsakh, has asked Vladimir Putin to take steps to stop the bombardment of civilian settlements and to "fight the Syrian militants in Karabakh just as Russia fights them in Syria because they are a direct threat to Russia, too."
16:51 Armenian MFA: we agree to the installation of a ceasefire verification mechanism across the border, but Azerbaijan refuses.
16:59: the Russian reporter Yuri Kotenok, who was targeted by Azeri drone and severely wounded while inside a church in Shushi, is still in Armenia. Doctors advised against airlifting him to Russia for now. He is feeling better after the surgery.
17:14: Armenians held a demonstration in Luxemburg near the EU building.
17:17: video showing the destruction if a few more Azeri drones.
17:24: the European Parliament has received the report written by Artsakh Human Rights Ombudsman about Azerbaijan's crimes against Artsakh civilians in Sep-Oct.
17:30 U.S. Congressman Tony Cardenas: We must immediately end security assistance to Azerbaijan and Secretary Pompeo must make it clear to Turkey that it cannot continue to fan the flames of violence. The U.S. leadership cannot be silent while the people of Nagorno-Karabakh suffer.
17:38: Chief conductor of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra Lior Shambadal expressed solidarity with Armenians. "I am proud of the Armenian spirit as you defend your beautiful country and wonderful culture."
17:59: the list of the names of deceased soldiers has been updated since yesterday, to 525 confirmed. ,
18:07: yesterday, several Israeli scientists wrote an open letter to their govt, asking to stop the weapon sales to Azerbaijan. Israel Charny, the executive director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem, believes most Israelis support Armenia.
He called Erdogan a murderer who oppresses Kurds in Syria and has set his eye on Jerusalem. "President Reuven Rivlin supports the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, but as a president, he has fewer powers than when he was the speaker of the Parliament."
18:08: the govt of Azerbaijan has launched a criminal case against the Russian WarGonzo journalist Semyon Pegov, who has been actively documenting the Azeri war crimes against civilian settlements in Artsakh.
Pegov is charged with "illegal entry to Azerbaijan" (Azeris consider Artsakh their territory) and "making calls against the Azerbaijani state."
In other news, Russian authorities are investigating a Russia-based Azeri propagandist Saadat Guliyev. The latter publicly stated that he wishes for the aforementioned Russian reporter Semyon Pegov to die [from an Azeri bombardment] in Artsakh. "Armenian citizens should not shield the military reporter," he added.
After that statement, prominent Russian TV hosts became furious and called for Russian authorities to launch a felony case against Saadat Guliyev, including for inciting ethnic hatred, which is a sensitive topic in Russia due to its ethnic diversity. The authorities are investigating and will decide whether to charge Guliyev.
18:34: footage showing the aftermath of Armenian troops capturing possibly one of the hills near the northern Mrav mountains. Date unclear.
18:03 army spokesman: Azeri media outlets have claimed that their artillery shells "caused heavy damage on Armenian soldiers who were retreating towards Red Bazaar in the south".
The Azeri propaganda machine, as usual, distorts the reality, trying to prove at all costs that they control Hadrut. It's a naked statement by Aliyev.
The operation to blockade and destroy the Hadrut infiltrators continues. The operative situation is under the full control of our army.
19:13 Artsakh official: the heavy battles continue near Hadrut and in the south. Our army responds proportionately. ,
19:19: the Conservative party of Estonia, part of the ruling coalition, has urged Turkey to "stop sending the jihadists to Karabakh front."
"We are concerned about the large-scale military aggression unleashed by the Republic of Azerbaijan against the Republic of Armenia and the Artsakh Republic on September 27. We call on the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately stop the bombing of civilian infrastructure."
19:24: MoD of Russia and Turkey discussed the situation in Syria, Libya, and Artsakh.
19:33 Armenian MFA: Turkey, being unable to achieve its goal, is actively preventing the establishment of the humanitarian ceasefire signed in Moscow. The army of Azerbaijan, being under the control of Turkey, continues the military actions and the attack on civilian settlements.
19:35: watch out for fake GoFundMe pages.
20:11: Armenian hackers stole $20,000 from a bank account that collects funds for the Azeri army, used it all on purchasing sex toys from Amazon, and wrote the Azerbaijani Government building address as the shipping address. [link 404]
20:46: Turkish internet regulators have blocked several Armenian government websites in Turkey.
20:57: the Armenian delegation to PACE has presented Azerbaijan's war crimes against Artsakh civilians and urged PACE member-states to recognize the independence of Artsakh.
21:21: Belgian-Armenian musician Sevak Avanesyan gave a performance in Shushi's St. Ghazanchetsots church that was earlier bombed by Azerbaijan twice.
21:32 Ombudsman: 31 civilians have died in Artsakh since the beginning of the war.
22:00 army spokesman's briefing: Azeris refused to follow the ceasefire. Since its beginning, they launched an attack in 3-4 directions. A heavy weapon was used near Martakert. In this recent period, Azeris lost 1 jet, 3 drones, and 200 soldiers.
Turkish air force helped the Azeris to conduct 36 flights, during which we downed an Azeri Su-25 jet near north-western Qarvachar (near Mrav mountain). This region is less intense than the south.
Throughout the day, battles continued in the south. We stopped their advancement and pushed them back near Hadrut. The city is under our control.
Azeris refuse to accept the ceasefire to exchange bodies because that would mean the introduction of international mediators (Red Cross), which they don't like.
The north-eastern village of Talish is not "under Azeri control". Their forces are stationed on the Talish outskirts. The regrouping activities made by us in this northern section allowed them to publish videos from Talish. Once again, the positions can change quickly and I ask you again not to fixate on a specific location during a large war.
Hadrut is completely under our control. There were, and maybe still are, certain Azeri groups on the outskirts.
The drone attacks are still with the same intensify but the artillery is weaker now.
We will win.

the donations continue

Ajarabet betting firm donated 50mln Drams To All Armenia Fund. Another 400mln from IRS's savings fund. ,
Kylie Jenner has joined the social media campaign to raise awareness and urged donations to
Russian-Armenian businessman Samvel Karapetyan (Tashir) has donated another $3m.
The Armenia Fund has received $100m in donations so far.
A video from a volunteer group's office showing the humanitarian aid collected by ordinary people

in other news

The Constitutional Court judge Arman Dilanyan has been elected by fellow judges as their new president. The previous nominee, Edgar Ghazaryan, had failed to secure 5 votes.
You've read 3388 words.
U.S. tax-deductible donations:
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Philly's Notrious Weekly Watchlist 9/27

Been posted but figured Id share my watchlist here as well
9/27 WEEKLY WATCHLIST [P.S. Only enter positions you feel the most comfortable with. Your money is your soldier only send him into the battle you think you'll win. Some of these I have taken positions. Some I am looking to take positions. I've posted how many shares I own of what multiple times ]
[💎-Long time gold][⁉️-Could go both ways][🚀-I think this is gonna shoot up][🔥-This imo is gonna be a fire stock to make money off of just dont get dumped on][⚠️-Already ran a bit be careful][👀-Watching this one closely][⭐- Huge Catalyst or info]
⭐$TRUMP PUMP - 500b to Black owned businesses. These are stock that are HIIIIIGH risk HIGH reward! [🍊]⭐
$UONE - HEAVY support at $3.60. Could push a gap up to $9.26/$10.41/$12🍊
$UONEK - Support $0.72/$0.86. Could push a gap up to /$1.80/ $1.90/ $2.13🍊
$CARV - Support $5.75/$6.50. Could push a gap up to $8.20/$11.40🍊
$BYFC - Support $1.49/$1.67. Could push a gap up to $2.61/$3.60🍊
$IZEA - ⭐Shake Shake Shake. Sept 30th release date. 4hr MACD 🐮Weekly MACD🐻. Daily BolBands squeezing could be 🐻 or 🐮. Heavy support $0.92. Resistance $0.97/$1.02/$1.08🔥🚀👀
$FBIO - ⭐October 10th FDA approval. Support $3.41/$3.72/ $3.90. Resistance $4.17/$4.45/ $4.62🔥🚀⚠️
$ADMP - ⭐FDA Nov 15th.FDA Likey Approved. 4hr MACD 🐻 ⭐GOLDEN CROSS coming on the 4hr⭐ OPTIONS ARE BEING SUPER SLEPT ON HERE! [Low risk HIGH reward] 4hr HAMMER DOJI🔨Support: / $0.51/$0.59/ $0.60 /$0.70 Gap up to: $0.84/ $0.91 /$1.14. 👀🔥🚀💎
$SMLP - ⭐NANO float! Support $0.57/$0.67. I forsee a very VERY likely gap up to $0.97/$1.38.🔥🚀👀
$SESN - ⭐4th Q bio news ANYDAY now.. 4hr MACD looking to breach🐮. Support $1.01/$1.25 Resistances $1.36/ $1.44/$1.50🔥🚀👀
$TNXP - ⭐Phase 3 data due ANYDAY! I see an easy $1 push no questions. ⭐I see a future GOLDEN CROSS on 4hr.⭐ ⭐Sept 1st GOLDEN CROSS on Daily⭐Support: $0.62-$0.74 Gap up to $0.85/$0.91/ $0.95/$1🔥🚀👀
$PRTY - ⭐GOLDEN TRIANGLE Aug 20th⭐Holloween is coming up. Buy in $2.63 for the reversal bounce ⁉️This is a constant pump and dump stock. Was $5-7 all last year.Support $1.85/$2.15/ $2.40/ $2.63. Resistance $3.80🔥🚀👀⚠️
$SOLO - Quarterly MACD is just starting up🐮 4hr MACD looking to setup. GODLY Support: $2.36-$2.45. Resistances: $2.65/$2.74/$2.87/ $2.95/$3/$3.14. 96% Shareholders breakeven or at a LOSS! ⭐US Manufacturing Location PR by EoY.⭐🔥🚀💎👀 $GRIL - This company is undervalued in my eyes. Newish emerging fast "healthy" food. Great concept with little to no competition. Daily HAMMER DOJI 🔨Daily MACD Looking to BREACHING🐮 Weekly MACD 🐻⭐Offering at $1.60 ⭐Float is legit NANO sized. Daily RSI UNGODLY OVERSOLD. BolBands squeezing could be 🐮or🐻 I truthfully see $5-7 by EoY on this.💎🔥🚀👀
💰Honorable Mentions💰
$CJJD - Sleeper pick. PAYience. Daily OVERSOLD. 4hr HAMMER DOJI 🔨The last 4/6 years this followed a trend of stagnant and beat up until mid/end October than take off.💎
$NOK - Big 5g provider globally. Honestly think this is being slept one and should move up by EoY to $5+.4hr MACD looking 🐮 Daily HAMMER DOJI 🔨4hDaily RSI MASSIVELY OVERSOLD. 💎🔥
$EVFM - Condoms in 2020? We got birth control lotion. Daily RSI Oversold. Daily MACD🐮 Support $2. Huge gap up to $3. 💎🔥
$CRK - This just like PLUG has a tendency to go Red>Green every other day. Looking at the 10year chart this ALWAYS rebounds to $5. So anything under that Im gonna continue to load.[OIL]💎💎
$NAK - ⭐Trump tweeted the pebble mine will be considered WITHOUT political bias. If approved this will easily go to $4-$5. MASSIVE FLOAT [Yikes] 4hr HAMMER DOJI🔨 Could gap up to $1.35🔥🚀💎
$HHT - ⭐$0.55 OFFERING. DAILY MACD🐮 Might potentially play this with kids all returning to school⁉️🔥
⭐SPAC companies are blank check companies looking to merge. If the merge FAILS you are reimbursed $10.⭐
$AAL - ⭐5.5B fed loan⭐ Support $11.66/$12.21. Resistance $12.81/$13.15/$13.40 /$13.70. GAP to $16.30🔥🚀👀
$PLUG - Alt energy is a thing of the future! Daily BolBands squeezing. Could mean a rip or dip! 4hr MACD 🐮Dont expect the lowest level support to he broken. Support $10.21/$10.93 Resistances $12.22/$13.02/$13.51 👀💎
$DFEN - This is a 3x leveraged ETF! I dont see this falling lower than $9.50-$10. Resistance $11/$11.52 [THIS IS A DAY trade to 2-3day hold MAX]👀🔥🚀
$PLAY - I'm bullish as a bull can be for next Q earnings! Daily HAMMER DOJI 🔨Daily MACD looking to setup⭐GOLDEN TRIANGLE sometime EoM⭐ HUGE Gap up potential to $19/$20. I'd put money on earnings being beaten December 🔥🚀👀⚠️
$SPAQ - [SPAC]I see $25 EoY. Support $11.90/ $12.99 Resistances $14.11/$14.88/$15.55. Fisker is a PR machine. 💎🔥🚀👀
$JMIA - Huge E-commerce in Europe/Africa. Essentially becoming the Amazon out there. 4hr MACD 🐮 ⭐30min forming GOLDEN CROSS⭐ Support $6.33/$7.30/$7.51. Resistance $7.93/$8.36/ $8.70/ $9.66.🔥🚀💎
$LCA - [SPAC] Merging with Golden Nugget[gambling]. Should easily hit $20-$25 in the next 4-6weeks. 💎
$NEE - 4:1 Split could run.Think AAPL & TSLA. Looking to see $278 support bounce. [LONG]💎👀
$SBE - [SPAC]EV charging company. I can see $20 in the near future. 👀💎
$KIRK - ⭐BIG INSIDER BUYS⭐Daily/ 4hr MACD BREACHING🐮 Light support $6.40/$7.05./$7.41 Resistances $8.71/$9.50/$10.50. [LONG]👀🔥💎🚀
$CRSR - Makes competitive gaming equipment. Super sponsors in ESPORTS which are growing vastely. Imo another great long. ⭐I see a bullflag formed on multiple time frames.🐮⭐👀🔥🚀💎⚠️
$RAD - SUPER UNDERVALUED. Mass sell off on Earnings news. This is a great low risk medium ish reward big name company.💎🔥🚀👀
$PENN - Sports betting isn't going anywhere. Imo this is a GREAT long term hold.4hr MACD 🐮⭐BULL FLAG on 4hr and lower🐮⭐[LONG]👀🔥💎⚠️
$JWN - ⭐$10 puts SWEPT. MM might be pushing this down intentionally.⭐ UNGODLY OVERSOLD. This is the 52wk low. I cant imagine it going much below this. I am gonna slowly start loading up.[LONG]🔥🚀💎👀
🤑Notable Earnings🤑
$MU 29th AH⁉️
$BBBY - 1st PM [Puts]⭐⭐
$DAL - 8th PM📈[Calls]
$JNJ - 13th PM⁉️
$JPM 13th PM⁉️
$UAL - 13th PM/AH?📈[Calls]
$BAC 14th PM📈[Calls]⭐
$WFC - 14th PM⁉️
$PYPL Estimated 18th ⁉️
$TUP Estimated 20th📈[Calls]
$LOGI Estimated 20th📉[Puts]
$LRN - 20th PM/AH?📈[Calls]⭐
$TXN - 20th PM/AH?📈[Calls]
$SNAP - 20th PM📉[Puts or Strangle]
$HOG - 20th PM⁉️
$NEE - 20th PM 📉[Puts]
$LMT - 20th PM📉[Puts]
$RTX - 20th PM📈[Calls]
$SKX - 20th AH 📉[Puts or Strangle]
$NFLX - 20th AH📈[Calls]⭐
$SIX - 20th PM/AH?📈[Calls or Strangles]
$BA - 21st PM📈[Calls]⭐
$SAVE - 21st PM/AH?📈[Calls]
$ORLY - 21st PM/AH?📈[Calls]
$MSFT - 21st AH📈[Calls]
$EBAY - 21st AH📉[Puts or Strangles]
$CMG 21st AH📈[Calls or Strangles]
$KO Estimated 21st📈[Calls]⭐
$AAL - 22nd PM📈[Calls or Strangles]⭐
$T - 22nd PM📈[Calls]
$INTC 22nd AH📈[Calls]⭐
$AGC - 2x silver. Aka silver -1% AGC -2%. This is a day or swing trade. Depreciates
$SLV - Long term silver hold
$JNUG - 2x Gold. Same as AGC but for gold
$NUGT/$GLD - Long term gold holds
$SPXS - 3X Inverse of SPY [The overall market] Spy +1% SPXS -3%. Spy -3% SPXS +9% [top 500 companies]🐻🐻
$SQQQ - Same as SPXS except top 100 companies🐻🐻
$VXX - Fear index/Volatility Index. This goes up with market feaunsurity. USUALLY inverses $SPY
$MESO - Priority FDA Reviewed Sept 30th. 8-2 Voted beneficial⭐
$FBIO - FDA Oct 10th, P1 results due Sept 19th-21st [same drug as TRVN]⭐
$ATXI - Oct 10th [same drug as TRVN]⭐
$ZSAN - Oct 20th
$SPPI - Oct 24th
$KALA - Oct 30th
$MRK - Oct 30th
$SUPN - Nov 8th ⭐
$ADMP - Nov 15th⭐
submitted by Philly19111 to pennystocks [link] [comments]

