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Bitcoin Buzz Feeds
Bitcoin Buzz Feeds started as a Mobile Application and now diversified into the #1 content distributor proactively giving users that follow twitter, reddit, and news about Bitcoin-- instant access in real-time using smart devices. Bitcoin Buzz is now a community, where the group can collaborate, and discuss all types of news and bitcoin happenings in the industry.
Reddit Decides Which Graphics Set 'Bitcoin Buzz Feeds' for its community app
Bitcoin Buzz Feeds has been resource provider to the Bitcoin community since its first launch in (Feb 2013) and today, redditors can decide which graphic sets we should use officially for the app. The Graphic Sets are split into two parts with a matching Branded Logo and Mobile & Tablet Icon that you would click on to access the app Bitcoin Buzz Feeds is an all-in-one connection to seamlessly access the latest news, resources, and discussions. Set #1 or Set #2 ? You decide and tell us why! => http://i.imgur.com/jZzpY65.png Voting ends in 72 hours. I will tally up all the votes to find the winning designs. Currently Available now on Google-Play - Bitcoin Buzz Feeds v3.1:
Apple has 'Rejected' this App because it had web links to Bitcoin Transaction businesses (CoinBase, BlockChain, Etc.)
What is wrong with a simple link to a website? Rejected notice from Apple Developer Account: http://i.imgur.com/4htCzEr.png Google has not given me a single problem for the past 1 year, and Apple has always rejected ALL of my App Submissions because they simply link to Coinbase, Bitcoin.org, BlockChain, and other related Bitcoin sites. Bitcoin Buzz Feeds App is standing strong on Google-Play for the past 1 year without ANY rejections @ https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=bitcoin.buzz.feeds
I've attempted fixing and resubmitting to Apple numerous times, and each time it is rejected. I changed enough of the links until one day, I decided to avoid Apple completely and stick with Google. Why? because why should I change my entire App to fit Apple's wants and needs. This is not what Bitcoin is about, and I will not change the way my app is just to please Apple when Google has no issues with it. Two weeks ago, there has been some issues with uploading my latest patch to Google-Play, and the Google team has been working with me directly to resolve ALL my issues, and they know exactly what this app is about-- Bitcoin
Google is the winner in this story. Google knows exactly what this app does for Bitcoiners -- since it provides News, Links, and Social Buzz updates in real-time, and they have been fully supportive the entire way. I will be showing Google the support from the Bitcoin community in my following email. We will stand strong as a community, and stay loyal to those who respect Bitcoin to the fullest. Thank you Google!
About this app: Bitcoin Buzz App has been in the Google Play store for over 1 year with the launch date of February of 2013- Version 1.1 Bitcoin Buzz. We have certainly come a long way. The app is in V3.3 currently, and we are deciding on which websites to be added in the next update V3.4 - We come to redditors to decide. Official Google-Play store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=bitcoin.buzz.feeds Redditors:
Which bitcoin related site should be added to this app?
Why do you think this site should be added? or if you disagree with someone, tell us why.
I will be selecting 1-3 new sites to be added for the next update in 24 hours.
About this app: Bitcoin Buzz App has been in the Google Play store for over 1 year with the launch date of February of 2013- Version 1.1 Bitcoin Buzz. We have certainly come a long way. The app is in V3.3 currently, and we are deciding on which websites to be added in the next update V3.4 - We come to redditors to decide. Official Google-Play store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=bitcoin.buzz.feeds Redditors:
Which bitcoin related site should be added to this app?
Why do you think this site should be added? or if you disagree with someone, tell us why.
I will be selecting 1-3 new sites to be added for the next update in 24 hours. The more contributors we get the better it is.
Bitcoin Buzz Feeds is an All-in-One Mobile App on the Android: Google Play Market that seeks to provide the bitcoin industry with instant updates to important research information. This app will sync to keep you informed and updated daily! Google Play Search: Bitcoin Buzz Feeds This will be the official post on reddit about updates, news, and discussions strictly about Bitcoin Buzz Feeds. Current Features: Wallet by Coinbase.com News by Google News, BitcoinNews.com, BitcoinNews.co.uk, CryptoJunky.com (Articles), & All Things Bitcoins (Articles). Videos by YouTube. BTC Tips by MillyBitcoin Twitter Feeds /Bitcoin by Official Creator: @BitcoinFeeds Community Involvement: The developer "AJ Leadz" T. has an open idea concept to allow the community to get involved in the future of app development (updates). We'll be accepting any input, feedback, and resources from Reddit users for further resources to anything related to Bitcoins. (e.g: bitcoin news, content, and articles.) Know of any resources? Submit a link and why you think it should be included into the app as a resource. Beta Testing Group (Private: Coming Soon) Soon we will be working closely with others in a beta testing group. As of right now, redditors can post there feedback and help get involved with the developer until the testing group is launched. Launch date: 05/10/2013 as Beta 1.0 Current Version: 1.8 Download/Install/screenshots on the App page: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=bitcoin.buzz.feeds&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImJpdGNvaW4uYnV6ei5mZWVkcyJd Beta Update (Coming soon) V1.9 on 05/20/2013 Try it out and let us know on this page!