Is Moderna the new Theranos? Or the Nikola for vaccines ?

My fellow Degenerates,
Here is something I've been pondering over for quite some times and hopefully you can use your leftover brain cells to bring clarity.
I'm sure almost everyone here knows what the fuck Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) is and if you don't, google it. The senseless testosterone filled crazies in the financial market and some of our proud fellow degenerates helped raise the price of this stock from its lowest point of $17 in January to the current high of $72 (reaching $94 at some point).
Of course, this was in large part thanks to the over $1 billion received from the government.
But still, How the fuck does a company that never brought any products whatsoever to market (in its 10 years of existence) suddenly becomes the "leader" in the race for vaccine development for COVID-19?
What on earth justify the current valuation? I'd give them a pass and understand if the company was led by a semi-hot blond that charms the world with her captivating red lipstick, channeling her inner steve job and with a voice that sounds like a drag-queen and a post-op transgender had a baby… (I see you Holmes, call me when you get out of jail). But nope, it's led by just a random french dude. A FRENCH DUDE.
Adding to this shit cocktail, i digged deeper and some few concerns came up:
  1. Moderna's technology is unproven: Instead of injecting patients with therapeutic proteins, all of Moderna's new drug candidates deliver messenger RNA (mRNA) or genetic blueprints for therapeutic proteins. This idea is decades old, but drug candidates that use this approach have never succeeded in a late-stage clinical trial. Injections of Moderna's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate have been shown to lead to the production of antibodies that glom onto the coronavirus and prevent it from entering host cells. This only seems like a big deal if you've never paid much attention to new vaccine development. Sadly, new vaccine candidates that lead to the production of antibodies don't always protect volunteers from infection as well as hoped.
  2. Troubling track record: The company has not yet brought a vaccine to market, but it has a variety of vaccines for infectious diseases in its pipeline. It doesn’t publish its work in scientific journals. What is known has been disclosed through press releases. Moderna's been trying to develop mRNA drugs since 2010 and despite a decade of trying mRNA-1273 will be its first candidate to begin a phase 3 clinical trial. It isn't unusual for new drugmakers to go an entire decade before a pivotal trial success, but Moderna hasn't advanced anything past mid-stage testing yet.
  3. Relative inexperience: the company — which has never produced an approved vaccine or run a large trial — has squabbled with government scientists over the process, delayed delivering trial protocols and resisted experts’ advice on how to run the study, according to three sources familiar with the vaccine project. The sources said those tensions, which have not been previously reported, have contributed to a delay of more than two weeks in launching the trial of the Moderna’s vaccine candidate, now expected in late July. Some of the disagreements have stoked concerns over the young biotech firm’s relative inexperience and what the sources described as its lack of staff and expertise to oversee the most critical phase of human trials. The U.S. government is not facing similar problems with established drugmakers, such as AstraZeneca Plc(AZN.L) and Johnson & Johnson(JNJ.N), working on other leading vaccine candidates, the sources said.
  4. Results secrecy: While Moderna’s preliminary results were promising, the study provided no details — no charts, no graphs, no numbers, nothing published in a journal. No scientific evidence apparently
  5. Moderna Executives' Stock Sales: "On a scale of one to 10, one being less concerned and 10 being the most concerned," said Daniel Taylor, an associate professor of accounting at the Wharton School, "this is an 11." Taylor said Moderna's stock-selling practices appear well outside the norm, and raise questions about the company's internal controls to prevent insider trading. Since January, CEO Stéphane Bancel has sold roughly $40 million worth of Moderna stock held by himself or associated investment funds; Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks has sold around $60 million; and President Stephen Hoge has sold more than $10 million. The stock sales first came to widespread notice after Moderna announced positive early data from a vaccine trial in May. As Moderna has been developing its coronavirus vaccine, two executives, including the Chief Medical Officer, have sold all their stock holdings in the company. The General Counsel has sold nearly all of her holdings.
In brief, is moderna the new theranos? Yay or Nay?
To get your freak on with more dodgy red flags, see below:
submitted by toxic_masculinity27 to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

With the return of College Football (possibly) right around the corner, here are some of the best websites/apps I've found over the years to be great resources. What are your favorites?

Updated list for 2020!
First and foremost, /CFB of course. No explanation needed, we're all here.
CFB Discord Server - The sub also has a Discord server!
NCAA Scores - No clutter, live scoreboard, search by top 25/conference/all games.
Game Viewing Guide - Great website to quickly see what games are playing on what channel and when with a nice visual guide. - Lists all games, what channels they're on and has links to stream games through the official network's website (FSGo, WatchESPN, CBSSN, etc.). All games are in central time.
Vegas Insider - Spreads/betting lines.
CFB Poll - Direct link to the /CFB poll.
CFB inline flair - Quickly access all the inline flair on /CFB.
506 Sports - Viewing guide which includes the commentators for each game (recommended by mergaam).
My Team is Better Than Your Team - A site fully devoted to the transitive property. Nothing important will be learned but fun to play with. (recommended by bullmoose_atx)
CFB Sports Reference - My favorite resource for all stats CFB.
CFB Stats - Another CFB stats website (recommended by Ron_Cherry)
College Poll Tracker - In depth look at each week's polls. Can see individual pollster's ballots (recommended by BeatNavyAgain).
FB Schedules - "Great resource to quickly see who is playing what game when, especially future year's announced games" (recommended by Mr_Stitches).
College Logos - "Useful if you ever need a quick and dirty image of a school's logo, plus they have a huge archive of most schools logos/history, as well as alternate logos etc." (recommended by Mr_Stitches).
Winsipedia - Great website for comparing two teams all time record against one another (recommended by capcity614).
FBS College Football Live Scores, Plays, Schedule - (Android App Link), (iOS App Link) - I haven't tried the iOS version, but this is hands down the best CFB scores app I've found on Android. Live scores, spreads, says what channel the game is on, on the fly notifications for things like 'notify if game is close late in 4th' etc. It even has a dark mode. Free with ads or pay to remove ads.
Podcast Recommendations - /CFB/wiki/podcasts
Link to last year's thread
What sites/apps do you guys use/have bookmarked for College Football?
Edit: typo!
submitted by Notre_Dame_Football to CFB [link] [comments]