Removed links with lack of progress or updates (webmasters issue)
Fixed uncommon crash bug that happened once or twice during the life of the app.
Feedback: We are open to your suggestions, and resources for the next update. In Update v3.4, which websites do you want to see added into the Bitcoin Buzz app? Edit: Updated with links of the screenshots from the official twitter feed @Bitcoinfeeds
I'm proud to announce that http://myBitWorth.com, a free and simple way to track your crypto value, has been featured in the popular news app, Bitcoin Buzz. I've got a lot of things planned for myBitWorth this year, and I'm glad to see services like this noticing the tool. It helps to develop a user base and features we all want to see.
The Chinedu Saga, Or How The Establishment Media Lies to Protect Establishment Candidates (Long OC)
Well, the media seems to have gotten away with burying another inconvenient story. It's only taken barely 24 hours and the Chinedu saga has already been declared a hoax perpetrated by those awful Bernie Bros online. Word first got out about this odd controversy when one Twitter user feralHogs420 (credit where it's due) noticed some discrepancies in a Twitter account that claimed to be a Pete Buttigieg supporter from Nigeria (I guess he does better with African Africans than African Americans lol). This person's profile (now deleted), who had no profile photo of himself, seemed to have followed Buttigieg's comms director, Lis Smith first, before anyone else, even Pete himself. Seems a bit odd for someone who is not supposed to be connected in any way to Lis Smith. He also said he was Lis in one post that he later chalked up to merely being an inside joke among the campaign. He appears to have only followed mostly Buttigieg campaign-related profiles located in the United States and only three accounts that are geotagged to Nigeria, quite telling for someone who is supposedly living in Nigeria. This faceless account was also connected to a Reddit account which had a post about sock puppets and Bitcoin amongst an otherwise sparse post history. He woke up at five pm and went to bed when it is morning in Nigeria. He also has had some quite humorous Twitter exchanges with Lis Smith, considering the official story that he is just a random supporter following the campaign from Nigeria while she is a totally unrelated head honcho of the campaign, such as posts where he compliments her appearance or commending her wise strategy in perfect American English, with her telling "him" thanks in return. He also said he loves "wine and dancing" in his bio and apparently has an affinity for using the word "chutzpah," just like Lis Smith. The English part is perhaps not surprising, considering that it is used in Nigeria due to its' colonial past, yet at the same time his knowledge of intricate political machinations and terminology surpasses that of most Americans, which is puzzling for an otherwise elusive Nigerian. Yet, it would make sense if it was really written by someone inside Pete's campaign. When this story began to gain traction in the twittersphere, the Establishment media was quick to refute these allegations first by claiming to contact whoever was behind the account in question and effectively asking the person who has access to the email, "Are you really who you say you are?" And then when they said, "Yes, yes, I am." They said, "Well seems good enough for me." It was good enough for at least BuzzFeedNews, who went so far as to definitively state they have proven the identity of Chinedu as not Lis Smith, who then had their story repeated by Newsweek. Slate went so far as to supposedly video chat with this character, which in many people's minds may have sealed the deal on his authenticity. Yet no mention was made of the possibility that the person they spoke to was an impostor given the login credentials of Chinedu by Smith and co. so that he can "prove" to the reporter through FaceTime that he has that access to the profile and thus is the real Chinedu. So how do we know that this supposed Nigerian they spoke to was a real, as it is entirely possible and probable that if someone in Pete's campaign was about to get caught in an instance of digital blackface, they would double down by finding someone in the United States to play the role of Chinedu? And how do we know they spoke to anyone at all and aren't just making the entire source up, as media outlets have been caught doing in the past? And then it comes out that the BuzzFeed writer who wrote the piece exonerating Smith is actually friends with Smith and they have multiple instances of chatting amiably via Twitter. Is this really an unbiased source and one that we can trust, especially considering that Liz Smith retweeted her friend's article within one minute of it being published? This is how the truth is laundered and whitewashed (or blackwashed, in this case) through the establishment media, who all know each other and who all are corrupt and thus willing to lie for each other, because were one to go down, they would all go down. Thus Mayor Pete, the seeming favorite of both the CIA and a huge chunk of the mockingbird media, is being protected at the expense and victimhood of truth. And people, including some prominent blue checkmarks who originally broke the story chose to bow their head down, tuck their tail between their legs, and submit to the quote-unquote "official story" now handed down from on high rather than be seen as some sort of left-wing analog to a Qanon crazy or conspiracy theorist. This is how solidified their monopoly on the narrative is: that once they set it through a mouthpiece or organ of the party like Newsweek or BuzzFeedNews, the rest marches into lockstep and abandons their previously held but now heretical beliefs, even in contrast to the facts they see with their very own eyes. Seriously, we know how prevalent astroturfing is the history of Pete's campaign, and not just his campaign but modern-day politics in general. Let's be real. This is something I am sure all campaigns are doing, so why are we acting all surprised and refusing to see the truth when one communications director gets caught using this exact technique? Are we living in a post truth world? And is there any "smoking gun" evidence that could be proffered regarding this fiasco that would be so insurmountable that the even the Buttigieg campaign would be forced to admit to using digital blackface and then lying about it?