Host family from Hell

Hey everybody. Hope all is good. I've decided to tell this story today, because I know a lot of people may have had similar experiences with weird or creepy host families, and know how uncomfortable and awkward it is. This is a tad bit lengthy um... so, yeah.
So basically, some of my classmates in high school and I (along with some teachers) went on a month long trip around Europe to study, and, as we only spent one week in each city, we stayed with host families. The trip had been going amazing, my friend and I, who had chosen to stay together in our accommodation, had had a really good experience with the old lady that we stayed with in the first part of the trip, so we were really excited to meet our next hosts.
We had been encouraged to write an email to each of our hosts a week before we left home, just so that they could get to know us, and we could get to know them, which helped making our first interactions not as awkward. However, I had sent a really nice email to the father of this family, (let's call him John), and he never replied. I didn't think much of it, he probably hadn't seen it, or maybe just didn't want to answer, which is totally valid.
But just when we got off the plane, I got an email from him, which merely said "Hello. Let me know when you get on the bus." I thought it was a bit cold but, I do tend to be a bit overly friendly sometimes, as a result of being extremely socially awkward, so I figured it was probably just me being too intense or something.
A cab took us to their house, and we were greeted with the strongest glare I had ever experienced. Again, me being overly friendly I just kept saying hi, and thanking him for everything and whatnot, but he didn't even say anything, he just kept glaring at us, and then at the taxi driver, until the cab left and he just opened the door and let us inside.
Before he even said hi or even showed us around the house or anything, he made us stay in the narrow entrance, and began telling us the rules of the house, which is normal, but the way he said it was very intimidating, basically stating that we had to take extreme care of his house or we'd have to pay for anything and everything we damaged, which again, valid, but he didn't stop glaring at us, like we had already broken something.
He ordered us to take our shoes off and told us our room was on the third floor, then left, so we had to carry our suit cases up the very very tiny and narrow stairs, not even knowing where we were going because we obviously didn't know the house and he hadn't even showed us the way, but whatever, we thought, it's probably just the awkward introduction.
But the awkwardness had only just started. We were called down for dinner and sat waiting whilst he cooked for us and his daughters. He asked which one of us was vegetarian - that's me. After explaining how stupid and unhealthy I was for not eating meat, and how being a vegetarian would take 10 years of my life (???) he handed me a little bowl of literally 5 pieces of very small lettuce leaves.
Again, kinda weird, but we wouldn't even have dinner at their house, since the school we were exchanging into covered our meals (something im still so glad about) so it was fine.
He started asking really specific, private questions like "How much money have you brought?" , "Where do you keep it so you don't lose it" and "Do you come from rich families?", which made us very uncomfortable, so we just said we didn't know and tried to change the subject. He also ordered us to never speak Spanish (our mother tongue) whenever we were there, even if we were alone, inside or outside the house, which obviously we didn't do because, we... speak Spanish?
Its not like we have trouble speaking English, but it was ridiculous when we were literally talking alone. But whenever he'd hear us talking in Spanish in our room (which I still don't know how he did) he'd come up to scold us for not conversing in English. Yes. He SCOLDED us.
We also later learnt that his wife suffered from a disease (im not going to go into detail for privacy reasons), and we didn't see her around much.
That night my friend took a shower first, then me, and whilst I was getting dressed in the bathroom, he came into our rooms and started talking to us and asking us other questions about us. It was very uncomfortable because I was still in the bathroom and he kept coming near the door to ask me stuff and then turning back to talk to my friend.
But after a while he left and it was fine. We discussed that it was really weird and we were really worried about the money questions because it was his own house, and he could easily just come in the room in the middle of the night open our suitcases and do whatever he pleased.
Next morning we got up really early and came down for breakfast. To be honest, we had kind of high expectations because our last host was absolutely the best. So we were expecting that he would, at least, have a slice of bread for us. Yeah... he didn't, but that's not the bad part.
Whilst the whole family was eating at the table, he told us to just go through all the cabinets and pantry, that there would surely be something to eat. I honestly didn't feel comfortable with raiding this family's kitchen while they were there just staring at me. My friend grabbed a banana cause she didn't know what to do, and I said I wasn't hungry, so we just left, and decided to no longer have breakfast at their house because it was too awkward.
And I know you must be thinking im overreacting, but first of all, I didn't know these people and it was so uncomfortable, besides, my social anxiety didn't help AT ALL, and I just couldn't bear being there.
As I said, since we had dinner at school, we didn't really spend a lot of time with them, we really only showered and slept there and that was it, but somehow in the little time we were at the house, he always found a way to make us feel more and more out of place.
We had to let him know via text when we were coming home, and I´d always be polite, but also friendly, so I'd just say "Hi John ! We are 5 minutes away !" always with a little exclamation mark to seem nice, I guess? But the second night, we arrived home and as we went through the front door, he came stomping his way towards us, absolutely furious, like he was about to punch a wall. He started yelling at me, telling me to never EVER text him or any adult like that again. I was so incredibly confused and scared like, what did I even send to him?
He pulled out his phone and made me read out loud that message. He said normal people do not text like that, that it was very disrespectful, and proceeded to show the text to everyone around the house and asking them what they thought of this, and if anyone had ever texted them like this. He was so angry about an EXCLAMATION MARK!!!!! I was livid inside like, absolutely at the verge of tears and leaving the house. I just said, "Sorry" and went to our room. He then came up smiling like NOTHING had happened and had the absolute audacity to ask "Have you brought any gifts for us?"
We had. We had bought them a beautiful picture frame and lots of sweets from our country. We had spent a lot of money on them. We handed it out to him and he was acting like a little kid at christmas. However, when he opened them, he looked at them like we had given him a bag of trash. "This... is it?" he asked frowning. "I thought it was gonna be something better haha.. I figured, since we are letting us stay in our home... but I guess its fine, thanks." He left the room disappointed.
We continued to have really really bad encounters with him, telling us off like we were his daughters that he could just yell at like it was nothing. At night we'd hear screaming, fighting, banging, crying. My friend wanted to contact accommodation services to ask for a host switch because we were truly having a really horrible time, running away from our host to avoid another interaction, but I refused to (I know, dumb), because, firstly I was too shy and scared of what could happen when we told him we were leaving for another home, and also I felt really really bad because of his wife, and I didn't want to give the family a hard time when they were probably already struggling with medical care, and hosting was their only income. She was mad at me for a bit, but she thought the same as i did, as badly as we wanted to leave. So we decided to suck it up.
We also had gotten lost at some point, while we were on the night bus back home. Luckily there was a teacher from the school who we knew and she walked us home. She asked who we were staying with and we told her we were staying with John, and mentioned it was a bit uncomfortable there. Her face changed a little bit from happy to kind of worried. "Yeah, I know him. We've been told that he is a bit... special, but that's it really, don't worry about it". Yeah try to spend a night in that madhouse and you tell me about it.
When we told John about us getting lost and the teacher helping us he seemed so interested, in a creepy way. He said he knew her and asked us how she was (?), and the creepiest part, he asked us if we knew where she lived. Like, at least two or three times. We had seen her house but we just told him no, because it was very very weird.
The last full day there, he had told us that he probably wouldn't be home when we arrived, since he mentioned he was meeting a "friend" or something, but that he would arrive no longer than 10 minutes after we did.
We arrived home that night and as he'd said, he wasn't home. This time, the only one home was his wife. It was our first time getting to chat with her only. She was so so nice, she seemed genuinely like the only sane person there. We talked for a while actually, and then we thanked her profusely for everything (even though your husband is our nightmare), and told her she had a very beautiful family. Then she stopped smiling and said "You think so? I don't think so, haha, but thank you" and then it was all silence. For about 30 seconds. Neither of us knew what to respond to that, so after a bit we just nervously laughed and said goodnight.
John didn't return until almost midnight. He asked us if we had any laundry to do. I did, some of my clothes I had been wearing for a week and really needed to be washed. But then he said that he would do it, and wouldn't let me go and help or do it myself, and honestly, this might be a reach, but I really didn't want to give him my clothes for some reason, it just felt wrong. So I ended up declining saying I remembered that I actually had washed them, which I knew wasn't believable but there was no way I was giving him my stuff. He kept insisting, asking over and over again if I was sure, and I said I was.
The next morning we were so excited to finally be able to leave that house after a week that felt more like a month. We had our things ready and took our stuff down the stairs to the main entrance, waiting for the cab to pick us up. Then, he came downstairs, and started to make small talk with us.
He kept looking out of the window over and over again, like he was looking for something. We thanked him for the hospitality (which wasn't provided but, you gotta be polite I guess) and he started rambling about how he loved hosting students, that he had been doing this for like, 10 years, and stuff like that.
And then he started saying weird stuff like "But you have to be careful because you don't know who you could be staying with, there's some crazy people, you know" I swear to god I was about to escape, getting ready to run, when the cab arrived, and he started suddenly acting super happy and nice, like we had the greatest relationship. He hugged my friend and then went in to hug me. I reluctantly hugged him back for a second and then went out the door.
As soon as I stepped out of the house he slammed the door shut so loudly even the cab driver looked scared. He glared at us through the little window while we got on the cab and drove off. I've never been so relieved in my life, it was like a weight being pulled off my shoulders. And you bet I blocked that number so quick, glad that I would never have to see them again in my life.
I understand that families have their issues, but that man was absolutely terrifying. Even though Im really thankful I at least had a place to shower and sleep for a week, I´m sorry for anyone that has had to stay with him in over his "ten years of hosting", or may have to in the future.
Don't be like me. If you feel uncomfortable LEAVE. No one is gonna be mad at you. Im lucky nothing more than the overall weirdness and verbal abuse happened to me, but there's tons of cases in which, these stories, take a much darker turn. Better safe than sorry.
submitted by littletoenail_ to creepyencounters [link] [comments]

Entitled Mom takes down my posters so that her 9-year-old son can have no competition in dog walking.

Hello people, sorry if I don't use the right terms all the time, I'm not on this subreddit too often, and this story only happened about two or three years ago so I forget a little bit about it. I remembered this becuase my mom brought up her experience with a EM today at her work. (She's a 3rd grade teacher that has many special needs kids in her class, and a EM was arguing with her about wheather her kid should be punished for telling someone they're a sped).
I am a 14M and this happened about two years ago. Here's some background knowledge: so I wanted to make a little extra money because I was into stocks, and I wanted to make money for my future: invest in stocks, buy a car that would last me past high school, etc. I wanted to start making money by dog walking. I started making a poster that showed why I wanted to make money, and I had a dog, he was a medium dog, but I was a relatively strong person and I could handle most sizes of dogs.
So I started printing about 30 copies of posters and started putting them on an electrical post every 200 hundred feet or so. It took about a hour considering I didn't bike. I just followed my daily rutine for the next few days, waiting to get a call from someone to ask about my dog walking. A few days after I put up the posters, I took my dog on a long walk. So I was walking and just about after 30 minutes walking from my house there was no posters. I swear I thought I put them up. I continued my walk and I found less dog posters around this area. After about a hour walk I got home and I looked at where I mapped out where I would put the posters. There was supposed to be posters there.
I called my friend who lives near there and asked him to watch the post and tell me if there was someone taking them down and when. He said sure.
Later that day he called me back asking where the posters are.
Me: "Oops I forgot to mention that I would be putting them up early tommorow before school". This was at about 10:00 pm and My parents wouldn't let me put them up when I was 12, even if I was almost 13.
Friend: "Okay well see then I guess!"
Me: "See you!"
Friend: "Wait, I forgot to say that there was someone (EM) standing near one of the post's for about 20 minutes. Oh and I have seen her before, I think she lives near me."
Me: "Okay, well that's random, bye!"
Friend: "See ya!"
Then next day I put up the posters, and walk to school with my friend becuause I was already over there. It is a normal day at school I tell my friends about it and my friend exaderates about the person standing by the post doing nothing.
After about 10 minutes after I get home, I get a call from my friend (he lives farther from school) saying the posters have been taken down again. I am annoyed at this point so bike over to his house and put one poster right across from his window. We head in and start playing minecraft. I'm not paying much attention, as I'm watching the poster. There is someone maybe in their mid-fourties approaching the poster. I tell my friend and we wait until they are in arm reach of the poster, they might just be looking at it.
Friend: "I think thats the person that was standing at the poster earlier"
Me: "Okay let's go over to them". We approach the EM, as she turns back and gives us the eye. My friend and I quikly act like we were just taking a walk.
Friend: "yep it's the person that was standing at the post earlier"
Me: "okay we should approch her, I'll do that talking". As we approach her, she turns again and this time has the poster in her hand with a firm grip.
Me: "Hello, are you interested in that?" EM huffs and turns again, she was clearly in a bad mood. I say it again, but a little different.
Me: "are you interested in that, I put up those posters, and I can walk your dog if you're interested."
EM: "I don't want you to walk a single dog."
I didn't know what she meant by that. She starts rips off half the poster, with the other half stuck on.
Me: "what are you doing?!?"
EM: "Well sense my son is going to start walking his dog soon, he wanted to make some money, so I want it to be perfect for him."
Me: "well there is enough space for both of us"
EM: "NO"
Me: "well even so, you can't take down my posters, I'm also trying to make money."
EM: "well that doesn't matter, if your parents can afford to live in this neihboorhood then you are fine!" she complains, Then I remember this very distinctively, when she said: "Anyways your too fat and tall to walk a dog, you couldn't walk a puppy, HA!" (She said the HA like marge from the simpsons)
I was really annoyed at this point, (at the time I got mad really easily) I ranted: "Well even if my parents can afford to live here, YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ME AND YOU ASSUME THAT IM FAT, you are a slob and a terrible parent, I bet that you have beenspoiled your whole life!" I know I contadicted myself multiple times in that sentence, but I was mad. My parents could afford to live in the neihboorhood, we live in the bay area, which genrally costs more places than most, but my family didn't have a nice house, we just lived in a nice neihboorhood. And I was not fat, I am really tall, and I have a bit of a large stomach, and it sicks out a bit, but I don't have a eating problem. I'm just built this way.
EM: "I'm going to keep ripping your posters off so that my 9-year-old can walk dogs!"
Friend: "Lady stop, my friend spent a lot of time doing this and if he wants to make money he can, you are doing a bad thing." My friend was very logical, but were twelve so we look like complete idiots.
At this point Friends mom came outside and yelled from accross the street: "Stop being a b**ch EM and stop harrasing my son and his friend!" His mom was more like me, but a adult.
Me: "EM please stop, the reason I want to make money is to invest in my futu--"
EM: "shut the H*** up, you just want to spend it on food, and we all know that!"
I was done with her crazyness. I went back inside with my friend and we continued to play minecraft. I would look back over to the argument at hand. From the looks of it it seems like friends mom was just being mean at this point, not even trying to fix the problem. I was fine with that. His mom let me stay for dinner, and turns out she said some pretty funny things to this woman. After dinner, I took my backpack and was going to go home when I realized I brought a extra poster. My friend and I put up the poster and giggled. I didn't care much about this, becuase it was a great story to tell people, even if I was mad.
This is what I heard about the moms conversation was pretty much like (FM=friends mom): FM said that her parenting skills were the same as an animal who abandons her child at birth. EM was just kept ranting about how the whole world is crazy and no one can tell when someone is trying to be nice, and how we were evil to even suggest that I was equal to her son.
I forget most stuff that heppened then, but I hope that me trying to fill in what I forget was just a hair away from being the same as what actually happened. But I showed my friend what I wrote and he said that it was pretty much what actually happened, but he said that we were playing roblox, not minecraft. I think he was just messing with me though. I don't like roblox, and I don't think I ever did. This woman clearly needs some help, or just someone to snap her back into a realistic state. I feel bad for her that she acts like that on a regular basis, but at the same time it's not okay what so ever, and what ever happened to her, she deserved. My friend says he doesn't see her much anymore, just on holidays. I think she probably moved away and has family or friends that they visit furing the holidays.
I made about $600 before I stopped. I spent about $150 towards stocks, 50$ towards money for going downtown with friends, and about 400$ went towards a new graphics card for my failing one, but I bought the graphics card about 5 months ago.
P.S I'll ask my friend what happened to that poster that we put up before I left, but only if we get 500 upvotes ;)
Edit for the 500 updoots: My friend said that he saw it up for the next few days, but then it was taken down. He said that EM didn't do anything to them, but he said that her house was tp'd before they "moved”, which was about 8 months ago. He said he saw her complaining to the people she hired to get it off. Supposedly the child never ended up doing the dog walking. He says he once saw the dad outside about two weeks after the incident (I'm putting it that way to be dramatic) when his family was outside and said sorry, she will not bother your family again or something.
Edit 2: thanks guys for all the support and the rewards. chatting with my friend about this recently actually brought back our friendship a bit. I dont think I would bring it back up if it wasn’t for you guys: i wouldn’t have planned to post it, and i wouldn’t need to bring it up with him
submitted by TookiePookie to entitledparents [link] [comments]

I grew up in a haunted house

As it says on the tin this is exactly that: my memories of the years I lived in a haunted house aged 8-18. It's a little long but buckle up if you want to hear an actual account of actually living in one and not the Hollywood version. Me and my parents still talk about this but I'm 30 and engaged now in my own home and my parents moved soon after I moved out. I guess I just wanted to get it out there because it's all true and I've tried to explain it to so many people who just don't believe it, I thought maybe this community would hear me.
The lady that sold my parents this house warned us of weird things going on, but my Christian parents ignored it and felt we would be fine. At that time I think they thought it was all bollocks to be honest. It was a fixer upper, but definitly a great house with lots more space than our first. Anyway, as the weeks went by things got a bit weirder. I quickly learnt when playing in the street (this was the 90s), that children in my neighbourhood thought my house was haunted (and to be fair it being an old, tall, victorian house with a rickety over grown gothic pathway, it was creepy to a kid), and there were many horrible stories about things that happened inside. Kids wouldn't come round and play at my house due to this and I earnt a stigma being the new girl that lives in the haunted house at school.
The house was 3 stories high with bannisters running the entire way up and out of no where things started dropping from the top of the house to the lower landing through this bannister gap. Proper poltergeist shit. Ornaments, vases, dog toys that were never upstairs. Our dogs wouldn't go up the top of the house by the attic, all they would do is bark and whimper at the landing and I was also, absolutely terrified of the entire top floor. I was an only child and I wouldn't go upstairs when home alone because it frightened me so damn much. All I can describe it as, is as soon as the light wasn't on upstairs, I could feel a presence there with me. An angry, bitter, cold feeling like a shadow behind me getting bigger and bigger. I'd sprint as fast as I could downstairs and strangely even now more than a decade on I still have bad dreams about my legs slowing down on the final stair case like I'm running through water and something is chasing me.
So anyway, the weird stuff continued. I started knocking on a wall one evening, playing as a kid and to my delight it would respond to me, knocking back. Responding and copying my pattern. My mum started absolutely freaking out at this when I showed her, running outside to demand who was doing knocking to her kid all night, to find just brick wall and air. No one was on the other side. On Halloween we we all heard a scream from the affic only to brave checking it out to find it totally vacant and fine.
By this point, my parents were spooked. Being religious they brought a priest in who informed them the upstairs was very negative spiritually and they should remodel the entirety of it to try and get the spirit out. He told them to gut the attic, bless the area and ask the spirit to leave. Okydokey.
So they began to remodel the attic into a bedroom/ bathroom etc. This spirit did not like this. At one point my father claims his leg was pulled through the floor and sure enough his leg went through the floor into the downstairs bathroom ceiling. Later, when we had a guest in a separate part of the house, all of a sudden part of the ceiling fell on his head for absolutely no reason. The builders said it was a complete fluke and didnt make sense. On the last night of converting the attic I had the worst dream of my life which I will never forget. My bedroom was ensuite so it had 2 doors and both were heavy on hinges (like you couldn't open them without pushing down on the handle), just for reference.
So this dream. I was watching a man and woman argue. The woman was wearing victorian clothes (I likened them to Oliver the musical characters at the time) and the man was in a gentlemens suit. They were arguing back and forth and I couldn't make out thier words clearly, like I was listening underwater. She suddenly looked at me, straight in the eyes and started screaming and pointing to the floor. Now.. Trigger warning because this was terrifying to see as a kid in a dream and nothing I'd ever seen in any film or TV show at that age. On the floor was a dead baby, face down. I woke up, hyperventilating in my bed, thinking it was all over, when I looked down at my own bedroom floor to see the same dead baby, but it was crying and.. Contorting. The woman slammed open my bathroom door (the one on hinges) and ran across my room and out the other door. Both my doors were litterally swinging which was physically impossible without someone standing doing it and all I could hear was screams and cries. I screamed and woke again to my mum shouting for me to wake up, saying she could hear a racket of slamming doors upstairs but when she checked I was tucked up in bed just tossing and turning. I told her my dream and she told me to come sleep with her.
Years later, when I was old enough she admitted to me that they did research on the house after the priest visit and found information that a maid had been pregnant by the house master and forced to kill or abort the baby in the attic. My mum, being spiritual but also Christian said she had tried to make peace with this spirit after learning this.
Nuts ay? This is just a sprinkling of the crazy things that happened over the years in that house.. But I bet your wondering if the conversion etc worked? Well, interestingly it did for us, we all were able to sleep very happily in the new guest room and no more poltergeist stuff went on. There was still an eerie energy in the loft conversion but not a threat. It kinda never felt like it was our home but I'm not sure if old houses ever do. I will say the dogs stood firm and hated the upstairs the entire time we lived there. They never accepted it and would bark still. So nothing really weird happened until years later when I was 17 and I got a new boyfriend (who was awful and abusive in the end), but anyway, we were staying in the converted bedroom up there whilst I was home from uni. I never had told him any of the stories of the house, as we were very new to dating. Anyway we went to bed, watched a movie and fell asleep. I was woken to him screaming saying a victorian woman was standing over me watching me sleep and told him very aggressively that he needs to leave!
I kinda didn't mind that. She had good judgement on him. So yeah, there it is. I didn't believe in ghosts until I lived with one for 10 years! Feel free to ask questions
submitted by bambarella66 to Paranormal [link] [comments]

There's a strange newspaper that's only delivered at midnight...(Part 5)