(think like how the Iranian govt was forced to admit to downing 751 after initially denying in the wake of twitter users surfacing firsthand video of the strike)
Weekly Update: First ParJar Pilot Class, Constellation partners with Chainlink, $BAT on 2gether, Pynk on BlockMAG... – 11 Oct - 17 Oct'19
Hi everyone! Here’s your week at Parachute + partners (11 Oct - 17 Oct'19): The first ParJar Pilot Class is officially off to a roaring start with 5 amazing projects and their communities. Here’s to a great future. This was the perfect occasion to announce a ParJar Battle Royale for our ParJar Pilot partners. Blood will be spilled next week. Pow! ParJar now has almost 20k active users. It works in 400+ communities and has seen 400k+ transactions. Say what! Par4Par lottery entered stage 5 this week. The stakes are even higher. 250k $PAR in prizes. Dang! Reflecting on Vitalik Buterin’s observation, Cap says: “...we’ve done things in reverse here at Parachute - we grew an amazing community around exploring ideas and built our tech to meet what they needed”. What are your thoughts on buying houses for USD 1 each in an Italian town for building the Parachute village? Cap’s recommendation. Haha. Andy’s Advent calendar. Each window is a 16.9 oz can of beer. Sweet! We saw Tiproom become the 17th most active group on Telegram a few weeks back. Well, hold on to your pants because it is now the 12th most active group. Whoa! A big reason for the group’s constant buzz are the amazing trivias hosted by the TTR crew. This week was no different. Doc Victor’s Sunday medical trivia had 8 Qs, 3k $PAR each. This was a quiz with a twist. In Doc’s words: "..beware, in each question they will have to diagnose a case based on symptoms and signs that I will give them". Noice! Charlotte’s Tuesday Trivia had 10 questions with a 25k $PAR prize pool. Another trivia by Victor (not the Doc) had another 10 Q’s, 2500 $PAR each. Listened to the TTR theme yet? DJ Jose in da house with a rocking theme. Wicked! Congratulations to Mario for winning the pet contest in TTR. Sebastian made a compilation video of all the entries. Awww! Let’s see if Cap’s guerrilla marketing at Burger Joint in NYC gets us a new Parachuter Victor’s Friday trivia at aXpire was the usual 10 Q, 100 $AXPR per Q affair. And like always, super duper fun! If you missed news from Week 41 at aXpireverse, Joakim’s got your back. Check out his video to catch up. CEO Gary Markham travelled to India this week to prepare for the Bilr release. Click here to track the latest 20k $AXPR burn. Plus, a featured article by Hosting Advice was pretty cool. 2gether added Basic Attention Token ($BAT) support to the app this week. Let the $BAT spending begin! Use the invite code: paywithbat to get 100 $2GT free when you sign up for the app. Know of a startup that’s going to Malta Blockchain Summit? Let the XIO crew know since the team will be attending along with Uptrennd. Benjamin’s tutorial video on market cycles with the BOMB token as case study was riveting and full of useful info. This week’s Dash-walk-the-talk discussion revolved around getting unstuck as an entrepreneur. After taking inputs from the community 2 weeks back, the BOMB Board finalised on the team and way forward to manage the BOMB Instagram. For the latest update on the Birdchain app, click here. Congratulations to Bounty0x for crossing 2.5x of its funding goal on Republic with more than 2 months to go. Voyager is offering a 5% annual interest on ETHOS tokens held on their platform. Read more about it here. The news was also covered by SludgeFeed. Wendy O shared her usability experience of Voyager as well. Bitcoin ATM in Alexis’ neighbourhood. Cool! The McAfeeDex launched last week is off to a tremendous start. Bitcoin Cash’s Roger Ver spoke briefly on it in a news roundup video. 6 portals are live already. If you’re still wondering how to list your token on the Dex, here’s a simple guide from the man himself. Binance Chain support coming soon! SwitchDex is now trackable on DappRadar and State of the DApps. The team has set up a dedicated TG group for folks wanting to BUIDL on SwitchDex. Also, Callisto Network is slated to do a security audit of the McAfeeDex contracts. Great stuff! Peeps who missed the Fantom AMA with G.Crypto from 2 weeks back, can catch up from the transcript released this week. The latest technical update is detailed and covers all major changes in code. Uptrennd started a new video intro contest for a 2500 $1UP prize pool. Woot! Full transcript of Jeff’s interview with OmiseGo CTO Kasima from few weeks back was released this week. $1UP can now be spent in tons of retail chains thanks to a newly forged partnership with MobiePay. Last week we saw Jarau buy a laptop with his Uptrennd earnings. This week we learnt about Zubair buying a mobile phone with his $1UP earnings. Neat! The latest biweekly Dev update and weekly District update from Ditrict0x covers news such as Ethlance redesign, Meme factory NSFW filter etc. Uptrennd continues to breach new