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
It was Friday night. 10 to midnight. I knew that, right now, the newest edition of the Midnight Paper would be hitting my parents’ welcome mat in a few moments. But I wasn’t there.
I’d decided, after last time, that I wasn’t going to be reading the next article. What if it contained something worse than The Hunger? I couldn’t let it become real. I didn’t want any more blood on my hands.
I sat at the rickety table included in my motel room. Every time I hit a key on my laptop, the table rattled, tilting toward its short leg (which I couldn’t identify for the lift of me). I didn’t mind. I was counting the minutes with each time I hit “refresh” on the search page of Herricks High School’s website. On the search bar was the name “Stephanie Carson.”
I got the Midnight Paper with The Ledge Game article on Friday, September 11th at midnight. One week later, on Friday, September 18 at midnight, I had witnessed a girl jumping off a building to end her life. I read the Midnight Paper with The Removal Doctor article on Wednesday, September 16th at midnight. One week later, on Wednesday, September 22nd at midnight, I had first heard about The Removal Doctor on the local news. That means that it takes one week between getting a Midnight Paper and the article in it becoming true.
If I was right, that night, at midnight, Stephanie Carson would become real. She’d suddenly appear in the Herricks High School website as if she was always enrolled there. No memorial service. No news about a tribute or a plaque going up in her honor…just a page or two about the school’s most gifted student.
Midnight. Just as I hit refresh, a heard three knocks on my motel room door. What? No…it couldn’t….but it was. I opened my door and there, on the patch of filthy rug right in front of my room, was a bundle of black paper bound in black twine.
I grabbed a plastic bag that held the snacks I’d bought at a gas station, put on a pair of rubber gloves, and grabbed a pair of grill tongs. The Midnight Paper dangled off the teeth of the tongs, its strange electricity still somehow crackling through the rubber and making the hairs on my hands stand up. I dropped the paper into the plastic bag and tied it into a tight knot. Then I dropped that bag into another two bags for good measure and tossed them into a dumpster by the ice machine.
By the time I got back, the shitty motel internet had finally loaded the page. “10 RESULTS FOR ‘STEPHANIE CARSON.’” I gripped the sides of the shitty motel table. Would I be too late? Was it tonight?
A few minutes later I opened my motel room door cautiously. The patch of filthy carpet was empty. No new Midnight Paper. I smiled. Maybe I’d gotten rid of it entirely. Maybe not reading one was all it took for it to leave you alone. I went right to the dumpster. The bags I’d hidden the Midnight Paper in were still there. They hadn’t mysteriously vanished. I nodded and got in my car.
By the time I got to the right part of town, the night was cold and bright. Streetlights glinted off of every surface, bouncing off a thousand reflective surfaces and zeroing in on my eyes. The migraine was back in full swing. I was a little used to it by now. I chugged a bit more of my soda and narrowed my eyes. I had a long night ahead of me.
I stopped the car and unplugged my phone from its stand on the dashboard. On the screen was something I wasn’t proud of at all: Stephanie Carson’s Instagram account. It had taken me less than an hour to find it. I won’t write it here, but her username was a simple combination of her name and her volleyball jersey number. It wasn’t set to private either. A little scrolling had led me to a photo of Stephanie and her friends in front of a house that could only be described as “excessive.” It was as close to Cinderella’s castle as you could get while still being attached to a sidewalk. I didn’t know the exact address, but there was a photo of her in front of a street sign with the same group of friends, wearing the same clothes as before. It was easy to guess that they had taken the photo in front of Stephanie’s house and the photo of the street sign back to back.
That same street sign was in front of me now…and a few feet away from it was Cinderella’s castle itself…and one of the lights upstairs was on.
I walked around the block more than a few times, trying to get my story straight. I had to warn Stephanie about Mark Bailey, who she already knew about. But then she’d ask me how I knew what I did…and I was still working that part out. I could show her my posts on here, but knocking on a girl’s door and telling her that I’d posted on Reddit about her murder…yeah. No. I’d be in a straight jacket before morning.
Whatever, I didn’t need to make sense. I didn’t even need to tell her about the posts. I could simply knock on her door and tell her that I’d driven by and seen a strange man peering through her windows. She’d think I’d spotted Bailey and would probably call the cops on him. Problem solved. Then why not call the cops myself? Because they’d ask questions…but she would too…
I sighed. There was seemingly no way to do this without looking as creepy as Mark Bailey himself. I walked up to the front door, held my breath, and knocked. The sound seemed explosive in the darkness, but that was probably just the lateness of the hour amplifying every sound times one hundred. Still, no sound or movement or light came from inside. I knocked again, a little louder this time. A few seconds later, nothing had changed. I was out of options. I bit the bullet and stabbed the doorbell with my finger. The electronic chime echoed through the house, about as subtle as a carpet bombing.
One light went on. Two. Then the whole first floor lit up. I heard muted little footsteps from behind the door as if someone was walking on a carpet. Then the latch turned and the door swung open…and something hit me on the head.
“Wake up, creeper,” a girl’s voice said. I opened my eyes. Then shut them immediately. The brief glimpse of the world I’d gotten had been enough. It was white and blurred. Something cold and hard collided with my cheek, shooting fireworks across my vision. “I said WAKE UP!”
I opened my eyes again. This time the world was a little less blurry. I blinked until the person in front of me came into focus. There, holding what looked like some kind of metal sculpture, was Stephanie Carson.
“There you are,” she said matter-of-factly, “I was worried I’d hit you a little too hard. So. Wanna tell me why you’ve been walking outside my house for the past hour and a half?”
“Mark Bailey,” I said, my voice raspy and little more than a whisper. There was a metallic taste in my mouth that seemed to extend into my lungs. Jesus, maybe she had hit me a little too hard.
“Oh, great. My stalker has a friend.”
“No. Not a friend. He’s going to kill you. Tonight.” That had come out a little more clearly. I would have been pleased with myself, but it was around that time that I noticed that I couldn't feel my hands. One look down and I could see why: my wrists were stuck to the arms of a chair with a ridiculous amount of duct tape. Jeez, had she used one roll for each hand?
Then Stephanie said something that made me forget about how my hands were already turning purple: “I know.”
“What?” I asked, my voice sounding distant and slow as if it was coming from a broken speaker on the other side of the room.
“He’s been stalking me for a long time. He broke in last week and I got a restraining order out on him. He’s close to figuring it out, I can tell. He’s close to losing his shit too. It’s gonna get violent. Whatever. I figure if anyone’s going to do it, it might as well be him.”
I thought back to something Mark Bailey had said in the article, something I thought had just been the ramblings of a convicted murderer: Stephanie had gotten loose and had stood next to the kitchen knives instead of running away, like she was inviting Bailey to use them on her.
I cleared my throat “Aren’t you going to stop him? Don’t you want to?”
Stephanie rolled her eyes like I was annoying her. Scratch the “like,” I was annoying her. “I’ll come back anyway. Well, not ‘me’ me, but it doesn't really matter. It might make my parents look back at me, this version of me, twice. Now we just gotta figure out what to do with you. If my aren'ts get back, they’ll get rid of you and stick you in an acid barrel.”
“What? ‘Aren’ts?’"
“They’re what I call the fake parents that live here. Like ‘aren’t my parents,’ get it? They’re drones. Mindless versions. Not the real deal. Do I have to explain everything to you? So, if I cut you loose, will you leave quietly?”
“But what about Mark-“
“Oh, fuck Mark Bailey! What does it even matter? You think I’m the first one of me to die? The first one to want to?”
I was speechless. That was the last thing I expected her to say. “I can’t feel my hands,” I said finally.
Stephanie nodded. She grabbed a pair of scissors from a desk next to her, and that was the first time I thought to look around. The walls were white, clinical, there were tables upon tables filled with lab equipment around us. It was like a high-end research lab, the kind of place that might be responsible for creating a deadly virus or resurrecting dinosaurs…or making multiple versions of the same teenage girl.
Stephanie cut the tape around my wrists. I winced, the blood shooting back through my bruised wrists felt like acid.
“You can’t let Bailey kill you,” I said, rising slowly.
“Who are you anyway, a teacher at Roslyn?”
“Didn’t you go to Roslyn?” I asked.
“No. That was Monica and Natalie. Stupid of them to send two of us to the same school, right? No wonder Bailey lost his marbles.”
“So you’re not the same person?”
“Wow, you’re all questions, aren’t you? You haven’t even answered mine.”
I told her my name, then went about explaining everything I could about the Midnight Paper and my posts online. I let her read through them on my phone.
It was then that I saw it, that “strange intelligence” that Bailey had mentioned. Her face came alive and I could almost see millions of hyper-complex gears turning in her mind.
“Wormhole might explain it,” she said finally, then shook her head. “Scratch that. Simulation. Wormhole was stupid. Only…hmmm. You said you got a paper tonight, right? And that it was still in the dumpster?”
“Yeah,” I said, catching up.
“Let me take a look at it.”
“I don’t-“
“Think that’s a good idea? Neither was touching the fucking thing, breathing its fumes, or trying to burn it,” Stephanie said.
“Yeah, I guess you have a point.”
We moved from one room in the basement to another, and I saw the shelves filled with the occult books that Mark Bailey had mentioned.
“Those are mine,” Stephanie said. “Can’t rule anything out, right?”
I shrugged, not sure what she was talking about. Then I checked my phone…and my heart stopped. 4 AM. Mark Bailey was due any second.
Stephanie didn’t seem to notice, she was moving so fast she was practically a blur. By the time I had gotten to the foot of the stairs, she was already in the kitchen.
That was when I heard it. A man’s voice. Mark Bailey’s voice. “What are you?” he asked, “you’re Monica-“ then, as quickly as it had appeared, Bailey’s voice was cut short.
I rushed up the stairs and slid into the kitchen. There, on the tile floor, Mark Bailey lay in a pool of his own blood. His neck was cut open. Stephanie tossed a bloody knife into the sink.
“Don’t worry,” she said, “my aren'ts will take care of it. Where’d you park your car?”
It was almost dawn by the time we were standing in front of the dumpster. I pulled the plastic bags out and cut them open slowly with the pair of scissors from the lab. Stephanie’s face lit up the second she saw the black bundle roll out.
Before I could stop her, she ripped the twine off and unrolled the Paper…then she frowned. She turned the paper toward me. “Can you read it?” she asked.
I nodded.
“I can’t see anything. Just black paper. No words written in white ink. I bet whoever appears in the articles can’t read them. Because I’m not real. The Paper must’ve created me like you thought.” She was actually smiling as she said it.
“Doesn’t that bother you?”
“No! You fucking kidding me? I’m thrilled! I’d much rather be created by a mysterious newspaper than my fucking parents. Read it to me,” she ordered.
Some of the words were already being erased. But I read the article to her anyway. This was what it said:
It’s only been two days, but the residents of a small town in upstate New York have already grown accustomed to it. There’s a strange shape in the sky that isn’t going away…and it looks like a person.
The event began sometime after dawn on ———— morning. It’s now ————, and the clouds aren’t going anywhere.
“It’s not just a shape,” says —————— a lifelong resident of ————. “There’s light in there. Like no matter how dark it gets, there’s something in there that’s shining. Like a little sun!”
The apparition is certainly uncanny. It’s a little shape that "looks like a person in the sky.” It has all the parts you’d expect: a head, two arms (complete with their hands), and two legs (plus their feet). The arms and legs are pointed at an angle so that they make an “X” shape. “It looks like the Da Vinci man,” one woman said. She’s not the only one. Many people have drawn the comparison between the man-shaped object and Da Vinci’s iconic Vitruvian Man.
If this was only an oddly-shaped object, it wouldn’t have made as big of an impact on the residents. Indeed, there’s a strange “glow” to it, as if it reflects the sunlight in such a way that the entire human shape is lit up at once. When the sun goes down, the “glow” remains, shining like a big star that often hides behind thick clouds.
This is an age where everyone has a smartphone in their pocket, a gadget that doubles as an expensive camera. So why haven’t you heard of this before? The answer’s simple: it’s too far away.
“It’s about the size of a fingernail,” a resident explained, “just hold your little finger up to the sky and imagine something floating up there that’s as big as the nail.”
That’s not very big at all. A photography expert explained that “most phone cameras aren’t particularly good at taking photos of something that small at a distance, especially against a bright sky.”
As a result, most of the images that have made their way to social media show a blurry speck against a blazing white sky. At night, the results are even worse, at best capturing a circle of light, at worst simply showing a dark sky.
Meteorologists, astronomers, and aficionados of aerial phenomena have indeed regarded the apparition as “a trick of the light.” “I think it’s a kite,” said a local man who owns a high-end telescope, “some kind of man-shaped kite that someone let go of, maybe as a prank.” A meteorologist stated that “it’s easy to explain. It could be any number of things ranging from drones to homemade balloons. It’s nothing natural, though, certainly not a meteor and definitely not a sign of the end times.”
So how exactly did this apparition become known as “the perfect being?” A local news station was interviewing a group of onlookers when they were approached by a “strange” man. “There was something off about him for sure,” stated ———————- a veteran field reporter who isn’t shaken up by “weirdos.” “He just walked up to the camera when we were interviewing another eyewitness and saying that he made it and that it’s the Perfect Being. A weirdo. A kook. We get too many to count. But it caught on. Mostly because people were making fun of the guy.”
The strange aerial phenomenon known as “The Perfect Being” still hasn’t disappeared from the sky. Far from it. It’s actually gotten a little bigger. “It’s like it’s getting closer,” said another resident, “dropping down slowly. Like it’s falling.” Some residents have taken it upon themselves to study this steady rate of decline in a scientific manner. “If it keeps dropping at its current rate, it’ll be down in about a week,” says a young girl who looks about as serious as someone working for NASA, “it won’t drop here, it’ll drop the next town over.”
We’ll just have to wait and see if this amateur astrologer is right on the money.
When I was done reading, Stephanie was smiling again.
“What does it mean?” I asked, already getting used to relying on her superior intelligence.
“Nothing much. Just that we’ve got a doctor’s appointment,” she said.
Part 6
submitted by MidnightPaper to nosleep [link] [comments]

The truth about the dbrand Grip...

The truth about the dbrand Grip...
Grips. Let's talk about 'em.
If you've spent any amount of time on this subreddit, you've likely seen at least one post about a Grip case that has fallen apart. Most of you have seen several. We know this because we've seen every single one. We’d like to see less of them. Ideally, none.
Over the past 18 months, we’ve been on an odyssey to fix the underlying problem. What follows is a chronicle of that journey.
Our objectives in writing this post are three-fold. There will be a tl;dr version at the end of this post, summarizing each of the three:
  1. Offer an in-depth technical explanation as to why Grip cases fall apart.
  2. Outline the improvements we've made to the Grip case to mitigate and eventually solve the issue.
  3. Provide some much-needed context as to how widespread the issue truly is, and what our next steps are for affected Grip SKUs.
Since you're still here, you must be in it for the long haul. Assuming an average reading speed of 250 words per minute, this is going to take you nearly 24 minutes to get through. We'll try to make it the most informative 24 minutes of your life. Let's get started.


Why Do Grips Fall Apart?
Most phone cases are made out of a single material. The material itself varies from case to case, though the most common is Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU). The Grip case, as a point of comparison, is made of two different materials: an elastomer and a polycarbonate.
The word elastomer is a combination of the words elastic and polymer. That's because it describes polymers that have elastic properties - like the one that forms the outer rim of your Grip case. The elastomer that we use is responsible for two critical properties of the Grip case: impact protection and grip.
If you fell off of a rooftop, would you rather land on a hard plastic surface, or a rubber surface? If you value your life at all, you'd choose the rubber - its elastic properties would absorb much more force from the impact. Guess what rubber is? First one to answer "an elastomer" wins a prize!
Next, imagine you’re a pervert, gently running your finger across every surface of a No. 2 Pencil. Which part of the pencil do you think would provide the most resistance to the tracing of your finger? If you guessed "the eraser," congratulations: you possess a basic understanding of coefficients of friction. Erasers are made of rubber. Rubber has a high coefficient of friction because of its elastic properties.
The Grip case's elastomer isn't rubber - it's our own specially-formulated compound. It's still a useful comparison, as all elastomers share similar properties - provided they have the same degree of Shore Hardness.
One person reading this is asking: “Shore Hardness?” The next section is their fault.