heights on Alexa rankings every week OST has set up a community slack to coordinate all Pepo related feedback received for the Pepo app. So join in if you want to help out! Did you know that Pepo is home to some of the most influential people in crypto? This week, we heard from Ethereum and Coinbase investor Bobby Goodlatte. The app crossed 20k P2P transactions and is now live in both app stores. The first such with micro-transactions, in-app purchases and cash-out options for crypto. Few weeks back, the Sentivate community chose to burn tokens (vs a raffle). This week, they voted on how many to burn. The $SNTVT crew sat down for a live Q&A with Bit Shaman this week. The team also wrote about possible future use-cases of the Universal Web with short story threads. Cryptoreview.xyz’s review of the project also came out this week. Constellation announced that it is joining Chainlink as a new node operator in order to stream enterprise data to Chainlink’s smart contracts. Click here for the PR release. The technical overview paper gets into details of what the partnership means for both companies. Bags Token hosted an AMA this week in their Telegram group. Hope you had an opportunity to get your doubts cleared. Community member Con built a $BAGS-centric image/gif board called bagsbook. Check it out! In a bit of a sobering news, Scroll (XD Token) ceased business operations this week. Constellation will act as an oracle for Chainlink by streaming verified data to the network Pynk was featured in the latest edition of the BlockMAG published by the Malta Blockchain Summit. COO Rupert Barksfield was invited by NatWest to speak on how to get traction for tech projects. Rupert’s interview by Ayo News where he explains how AI and crowd wisdom works in tandem at Pynk came out as well. Pynk Tank is Pynk's very own think tank intiative which hosts meet ups, panel discussions, podcasts with entrepreneurs, thought leaders etc. Their latest event was this week. Folks who are yet to figure out what Pynk does can read co-founder Zack Yurtsever’s article that explains it all. Following up on the Hydro Vault sneak peek from last week, check out its detailed update on the dev front. How can the Hydro platform be used to get acceleration for your fintech product? Click here to read how. Co-Founder Mike Kane travelled to the AWS Loft in NYC for the Shearman & Sterling Empire Startups Demo Day event to showcase Hydro’s fintech solutions. $HYDRO got listed on the Coinone exchange. This will be $HYDRO's first IDR fiat on-ramp. With bZx joining the Hydro dApp store this week, it now has an impressive line up of partners. Thanks to the massive community push, $HYDRO will be listed on Atomic Wallet in its next release. For a quick summary of the latest news from Hydroverse, click here. Most of these have already been covered in our updates. Silent Notary conducted the first ever speedtest of its IDL network. The team published the results and steps to optimise the code. In its current state, the network is able to execute 5-12 transactions per second. The first version of the SelfKey Corporate Wallet was launched this week. The corporate wallet will allow you to purchase digital services for your business in the future. Plus, a partnership with ChangeNOW allows easy crypto swapping from the marketplace. And with that, we close for another week in the Parachuteverse. See you soon with another update. Cheers!
I’m 23 y/o, make $80k, live in the Bay Area and work in Sales
Hi all! Apologies in advance for any formatting problems and that this is submitted a bit late-- it’s been a hectic morning in the office. Section 1: Assets & Debts 401k: on track to max it out for my second year-- fluctuates but around $25k Checkings account: I maintain about 20k in my checkings account. I have about $500 in cryptocurrency (Bitcoin and Ethereum) that I’m just going to leave in there. Savings account: I don’t have a savings account and my rationale is that I prefer to stay liquid at the moment. I think there’s always been a deep financial insecurity instilled within me and this cushion is pretty extra but makes me feel safe. Credit card debt: N/A, I always try and pay my cards off asap Student loan debt: N/A, I was able to get a few scholarships in college and used a lot of my internship money towards housing. I’ve also been lucky enough for my parents to help cover a majority of my expenses. They’re really great. Section 2: Income Monthly take home Income: 3,741.62/month Section 3: Expenses Rent: 1340 (split with two other roommates) Utilities: typically ~60 Wifi: typically ~25 (I don’t know why it’s fluctuating but I guess I’m not really counting dollars over here on something I use excessively. My roommate handles this while I pay utilities) Retirememt: I max out my 401k, so $18,500 annually. Cell phone: I'm on my parents' family plan Health insurance: I'm on my parents' plan. Work offers free health insurance, but it’s easier to reach the family deductible minimum this way. Therapy: $190 This is two sessions per month. This is pretty helpful, but I may consider looking for someone in our network so I don’t have to be paying purely out of pocket. Gym: 29.99 Netflix: 0 I am the mooch, but tbh I don’t use it often. Domain hosting: 6 Groupon Select: 4.99 I’ve been recently into flotation therapy and buying the Select gives me an additional 20% off on everything and ended up saving me more money. I love Groupon and will also occasionally impulse purchase shit there, so having this flat discount all the time has been totally worth it to me. Savings: It’s all in the checkings account, but essentially everything I don’t spend I consider my savings. I also maintain a monthly “everything else goes” budget of $750/month. Sometimes I’m a bit over budget, sometimes I’m a bit under. It generally balances out and keeps me in check. Monday 7:15 - My mornings take about 30 minutes to get ready. My routine consists of Elta MD sunscreen, Anastasia brow wiz, Makeup Forever eyeliner, Heroine Kiss mascara, and IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness concealer. (shoutout mua) I'm out the door and walk to the Caltrain station to take the 7:59 train to Mountain View. I have quite a long commute, but it's not that bad when I consider I can spend the time on the train to myself. It's a nice way to start the morning and sometimes I get some more time to sleep. 9:15 - At work! I work in Sales, so most of my job consists of writing emails, finding new contacts, and talking to clients. Before I went into sales, I would have never guessed that for most of the day the job itself is quiet-- just the sound of incessant typing. 12:30 - Work is great and feeds us. I pick up breakfast typically on my way in, and head down to grab lunch usually around this time. X - I'm writing this entry in retrospect and don't recall much of my day at work. They're usually a blur. A couple of us are being promoted in title to the next step and at the moment it's a transitory time for us to build up our own book of business. 5:30 - I leave the office and commute back to the city. 7 - I'm home and cook some food. I pretty much just spend the evening reading and relaxing. Once in a while I'll get pretty intent on studying everything on a subject-- today it was about bdsm. I had been visiting this place with the guy I'm seeing (R) and I think after a couple trips, it makes sense for me to now to at least read up on the terminology and discussion on it. I spend most of the evening reading. I think this has been my biggest gripe coming out of school-- that my learning feels slower and I don't have as much depth into subjects as well as I did while in school. I miss it and I think these random evening binges help fill that gap. X - I remember at some point that I bought a decorative plate for my kokedama plant (Japanese moss ball plants-- look them up!). I water it and put it on the plate. It looks super cute on the plate. I've reached my peak of interior design capabilities. 10 - I text R before bed. I think we're in a good place and I'm happy. I fall asleep around 11. Daily Total: 0 Tuesday 7 - I wake up feeling like a lot is happening. My roommate is moving out -- I'm refiguring out how to pay rent and get a new subletter onboard and also find time to have dinner with the girl heading back to Malaysia. I haven't done laundry in a while -- sheets, clothes. I'm out of the country on Saturday -- packing, getting other shit in order while I'm gone. The volunteering programs I'm in are kinda happening in the background. Work is picking up -- I'm moving into a new role. I am reconnecting with a ton of friends but also making a conscious effort to pace myself. I am trying to get into setting up my personal site for random art projects I've done in the past and set me up to put content out on the internet. I want to start organizing events. I shoot off a few texts to get this all rolling and feel better. 11: - The sales reps have a weird conversation with our manager. He's not transparent and can be weird on certain topics. We're all concerned that this isn't a 'real promotion', especially since salary hasn't been discussed at all. 12:30 - We have a lunch sync just trying to figure out the situation together and how to approach it. 5: - I leave work and pick up a fruit tart from the kitchen before heading out. Their fruit tarts are hands down my favorite desserts, so that made my day. It's tasty and I feel healthy. 5:30 - My best friend calls while I commute back home. We chat and hang. 6:30 - I stop by Safeway after work to stock up on groceries. I spend a good 5 minutes standing in front of the pressed juice and kombucha and weird health shots aisle wondering what it is I need to change my life. Everything is overpriced and I end up buying a box of cornbread and some food instead. ($21) 7: - On my way home, I hit up my apartment laundromat to load my card up but realize I left my laundry card in my room. Oh well. I stop by the lil communal library and grab 3 books that seem interesting instead. 8: - I'm home and eat some cornbread while reading. I cook something quickly and eat while browsing Ulta. There is a new incoming pimple on my face and I'm upset. This is my birthday week and I got both my period and period-induced pimples. 10: 0 I end up finishing a skim of the first book and place my Ulta order. Text a couple friends before falling asleep around 12. Daily Total: 21 Wednesday 8: - A groggy morning spent on the train. I usually read Money Diaries during this time. 9: - Head in, to be barraged by my fav coworker on Slack. She's working at a different office this week and has a good amount of tea and updates. We chat and I clean up my email while doing some work. 12:30 - Get lunch outside with a couple coworkers. It's so nice out and we're located right by a lil park. 1: - Get a lot of work done. I've set myself up with 4 meetings for once I'm back on holiday and I'm pretty hyped to close some business. 4: - I've hit a bit of a wall and feel like an animal pacing my cage as I tab in between my email, Reddit, my work, my spreadsheets, and my money diary. The office feels empty already. 5:30: - Leave the office to get to the train. 