A Beginner's Guide to Material Science
The Shore Hardness scale gauges the hardness of various elastomers. It can be measured with a device called a durometer. You probably don't have one.
  • Low Shore Hardness = softer, more malleable, less dense, more rubber-like.
  • High Shore Hardness = harder, less malleable, more dense, more plastic-like.
If you fell out of a building and landed on a rubber surface with a high Shore Hardness, injury or death would be much more likely.
If you used an eraser with a high Shore Hardness, you'd find it wouldn't actually do much erasing.
Now, what if you made a phone case out of an elastomer with a high Shore Hardness? It wouldn't offer much grip or impact protection.
The Grip's outer rim is made from an elastomer with a low Shore Hardness. As a result, the material is grippy and impact-resistant, but much more malleable and thus more likely to deform. That's why we bond the elastomer to a polycarbonate skeleton.
Polycarbonates don't require as much explanation as elastomers: they're a category of plastic. On your Grip case, the back plate is made of polycarbonate. The elastomer rim is bonded to the polycarbonate plate on all sides of the Grip, providing structural rigidity to the elastomer, fighting to keep it from deforming. At least, that's the idea. As we've all seen, it hasn't worked out that way.
Bonding two distinct materials together is much more complicated than gluing them together. Instead, we rely on a thermal bonding process. Basically, that means we heat both of our polymers to a degree which would turn you from “rare” to “well done” in moments. This heat melts the polymers, which we then inject at a pressure which would turn you from “solid” to “paste” even faster.
Once injected, these two materials get fused together along the seams. To further reinforce the bonds, we use a series of interlocking "teeth" to provide a greater surface area on which the bonding process can occur. Consider these teeth the mechanical bond, which exists to strengthen the thermal bond.

Pictured: Bonding mechanic between the elastomer and polycarbonate.
With that out of the way: why do Grips fall apart?
The elastomer rim around the edge of the Grip case is naturally inclined to deform and stretch. The bonding mechanisms we described above are designed to keep that from happening, but it often isn’t strong enough. As soon as the bond fails at any point, it's only a matter of time until a total structural failure occurs.


How Are We Stopping Grips From Falling Apart?
Philosophically, there are two approaches to take:
  1. We can investigate why, exactly, the bond between the elastomer and the polycarbonate is failing.
  2. We can tweak and iterate the thermal and mechanical bond - strengthening it to the point where it's statistically improbable that your case will fall apart.
We tried the first approach - it's the road to madness. The number of variables is irrationally large. What's the temperature like where you live? The altitude? The humidity? Do you bring your phone into environments that deviate from the ambient temperature of your location? Does your school or workplace have extremely dry air? Do you bring your phone into a sauna? What sort of soap do you wash your hands with? Do you have oily hands? What sort of food do you cook? Do you smoke? How hard do you press on the buttons? What's your angle of approach when you actuate a button? How big are your hands? How often do you take your phone out of the case? Do you remove it from the top, the bottom, the sides?
We could follow all of these roads, find out exactly which factors are causing the bond to fail, then implement preventative measures to keep it from happening - but that would take a decade. We don't have that long. Much like you, we want this fixed yesterday.
So, from the moment we received our first complaint about a Grip deforming around the buttons, we've been making structural, thermal, and mechanical improvements to the design and production process of the Grip case - some visible, some not. Every new phone release has brought a new iteration on the core Grip design, with each one reducing the failure rate, incrementally. We'll bring the receipts in the next chapter. For now, let's highlight the most noteworthy improvements.

The Most Noteworthy Improvements
The first signs of trouble were the buttons. Months before we'd received our first report of a Grip case de-bonding, we saw the first examples of buttons that had bent out of shape.

Pictured: Button deformation.
Why the buttons? Because you press down on them. The force from button actuation puts strain on the elastomer, causing displacement of the material in the surrounding area. Through a combination of time, repeated button actuations and the above-mentioned force, the case would permanently deform around the buttons. This concept is called the "compression set" of the elastomer - Google it.
The solution to this problem was two-fold:
  1. First, we increased the compression set of the elastomer. Essentially, we made it as dense as we could, without compromising on the elastic properties of the material.
  2. Second, we added relief slits surrounding the buttons - they're plainly visible on any newer Grip case model. These relief slits are an escape route for the force generated by button actuation. They also had the positive effect of making button actuation significantly more satisfying (read: clicky).

Pictured: Relief slits to improve button tactility and durability.
Another early issue, pre-dating the first reports of total de-bonding, was a deformation of the elastomer along the bottom of the case - where the charging port and speakers are.
Since we've covered the basics on how the interlock between the elastomer and the polycarbonate creates a bond, this is how the interlocking teeth along the top edge of the polycarbonate skeleton of the Grip used to look.

Pictured: First-gen interlocking teeth on the top of the Grip.
...and here's the bottom of that very same Grip case.

Pictured: First-gen interlocking teeth on the bottom of the Grip.
Notice anything? Around the charging port, there is absolutely nothing keeping the elastomer in place. No teeth, no structural reinforcements... it's no coincidence that an overwhelming majority of early Grip deformations happened along the bottom.
Since then, we’ve added a reinforced polycarbonate structure around the bottom of the Grip case. You'll see what that looks like in a bit.
So, why didn't the launch portfolio of Grip cases have mechanical interlocks or a polycarbonate support structure along the bottom?
The answer may or may not be complicated, depending on how much you know about plastic injection molding. We'll assume the worst and explain the concept of "undercut" to you with a ridiculous metaphor.

The Ridiculous Metaphor
Imagine you had a tube full of melted cheese. Next, imagine you emptied that entire tube into your mouth. Rather than swallowing the cheese, you decide to let it sit in your mouth and harden. Why are you doing this? We don't know. Let's just say you want a brick of cheese that's perfectly molded to the contours of your mouth - a very normal thing to want.
So, your mouth is completely filled with cheese. It hardens. You reach into your mouth to remove the brick of cheese. As you're removing it, you encounter a problem: your teeth are in the way. This wasn't a problem when you were putting the cheese into your mouth, but that was because the cheese was melted and could flow around your teeth. Now that the cheese has hardened, this is no longer the case.
In the world of plastic injection molding, this is an undercut. Our concern was that, by molding a structurally rigid piece of polycarbonate around the charging port and speaker holes, we'd find ourselves unable to remove the Grip Case from the mold once hardened. Imagine spending $30,000 on industrial tooling only to get a $30 phone case stuck inside of it.
Once we saw Grip cases deforming along the bottom cutouts, we knew we'd need to find a way to remove the cheese from your mouth without breaking your teeth. To make a long story short: we did it. The cheese is out of your mouth, and you get to keep your teeth. Congratulations! Now, keep reading.
On newer models of the Grip case, the result is a polycarbonate bridge extending around the bottom cutouts, adding both structural reinforcement and interlock mechanisms to promote mechanical bond, much like the ones which line the perimeter of the rest of the Grip case.

Pictured: Newest-gen structural reinforcement on the bottom of the Grip.
On the subject of structural reinforcements, this design revision was around the time we flanked the buttons with some fins, working in tandem with the heightened compression set and button relief slits, detailed above, to further guarantee that button actuation would have no impact on the overall durability of the Grip case.

Pictured: Lack of button fins on the first-gen Grip.

Pictured: Button fins on the newest-gen Grip.
As an aside: Unrelated to the de-bonding issues, we've also made a number of smaller improvements to the Grip case with each new iteration. For instance, we chamfered the front lip of the case to make edge-swiping more pleasant and reduce dust accumulation along the rim. Those raised parallelogram shapes along the sides of your Grip case that create its distinctive handfeel? We made those way bigger for a better in-hand experience. In short: product development is a complex and multifaceted process. Each new iteration of the Grip case is better than the one that came before, and that applies to more than just failure rates.
Speaking of failure rates: all of these improvements were in place by the time we launched iPhone 11-series Grip cases. The failure rate for these cases decreased exponentially... but didn't disappear entirely.

The Even More Ridiculous Metaphor
With these improvements, we achieved our desired outcome: the case was no longer deforming around the buttons or the charging port. Instead, the structure of the case began to fail literally anywhere else around the perimeter of the phone.
Think of it this way… you’re a roof carpenter. The greatest roof carpenter of all time. Like the son of God, but if he was a carpenter. Unfortunately, you’ve been paired with the Donald Trump of wall-builders.
You're tasked with building a house. You spend all of your time and energy perfecting your roofcraft. You've designed a roof that's so durable, it may as well have been made of Nokia 3310s. Nothing's getting through that bad boy.
The wall guy? Instead of building that wall he said Mexico would pay for, he's been tweeting about the miraculous medicinal properties of bleach while a plague kills hundreds of thousands of Americans.
The point here is that you can build the greatest roof of all time, but the walls need to be strong enough to match.
To strengthen the Grip case's metaphorical walls, we needed to re-design the inside of the Grip case from scratch. More specifically, the mechanical interlock between the springy elastomer and rigid polycarbonate skeleton. We took every tooth at the bonding point between the two materials and made them as large as we possibly could. Then, we added more teeth.

Pictured: Polycarbonate teeth on the newest-gen Grip.
To jog your memory: this is how the teeth used to look...

Pictured: Polycarbonate teeth on the first-gen Grip.
If time proves that these changes aren’t enough, our engineers still have a number of ideas on how to improve the bond between the elastomer and polycarbonate. Will we ever need to implement those ideas? Again - that’s a question only time can answer. Each change might be the silver bullet that puts this problem to bed for good... but there's only one way to find out: it involves real-world testing and, with each iteration, months of careful observation.


So, Where Are We Now?
Have the improvements we've made to the Grip case been successful? You bet.
For the sake of comparison: we began shipping iPhone 11 series Grips on September 30th, 2019. Within six months of that date, we had received 52 reports of structural failures - a big improvement over the early days, but still not good enough.
Fast forward two months. We began shipping Note 10 Plus Grip cases on November 21st, 2019. In the first six months of availability, we received exactly eight reports of Note 10 Plus Grips falling apart. Again, a major improvement over the iPhone series in the same stretch of time. If we'd launched the first Grip cases with a failure rate that low, we wouldn't be writing this post right now and you’d have nothing to read while pretending to do work.
How about the Galaxy S20 series, which began shipping on February 10th, 2020? They're the most recent and improved set of SKUs we’ve made to date, leveraging everything we've learned and making further improvements over the Note 10 Plus. No reports so far. Same goes for the iPhone SE and OnePlus 8 series - these SKUs share all the improvements we've made to the underlying design of the Grip case thus far.
Does that mean these numbers will hold forever? Who knows. That's the thing: every improvement we make, we need to wait several months to see how effective it's been. No amount of internal testing can replace the real-world data of shipping cases to hundreds of thousands of users across nearly 200 countries.
We could always just throw in the towel, make the entire case out of rigid plastic, and call it a solved issue... but that would be the easy way out. The Grip case and its unique design properties can't reach their full potential unless we make incremental improvements - then wait and see how they pan out in the real world.
All of which is to say: it's far too early to say the newest set of improvements have officially solved the problem. While the failure rate is still zero, we need to keep watching. We've made a ton of progress, but we're not going to rest until we've killed this issue for good - without sacrificing the unique properties that make the Grip case stand out in a sea of derivative hard plastic and TPU phone cases.
That's probably enough to inspire confidence in someone who's on the fence about buying an S20 Ultra Grip, an iPhone SE Grip, or any Grip we release in the future. But what if you're one of the people who bought an older Grip model?