6:45: - I'm back home! One of my roommates is out of the country and subletting her apartment in the meanwhile. The current subletter is moving out soon, so I'm helping my original roommate show the place to potential subletters. I'm supposed to call a girl around 7, so text her a heads up beforehand seeing if she was still able to call. Calling out of the blue always feels invasive so I like to check first. She leaves me on read. Ahhh. I waste some time on the internet waiting around for her for a bit. 7:30: - The prospective subletter I was supposed to call to show the apartment was MIA so ??. The second call about this volunteering program I'm intending on joining was also MIA?? It’s not a great day for calls and it always feels like progress outside of work is slow. 8: - I cook a really bad meal and eat it while watching The Bachelorette season premiere. I'll pass on the drama and stuff with the rest of the season, but the intros of these dudes are really funny. Guys get surprisingly catty and I love it. 9: - I hit the gym. It's a good deadlift day! I usually lose a couple lbs off during period week, but was actually able to maintain weight this time around. 10: - Msg R about different animes and mangas and get a couple recommendations. I head to bed shortly after. Daily Total: 0 Thursday 9: - Breakfast was hella tasty. 10: - Team meeting. Quite uneventful. 11:30: - I'm setting myself up well for next quarter and I'm feeling good right now. There are new snacks in the office... but everyone has nabbed the almond butter cups. Finding and trying the new almond butter cups becomes my personal mission for the rest of the day and I make sure to check each time I pass through the microkitchen. 1: - Have a client call that goes well. The gal is sweet and we manage to connect. 4: - Finally cop a dark chocolate almond butter cup. And ramen. 5: - I head out early to catch the train back to the city. There is an art exhibit in Oakland I've been meaning to stop by and there's a talk at the exhibit during afterhours today about art cabals. Lowkey want to start one and host community-oriented art events for the heck of it, so I feel like this will be a good first stop. I buy my ticket on the train. (8) 5:30: - People watching the different stops of the train is always fun. There was an older woman who had the prettiest gray hair. I think that when I'm older I'm going to embrace the gray or at least dye it a consistent gray since that'd be a look. I nap on the train shortly after. 6:30: - I stop by Whole Foods to get a bit of food before heading over to BART to get to the art gallery talk (8). I refill my BART card with some money on my way (34). There's nothing llke a freshly loaded BART card. (42) 7: - Get to the art gallery! I check out the different installations they've done, talk to a lady who runs her own society (I honestly regret not asking her more about it), and chat with a locally famous Vine author in the Bay Area who I recognized after seeing him in a documentary during the SF Film Fest. They were selling books on the art cabal that the artist of the exhibit started, so I purchase one. I think I was the only person under 30 in the audience. I had hoped to find similar minded people who are in the urban exploration/weird event scene in present day, but I still enjoyed it. (32) 9: - Back on the BART and start heading home. 9:30: - My friend calls becuase I texted him earlier since I was having a mild panic attack. Happens. 10: - I like the new book I got!! It was so worth it!! Read a bit before showering and heading to bed. Daily Total: 74 Friday 7: - It's my bday! 23! (yeah, I'm the baby at the office) I was never a birthday person because growing up, birthdays weren't particularly celebrated or special, but today feels special. 9: - One of my close coworker gals comes in a bit later and brings in a cake for my birthday! It's a beautiful cake and that has to be one of the nicest things anyone has done for me? 12: - The day goes by super fast. I clean out a couple email tasks and get some housekeeping and administrative tasks out of the way. 2: - We cut and eat the cake! It's really fucking delicious and I'm so grateful. It's a good fun time with people wishing me a happy birthday and chatting about my plans for Austria (mostly them discovering I don't have any clear ones since I'm largely tagging along with my parents). My main goals while there would be to do some shopping, visit the Naschmarkt, see the Spanish Riding school, eat cake at a cafe, attend an opera, and get time to chat with my parents. 3: - My managers are pretty much done with the day so part of the sales team heads out to a bar on the main street. I get a couple IPAs and feel pretty toasty shooting the shit with everyone else. The bill is expensed. 4:30: - I head out early and spend my time on the train calling. My friend calls to wish me a happy birthday and my parents call later as well. I make my way downtown to the restaurant I booked a reservation at. 6: - The place has a multi-course menu that rotates in what they serve on a daily basis. I get a beer, a tomato soup, salmon main, and a really really nice blueberry tarte. I was super full and content at this point though not necessarily sure if I wanted to go out or how to continue the rest of the night. The day was already amazing. (60) 7:30: - I'm back at my apartment and generally cleaning up and drink a cider while I wait for R to stop by. I'm still unsure what I want to do-- get more drinks? arcade bar? I had been experiencing a solid buzz since 3 and my decision making capabilities were out of the picture. 8: - He got me a really cute, relevant gift, and some chocolate from a chocolatier that we were at in one of our earlier hangouts. It was super thoughtful considering he probably had to spend a good hour to cross the city just to get to these spots and pick out these things. It's been a special day all day so I pop open a bottle of really good moscato I got from a Napa trip. We drink and hang and talk in my apartment for way too long as usual and he doesn't head back home until 4. Daily Total: 60 Saturday 7: - I am up at 7... and realize my flight is at 9:10. FUCK. There is a mad scramble to throw a bunch of shit into my bag. I get an Uber that will guarantee me getting to the airport as fast as possible. This poor dude had to deal with me massively panicking. (30) 9: - Check-in was super confusing since it was a chartered airline, but serviced by United? Regardless, I somehow make it to my terminal with 15 minutes to spare. At this point, I was experiencing a mild hangover, starving, running on 2 hours of sleep, and was completely dehydrated. Running through SFO was physically exhausting and I felt like keeling over. In this moment of weakness, I overpay for a croissant sandwich and a Naked smoothie. I think it was worth it because I could physically feel my hitpoints replenishing while sitting on the ground of my gate in awful condition. (18) 11: - I completely crash on the plane right through takeoff and landing. The woman next to me was a bit concerned and when I woke up when we were in LA, she made a point of letting me know we've arrived. Bless her heart. 12: LAX has a Pret which I've really missed from my time in London. I buy a chipotle chicken wrap and eat it while waiting for my turn to board. It's so toasty and so good and sets me up with just enough carbs to fall asleep again when we board. (10) 12:30: I get a great window seat and crash. X: - (Time is always funky to me when I'm up in the air considering the weird timezones/crossing timezones. Timestamps are kinda arbitrary at this point out) I sleep a solid 8 hours on my flight throughout the whole thing and woke up briefly to eat cheesecake and chicken from the airplane meal. I was able to also squeeze in two movies -- watching 8 Mile (that last rap battle had me hella pumped up) and The Apple of My Eye (I end up bawling throughout the movie to the confusion of the guy sitting next to me). Daily Total: 58 Sunday X: - I land in Vienna with no issue! Honestly it's a miracle. I get a taxi to an address my parents text me-- apparently the apartment we're staying in for the first 3 days is quite hard to find and the ice cream shop address was easier to find. Vienna is a gorgeous city and it's so much warmer than the breezy fake summer San Francisco gets. (28) 1 pm their time: - My dad meets me here! We head up to the apartment where I find my mom! It's so great to see them and we catch up while I change into shorts and a t-shirt. Opening up my luggage was hilarious-- everything looked like it was thrown in last minute but I realized even while slightly delirious and in panicmode, I was able to bring everything I needed. We decide to wander around the city and explore for a bit. We're in the heart of Vienna-- District 1 and walking through the streets has us seeing a ton of gorgeous architecture and shops. We find a place to eat. The place we chose is super touristy, but fun. I loved the apple streudel. It's totally different from the ones we have out here. My parents pay. 4 pm their time: - It's got to be at least 90 degrees out and we are jetlagged. I haven't experienced true hot weather like this in over a year and my parents are weak. We don't get very far walking and end up heading back to the apartment and crash. X: - My mom wants to take a nap and my dad decides to rest too. I hang out on the couch reading a web serial before falling asleep myself. 8 pm their time: - We all agree that we feel much much better. They are working with 6 hours of timezone difference while I'm dealing with 9 hours. Today was a good day to just rest, see each other, eat and take in the city. It's late at this point and we're hungry again and decide to grab some more food at a cafe down the street. They pay. 9: We wander around the city and stop by the Vienna State Operahouse. They have Othello at the opera today, and although we missed the timeframe to get tickets, they happen to have a large screen outside the operahouse showing the show. There's quite a crowd outside, sitting on benches and on the ground watching Othello. We join in and I get to see the last 30 mins of the opera. So much talent and such a voice even from a recording played to the outdoors. 11: - Back to the apartment and we chat and hang out. We all get ready for bed again. I browse random internet things before falling asleep myself as well. Daily Total: 28 Expenses Summary: 0 Food & Drink: 117 Fun & Entertainment: 40 Home & Health: 0 Clothes & Beauty: 0 Transport: 92 Other: 0 Total: 249 Reflection: This isn’t the most typical week since I had a few birthday splurges and overspent on an urgent Uber ride (BART would have been ~$6). As a whole, I’ve been lucky enough that food expenses are on the lower end since work covers my breakfast and lunch, but I’m still a bit surprised by how quickly food costs add up. I also don’t keep track of the cents on my spending since a lot of my tracking is manual, but I do round up and down in a pretty 50/50 manner. Other thoughts: I think my savings are relatively reasonable-- I have been on track to have a 50% (+/- 2%) pre-tax savings rate. I don’t know what I’m saving towards. Retirement? To start a business? A year long cross-world sabbatical? That’s something I’ll need to flesh out, but it’s sorta a combination of all of those. I also realize my life is kind of chaotic. I do a lot and they’re all in different directions and I often wonder if it’d make more sense to streamline things so I can have better focus. In writing this, I do feel like not having a Savings account is kind of strange. I had fun with this! Thanks for reading! I hope you guys had a glimpse into my life! And of course, I’d love any feedback on any part.