"I'm One Of The People Who Bought An Older Grip Model!"
We won't sugarcoat it. The failure rates for older Grip models is way higher than we deem acceptable. Why has it taken us this long to publicly address the issue, then?
Easy: it's not as widespread as you might think. Some humans reading this might be looking at their iPhone X Grip, purchased in 2019 and still intact, wondering what all the fuss is about. That's an important consideration: most people who have functioning, still-bonded Grip cases aren't posting on /dbrand about how unbroken it is. The people who've had issues around total product failure are in the minority.
We're not using the word "minority" as a get-out-of-jail-free card here. It's still a way larger number than we'd ever be comfortable with. We simply don't want our transparency and candor in writing this to be misinterpreted as an admission that every single Grip case we've made for older devices is going to fall apart. Statistically speaking, this is an issue for a minority of Grip owners.
Our philosophy at first was that, while it was unfortunate and frustrating that Grip cases were falling apart, dramatic PR action wasn't necessary. Instead, we resolved to:
  1. Quietly and diligently work in the background to improve the underlying design of the Grip case.
  2. Ship free replacements to anyone whose Grip case had failed.
To date, we've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on shipping fees alone for replacement Grips. As you can imagine, that number gets a lot higher once you add in the cost of actually making the thing. We've been fine with writing these costs off as sort of an R&D expense, since every example of a deformed or de-bonded Grip provides invaluable data on how to improve the product.
Where our strategy backfired was in the narrative that began to take root as Grip cases continued to fall apart. Look at it this way: the failure rate of older Grip case SKUs is anywhere between 1% and 20%, depending on how early we released the SKU. Since the improvements we've already made to the underlying design were rolled out incrementally with each new phone release, that number has been on a steady downward trend.
For the purpose of this thought experiment, we'll go with the earliest, shittiest Grip cases - putting us at a long-term failure rate of 20%.
So, 20% of customers for this device have a Grip case fall apart at some point in the product's lifespan. Every single one of those people writes in to our Customer Experience team about the issue. They all receive a replacement, free of charge.
Since this replacement is identical to the first Grip case they'd received, it also has a 20% failure rate. We're now dealing with percentages of percentages. Stop panicking, we'll do the math for you: that means 4% of these hypothetical Grip owners will have a second Grip case fail on them in the long run.
Four percent is a lot better than twenty… but it's also a lot of people who've been burned twice. These people are going to be extra vocal about how shitty the Grip case is. To be fair, they've got every right.
So, we've got four groups of customers for this SKU:
  • Group A: Has had two or more Grip cases fail (4%).
  • Group B: Has had exactly one Grip case fail (16%).
  • Group C: Bought a Grip which has not failed (80%).
  • Group D: Has not purchased a Grip case (NA%).
Group A is livid about the repeated issues they've had - rightfully so.
Group B, having been burned before, reads about Group A's experience. They take it to mean their replacement will inevitably fail on them as well, and they'll one day get the dubious honor of joining Group A.
Group C, despite not having had any issues yet, reads the experiences of Groups A and B. Then, a significant portion of this group begins to operate under the assumption that it's only a matter of time before their Grip falls apart as well.
Group D reads all of the above and decides they don't have enough confidence in the Grip case to ever purchase one.
A narrative begins to form that this hypothetical failure rate is close to 100%. Worse yet: people with newer phones, unaware that each new iteration of the Grip case has a dramatically reduced failure rate over the last, start to assume their case also has a 100% failure rate. That's where our original strategy - the one where we quietly improved the product in the background while offering replacements for defective units - backfired on us.
This narrative only exists because we've continued to leverage existing stock with too high a failure rate, which, in hindsight, was like pouring gasoline on a gender reveal forest fire of disappointment and regret. This brings us to our next chapter.

Mass Destruction
At this point, you're probably aware that a number of Grip SKUs for older phones have been listed as "Sold Out" on our website, and haven't been restocked since.
We stopped production on these cases because we knew they'd have all the same issues as the original production runs. See, it's not as simple as pushing a "make the Grip not fall apart" button at the factory - we'd need to redesign the case from scratch, implementing all of the design improvements we've made up to this point, then re-tool our existing machinery to produce this new version. We'll have more to say about re-tooling a bit later - for now, focus on the fact that some Grips have been listed as "Sold Out".
If someone's Grip case falls apart while listed as "Sold Out", we don't have any replacements to send them. Instead, dbrand's Customer Experience team has been issuing refunds wherever possible, and store credit otherwise. Just in case you're wondering what we mean by "where possible": PayPal doesn't allow refunds on transactions that are more than six months old. Store credit, on the other hand, can be offered indefinitely.
What we've come to realize is that we're never going to be able to escape this downward spiral until we rip the band-aid off and stop stocking these old, flawed SKUs.
Today, we're ripping the bandaid off. As you're reading this, we're disposing of all of our old stock. All of the flawed Grip SKUs are now listed as "Sold Out".
Head over to our Grip listing and take a look at what's available. Everything that you can currently buy is up to spec with the improvements we've made over the past year - meeting or exceeding the standard of quality set by the Galaxy S20 series, the iPhone SE, and the OnePlus 8 series. In some cases - take, for instance, the iPhone 11 series - this means we've already re-tooled our production lines to meet that quality benchmark.
If a Grip case is listed on "Backorder", it means we've begun the process of re-tooling the SKU to match the improved quality standard you've spent the last five hours reading about.
However, if a Grip case is now listed as "Sold Out", that means no more reshipments.
If you own a sold out Grip case that hasn't fallen apart yet: that's great! Don't assume that your Grip is doomed to fail just because we devoted 5661 words to explaining why it might fall apart. You've still got better odds than you would at a casino.
As always, if you run into any issues with your case, sold out or not, shoot an email to one of our Robots. They'll still take care of you - it just won't be with a replacement case… for now.

Mass Production
Remember when we said we'd talk more about re-tooling a bit later? That's right now.
So, why are so many Grip models not being fixed? Why haven't we re-tooled these old SKUs with all of the quality improvements made to the case's build quality? It's a little complicated.
Taking the improvements we've made to the most recent suite of Grip models and retroactively applying those changes to older SKUs isn't a simple task - it would require us to throw out our existing production tools and create new ones, from scratch. Suffice it to say that doing so is a wildly expensive endeavor.
To recoup that cost, we'd need to produce more Grips than we're likely to ever sell for aging, irrelevant hardware. Let's use the Pixel 3 as an example.
If we replaced every single de-bonded Pixel 3 Grip, that would account for about 3% of the MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) on a re-tooled Pixel 3 Grip case. Now we're sitting on 97% of that MOQ as overstock. Pixel 3 owners have had their phone for nearly two years now. If they want a phone case, they already have one. They're not looking for new Pixel 3 cases, they're getting ready to buy a new phone. Simply put, it’s no longer a viable market.
Now, say the Pixel 3 was a significantly more popular phone - enough that we'd be shipping out, say, 50% of the MOQ as replacements on day one. Now, that's a lot more tempting to us - we'd still lose boatloads of money, but at least it would go towards some consumer goodwill.
To figure out how much money we'd lose on re-tooling, we gave our bean-counting Robots a giant jar of beans and told them to get to work. They emerged three days later. When asked how many beans were in the jar, they gave us a blank stare. When asked if it was possible to re-tool any of our production lines for old Grip SKUs without losing obscene amounts of money, they said:
"Absolutely not."
Still, we're no strangers to throwing away obscene amounts of money to make the internet happy. Remember Amazon gift cards? Those were the days. The only question that remains is "How much money are we willing to set on fire?"
We can't tell you yet. Why? Because we're currently running a detailed cost-benefit analysis on the subject of re-tooling old production lines, on a SKU-by-SKU basis. That's business talk for "the bean-counting Robots have been given more beans to count."
The objective is to determine the viability of producing new-and-improved Grip stock for older phones: how many units would be tied up in replacements for that model, how many we could reasonably expect to sell to new customers, and how much overstock would be left from the MOQ.
From there, we can determine what the financial impact of re-tooling would be and make the final decision on how much cash we're dumping into the ocean somewhere off the coast of the Seychelles. We'll have our results by early next week.
These re-tooled models, if produced, would feature every improvement we’ve made thus far to the Grip case line, plus a few that have yet to be released. Remember how the S20s, the iPhone SE and the OnePlus 8s haven't had any reported failures yet? Picture that, but for the phone you've got.
If we go ahead with re-tooling production lines for your phone, a few things will happen:
  1. The Grip case for your phone will go from "Sold Out" to "Backorder".
  2. Our Customer Experience Robots will shift their communication strategy from "we no longer support your phone," to "we'll get you a replacement once we've got improved units in stock."
None of these things will happen until we've run the simulations on which phones are getting restocked. Why are we posting this today, then? We could have waited a week and had concrete answers to offer about the future of our out-of-stock Grip cases. Well…

Take Our Survey
This is it: your chance to have some say in how much money we set on fire as a goodwill exercise for this whole R&D clusterfuck.
Those simulations we're running? They'll be great for telling us how much money we're going to lose on each Grip SKU, but it won't tell us anything about how much money our customers want us to lose on each Grip SKU.
To that end, we've prepared a survey for people who have purchased a Grip case. We'll be taking your feedback into consideration during our decision-making process.
We have only one request: don't be a jackass. Answer the questions honestly.
Click here to take the survey.

In Closing...
We're sharing a special moment right now. We're all seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.
For us, that light is "we're almost done with a year-long R&D effort to stop the Grip case from falling apart."
For you, the light is "the end of a 5661-word marathon of a Reddit post."
We just want to take a minute to recognize that we couldn't have gotten this far without your collective support. At any point in the past year, we might have pulled the plug on the Grip project entirely if we'd reached a critical mass of negative sentiment from our customers. Instead, we've got an army of devotees who have no problem paying us for the privilege of being our guinea pigs.
Product development isn't a one-and-done process. It's easy to forget, but our skins weren't always to the world-class, record-setting, Michael-Jordan-in-his-prime standard you expect from us today. If you happen to have an iPhone 4 skin lying around, apply it and let us know how it goes. You'll immediately appreciate how many process improvements we've made. We weren’t born as the greatest skin manufacturer in history. We got there through a process of methodical improvement. Each jump in quality was driven by a bottomless well of user feedback, sourced from millions upon millions of customers. That, and the competition was comically inept.
It's the same story for the Grip case. Your continued support has enabled us to make huge strides in developing a product that's on the cusp of blowing everyone else out of the water. We're going to keep working until it gets there.


Please note that by reading this tl;dr, you’re missing out on several outlandish metaphors, including classics such as:
  • Plastic injection molding melted cheese into your face hole.
  • What if Jesus and Donald Trump built a house?
  • How to turn yourself from “rare to well done” and “solid to paste”.
  • Pencil Perverts.

  • The Grip case is made from two materials: a polycarbonate skeleton and an elastomer frame.
  • The elastomer frame provides the majority of the case's impact protection and grip, but is prone to deformation.
  • We prevent deformation by bonding the material to a polycarbonate skeleton (i.e. the rigid back plate on the Grip case).
  • The bond between the two materials was not as strong as we'd originally anticipated, causing the elastomer to de-bond from the polycarbonate skeleton and the case to sometimes fall apart.

  • Through a series of design revisions, we've made countless improvements to promote a stronger bond between the two materials.
  • These changes have incrementally reduced the failure rate of Grip cases. Our most recent SKUs are yielding extremely promising results.
  • Each time we improve the Grip case, we need to play a months-long waiting game to observe the real-world effects.

  • Since we're using you as guinea pigs for the purposes of product development, we've been uncharacteristically generous with our warranty policy.
  • However, that warranty policy only lasts as long as we have stock. Once we're out of Grips, we're out of replacements.
  • We've finally reached the point where we need to rip off the bandaid and dispose of all of our Grip stock produced during 2019.
  • If your Grip for any of these older phones falls apart, you can no longer get a replacement.
  • You should still write in to our Customer Experience team if it happens to you - we'll work something out.
  • On the bright side, our Grip SKUs from 2020 onwards have dramatically reduced, if not outright eliminated, the failure rate of previous models. We have no reported cases to date.
  • It's not economically viable to re-tool production lines to apply our improved industrial designs to any of the Grip cases that are currently marked as "Sold Out".
  • We're probably going to do it anyways.
  • We're running the simulations right now to determine which older devices will be re-tooled.
  • Take our survey to help determine which devices we'll be re-tooling.
submitted by db_inc to dbrand [link] [comments]

Wizard Tournament: Chapter 25

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      “Why don’t you go ahead and wish Tenna luck?” Sylnya suggested while she, Draevin and Peter headed down the hill towards the arena. “I still have some errands to do before the first match.”
      Draevin gave Sylnya a dubious look. “And by errands you of course mean you have bets you need to place.”
      “I don’t see why it’s any of your business what I do with my money,” Sylnya said. “You worry about seeing Tenna off and I’ll worry about me.”
      “What good would that even do?” Draevin asked. “And why are you so insistent?”
      “Because she was really upset after you blew her off yesterday. I’m sure she’d appreciate the encouragement.”
      “Hey, that wasn’t even my fault. Why don’t you blame Peter for that one? He’s the one that made plans with Faernyl for me.”
      Peter tried to slink back behind Draevin’s back where he would be out of sight. Sylnya glared at him. “That was kind of rude.”
      Peter looked at the ground and fidgeted with his glasses when they focused their attention on him. They were still walking toward the arena; Draevin led them around a gaggle of young gnome girls that sounded like they were gossiping about that self-righteous eldrin, Hanu. “It was a mistake,” Peter admitted to Sylnya after they passed by. “I’ll try not to impersonate him again but I didn’t think he’d actually follow through on those plans. How is that my fault?”
      Sylnya let out a weary sigh. “I don’t understand it, Drae, but that girl thinks the world of you for some reason. It would mean a lot to her if you wished her luck, and it would barely cost you a thing.”
      “I could do it for you,” Peter offered, “as a way to make up for the thing with Faernyl yesterday.”
      “No, no,” Draevin said. “I’ll do it. You wouldn’t know what to say, and I’d rather you not get in the habit of impersonating me.” Something caught Draevin’s eye and he tilted his head back to see a posse of eldrin approaching the arena from a different direction. The group was on a collision-course with their own and Istven was leading the way. “Though on second thought if you’re willing to keep Istven off my back for the rest of the day I’d consider us even.”
      “Deal,” Peter said without the slightest hesitation.
      Istven was striding confidently in his full battle-regalia. He drew quite a bit of notice and it helped that he was surrounded by richly-dressed eldrin nobles no doubt seeking favors in anticipation of his winning this year’s tournament. He wore a suit of custom-fitted plate mail that was burnished black with accents of polished silver gilding. The colors of his outfit mirrored his night-black skin, while the silver accents mirrored his argent white hair. The infamous black crown of King Haedril was mounted securely to the pauldron on his left shoulder.
      “Interesting,” Peter said. He already had a notepad out and Draevin watched the human’s dexterous fingers sketch out an approximation of Istven’s form remarkably quickly. Instead of the piece of charcoal Draevin had grown used to, it seemed Peter was now writing with a high quality pencil. Between that and the crystal engraving stylus Peter had to have spent a good portion of his winnings from yesterday; Draevin was just surprised he hadn’t upgraded his shabby wardrobe while he was shopping. “Is that really allowed?” Peter asked as he finished his sketch and tucked his notepad away. “A full suit of armor like that? It looks like he even has a sword at his hip.”
      “It’s allowed all right,” Sylnya told him. “You can bring anything you want into your matches as long as you can carry it. They only restrict you to one magical item.”
      “Is that why you let Kot jump up into your arms during your introduction yesterday?” Peter asked Sylnya.
      “I really don’t have time for a bunch of questions right now,” Sylnya answered. She turned to the path that led to the betting cages. “Go talk to Tenna, Drae and take Peter with you. I’ll meet you guys back at the booth.” She slipped into the crowd and was gone before Draevin could raise an objection.
      Istven was coming their way. “So was that offer real?” Draevin asked Peter.
      “Which?” Peter asked. He sounded a little uneasy. “The Istven thing or the Tenna thing?”
      “Istven,” Draevin said. He grabbed Peter by his shoulders and pointed him towards the approaching eldrin. “The guy’s unstable as all hell and dangerous to boot. Just convince him to leave me alone while still maintaining the Mutual Assurance pact we agreed to yesterday.”
      “And how exactly am I supposed to do that?” Peter asked.
      “Oh please,” Draevin said dismissively, “like your wheels aren’t already turning. I saw how quickly you adapted to the situation yesterday. This should be easy for you.”
      “No no,” Peter said loudly in a snobby voice Draevin didn’t recognize. “I’m quite all right thank you. You may leave.” He waved a hand at Draevin to dismiss him and Draevin recognized the hand. It was his hand. And he was wearing his face too! Peter had seamlessly transformed into a perfect copy of Draevin. Draevin looked down at his own clothes and saw that he was now in the purple robes of a Guild acolyte. Peter really did think fast on his feet.
      Istven marched right up to Draevin-Peter and said, “We need to talk.” The crowd of simpering eldrin nobles waited behind him.
      Peter-Draevin cleared his throat. “Public or private?”
      Istven looked pointedly at Draevin—the real Draevin—and visibly sneered. “Private obviously.” He pointed to acolyte-Draevin. “You. Leave us.”
      “Yes sir,” Draevin answered and was pleased to find his voice sounded different. It sounded feminine. He realized with a start that he’d been transformed into a copy of the nice elf girl that had helped them at The Pot earlier that morning.
      Draevin slipped away without incident, his only remaining concern being how long the disguise Peter had given him would last. It would be awkward trying to give Tenna some words of encouragement while wearing the face of another woman. When he got to the tunnel leading to the arena grounds the guards waved him right through without the slightest challenge. It was probably fine for him to sneak in like this, since as a fellow contestant he was allowed to enter anyways, but it still left him a bit uneasy. Was this what passed for security? They just let anyone wearing a purple robe into secure sections of the arena?
      He found Tenna pacing at the mouth of the tunnel. She was wearing pale blue Ice Armor robes with frozen spikes of hair in a blatant mimicry of Draevin’s own aesthetic. He couldn’t be too upset about it though since he was the one who had taught her those spells. When she saw him coming towards her she gave a frightened gasp.
      “I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to—” she started to say.
      “Relax,” Draevin told her, “it’s just me.”
      Tenna blinked. “You?”
      “Oh sorry, I probably look different. It’s me Draevin,” he told her. He wiped at his face, but it didn’t do anything about the illusion covering him. He realized that he didn’t actually know how to get rid of Peter’s illusion. The spell was probably weak enough that a little interference might be enough though. With an effortless gesture Draevin conjured a light mist of ice around himself and that did the trick: the illusion immediately collapsed.
      “Draevin!” Tenna squealed with glee. Her apprehension was replaced with excitement and she leapt on him and wrapped him in a hug. “It’s so nice to see you.” She hopped down and stepped back a pace. “What was with the disguise?”
      Rather than try to explain the situation with Istven, Draevin opted to simply tell Tenna, “I had someone dangerous looking for me.” Tenna got a worried look on her face when he said it, and he immediately regretted his choice of words. Even if they were technically truthful. “It’s nothing you need to worry about. Really, I’m fine.”
      Tenna studied her boots for a moment; they were heavy duty, complete with spikes for gripping tight on icy surfaces. That was at least one change between their styles, Draevin preferred normal shoes that he could slide around in when he needed speed.
      “Nice boots,” he complimented her.
      Even though Tenna had been looking at them already, she started for a second and seemed to recognize them for the first time. “Oh, yeah. They’re—”
      Maeve’s announcement cut off whatever Tenna had been about to say. “The first match of the day is ready to begin, will the fighters please make their way to the stage.
      “That’s me,” Tenna groaned. “I wish they’d let me go second today. I don’t feel ready!”
      Draevin patted the smaller elf on the shoulder. “You’ll do fine. You and Sharack are both registered with the Guild so you shouldn’t be in any mortal danger.”
      Tenna looked horrified. Her eyes practically popped out of her head. “Mortal danger?” she asked in a tiny voice.
      That probably hadn’t been the right thing to say. Draevin tried to salvage things and leave her with some actual advice. “Don’t worry about that. Just remember that Lizard-kin like Sharack usually open aggressively. They have big mana pools, but they don’t recover as fast as us elves. If you can hold back his opening attack it’ll only get easier. Did you eat?”
      Tenna frowned. “Nooooo,” she whined. “My stomach gets all queasy if I eat before a match.” She reached under her shirt collar and pulled out a necklace. At the end was a small bird seemingly carved from purple amethyst. “Won’t Tambril’s Magpie get me all the mana I need anyway?”
      Draevin shook his head. “It’ll help but usually not a ton. You’d be surprised how many people are able to avoid it. You’re going to have to get over those nerves. Having a full belly is going to be a big advantage. Do you think you could hold down some water?”
      Her mouth twisted up on one side in an uncertain expression. “Probably?” she said. Her upward inflection made it sound like a question.
      “Then here,” Draevin said. He handed her the water skin from his belt. “Drink this.”
      She looked at the skin and groaned. “All of it?” she asked.
      “Yes, of course! I’d have you drink three if I had three. Everything you can fit.” He patted his pockets to find something more he could give her but that had been the only thing edible. There was an old tip among elf wizards for eating non-food before a match if your nerves were bothering you, but he decided against suggesting it: the elvish stereotype of eating dirt didn’t need any reinforcement.
      Tenna finished chugging down the water and handed back the empty flagon. “My stomach at least feels full,” she said, clutching one hand over her torso. She looked to Draevin almost like the kid he’d first met almost a century ago. She’d been whining to her mom at the time that the ice cream stand had been out of Draesicles so Draevin had made her one on the spot. She had the same wide-eyed look now as she’d had then. Though he’d never had kids Draevin imagined this was something like the pride a father must feel on seeing their kid off to their first day of school.
      “Good,” he told her, “as soon as that match starts you cannibalize everything you’ve got and burn that water into mana as fast as you can. You’ll wear him down.” Tenna started to move in to give Draevin another hug but he was already patting her on the shoulder, so he just kept doing that and it caused her to flush pink in embarrassment. “Well. I think I better leave before I get you in trouble.”
      “Right.” Tenna nodded. “Thanks for the help, Drae!” She walked to the edge of her fighter’s box with a confident stride and waved to some fans that cheered upon seeing her.
      Draevin hurried to leave so he could get to his seat before the match started. On his way out he caught a confused look from the guard who’d let him past when he looked like a Guild woman. He gave the guard a grin and a wink as he went by.
      Fans were hurrying about with food and drinks in hand as they scrambled to get to their seats before the first match started. Draevin had to weave between them to get to his booth. When he arrived Maeve still hadn’t started the introductions. Peter and Sylnya were already seated, and Sylnya had a ticket from the betting house clutched tightly in her hand.
      The human and dryad were already in the middle of a conversation. “…adjust all the time based on how many people are betting on each side,” Sylnya was explaining.
      “So that means more people are betting for me this time?” Peter asked.
      “Hey,” Draevin greeted as he took his seat.
      “Hi, Draevin,” Peter acknowledged, while Sylnya just nodded her head.
      “Well, yeah,” Sylnya continued, “with that rumor going around that you’re secretly a demon more people are willing to take a chance on you.”
      “What rumor?” Draevin asked. Instead of answering Sylnya shushed him and pointed towards the field.
      “Tenna is an elvish cryomancer representing Caldenia.” Maeve began the introductions. Tenna waved excitedly from inside her fighter’s box in their direction. Draevin returned the gesture. “She is carrying Tambril’s Thieving Magpie, and her wish if she wins this year’s tournament is to liberate the people of Trenal from Eldesian Tyranny.” Tenna held up the glowing crystal bird from around her neck for the crowd to examine, though from this distance it just looked like a flash of purple light. “Tenna wants everyone to know that the war between Caldenia and Eldesia has gone on long enough and will go down as a blight on Eldesia’s history.
      At her announcement nearly every eldrin in the audience went studiously silent as well as anyone that didn’t want to piss them off. The elves in the crowd cheered loud enough to make up for it though. Draevin stood up and added his own voice to the mix in a rare display of patriotism that had more to do with supporting a friend than a nation.
      Maeve gestured an arm toward Sharack and waited for the last of the chatter to die down before continuing. The big green lizard-kin sported a floppy ridge of spikes going down his back starting at the top of his head. He wore what looked to Draevin like a black bathrobe but that he’d been told was actually something called a kimono and he had some kind of long wooden pole strapped to his back.
      Peter was sketching a quick drawing of Sharack in his notepad, and asked a quick question without looking up. “Why is he dressed so differently than Korack was?”
      “Korack’s just more northernized than most lizard-kin,” Sylnya told him.
      “That’s a nice way of saying he’s totally disconnected from his own culture,” Draevin added. Sylnya just scoffed.
      “Sharack is a lizard-kin chronomancer representing Emperor Loktai of the Kingdom of Kreet,” Maeve announced. Being so far to the south, lizard-kin didn’t typically attract large groups of fans, but there was a smattering of applause at the mention of Kreet.
      Draevin overheard Sylnya tell Peter, “Chronomancy is time magic.” Peter nodded along.
      “As his item, Sharack has brought Musashi’s Katana of Piercing Death and his wish if he wins this year’s tournament is to end Kreet’s famine,” Maeve continued. Sharack grabbed the pole on his back and pulled the end to reveal an impressively long one-sided blade inside. As he continued drawing it out it quickly became apparent that the blade was longer than Tenna was tall. It sloped back from the handle in a graceful arch and gleamed in the light.
      “That’s impressive,” Peter said while many of the crowd murmured among themselves appreciably.
      “What’s this about piercing death?” Draevin asked in concern. He was suddenly a lot less confident that Tenna would survive.
      Maeve signaled the judges. The bell chimed and the match began.
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Betting SCHOOL Prediction on 14 December Southampton VS West Ham United (Football)

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