I’ve often wondered if there was anything else I could’ve said to change his mind. That happens with any unsettled argument though I suppose. People always imagine there’s an elusive combination of words and rationales that will open a person’s mind to our way of thinking. Except people are stubborn that’s for sure. Myself included. So I’m sure you’d say the real problem was that I wasn’t open enough to his way of thinking. You’d say if I opened my mental door a bit, been more charitable to his point of view, he would’ve responded in kind and I would’ve saved him. Which is wrong. Just as likely perhaps, if not more likely, I would’ve been ensnared by the same delusion which sealed his, well, I’d never call it fate. But I know you’d claim everything was inevitable all the same. Let’s get one thing out of the way. Yes, I was Roman Peters’ friend. In fact, I was probably his only friend. His only real friend anyway. Although, I should clarify since my wording isn’t at all clear, that I most certainly was not Roman’s friend when he died. Roman and I had stopped being friends long before his rather public suicide. We had our falling out before his… fall. Yes, I’ve seen the video. No, I won’t be sharing the link. Nobody should watch it. Hell, if those hosting the servers had a modicum of respect or even a shred of sense they’d take down that awful video immediately. Just get rid of it. Already I can now hear your loud complaints about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’. Which is fair. People have a right to know. However I can’t help but feel… I don’t know. It seems as though the ideas people prioritize no longer has anything to do with the ideas themselves. Instead importance is based on who opposes what. Ideas now are little more than mental parasites that feed on blood boiling outrage. The more toxic and viral an idea the more broadly it spreads. Again, I don’t know. Maybe the flame of human enlightenment was always destined to be either smothered by tyranny or choke itself out on its own smoke after sucking out all the air. Yes yes. I know what you have to say about the inevitable. Anyway, me shoving my head up my own pretentious ass isn’t convincing you of anything so we should instead go back to Roman. We met back in early elementary school. Specifically the Catholic school of Father Lloyd Van Tiem, or Flivit if you wanted to annoy the teachers by slurring the acronym. What you need to understand is that I can’t really remember how Roman and I became friends to begin with. We were too young for the pertinent details to stick. I’d imagine it was the same generic way everyone develops friends at that age though, just a standard confluence of common interests, general proximity, and plain luck. Inevitable, as you’d say. Still, there was one moment of our early friendship that I reflect on often. See, instead of being your standard dinosaur obsessed kid I was a bright eyed Egyptology child. Mummies and pyramids captured my imagination more than T-rexs and velociraptors. Ancient Egypt appealed to me the way I figure the mythic civilizations of Tolkien or Martin might appeal to others. This extended to the Egyptian religious pantheon, many I can still name off the top of my head, like Ra, Bastet, Osiris, Sobek, Horus, Thoth, Isis, Anubis, Maat, and also the lesser goddess Ammut but I’ll come back to her later. I think I’d just turned 10 when on particular slow school day — remember Catholic school — our teacher, not wanting to put too much effort in before the Easter long weekend, threw on the animated movie: The Prince of Egypt. Now, I knew it was about the story of Moses freeing the Hebrews from Egypt, so I expected the Egyptians were going to rightly be portrayed poorly. What I didn’t expect was the reaction of my classmates. Part way through the song ‘Playing with the Big Boys,’ the song where the dumb priests use smoke and mirrors to dismiss Moses’ calls for freedom, around then is when I first noticed the glances and occasional snickering. Apparently the chorus of the evil priests listing the names of the Egyptian gods reminded the class of me. At school, I was rather vocal about my passion for all things Egyptian. Why wouldn’t I be? I was a kid who liked talking about what I liked. Regardless, I became a pariah after that. Not immediately, but slowly everyone I previously considered my friend just plain stopped being friends with me. They’d treat me like a third wheel, never invite me to anything, even ditch me at recess if I tried to follow them. Except Roman stuck by me as I drifted further into social irrelevance. A bit of a loner himself, I think he saw in me an oddball like himself. He was always there. He was always willing to hang out. He always listened to what I had to say. I felt we could talk about anything, in a way I could never talk to my parents or teachers or anyone really. As close as I thought we were, it wasn’t until middle school that it sunk in how much of an ardent atheist Roman was. He probably kept that pretty quiet going to a religious school. Hold on. Let me just explain something first. Most people avoid discussing religiosity and ideas about god, (or capital ‘G’ God as I had been taught in religious studies). It’s one of those things that people learn not to talk about. But unlike money and politics, religion is too close to that other taboo we learn never to discuss: death. You undoubtedly prefer this silence. Which is why I refuse to be silent. Our class had been taken to church for some ceremony, at the end of grade eight, I forget exactly which one, it might have been Ash Wednesday but I think that would’ve been too solemn and I remember it being a rather boisterous affair. Whatever ritual it was, it had more than just our school in attendance, as I think parents and other members of the community were there as well. On the stage or pulpit, there was a soft-rock band with members ranging from late twenties or early thirties, the lead singer, a mop of molasses coloured hair over a plain crew neck T, was singing a song about how god and they love us all. I remember thinking it was a sweet sentiment, even if the underlying spiritual message felt uncompelling to my teenage self. The music was fine, the crowd seemed to like it, the worst I would have said was that the performance was inoffensive and benign. Which is hardly much of a critique. Except Roman, in his ill-fitting sport coat and smiley face graphic-T, smirked remarking, “Oh boy, a budget rock show where the singer says they love me? Oh lawd, I’m really feelin’ the Jesus now.” I burst out laughing far louder than the wry joke called for. Luckily with the music blaring, the teachers wouldn’t be lecturing me on my disrespect, as only Roman could see my gut busting delight. That’s it. That’s all it took was that simple comment. After that, I couldn’t help but see the tacky spectacle of it all. How forced and contrived it was, how it mostly just seemed like people were there because of obligation. After all, I was only there because the school made us go. It couldn’t have been much different for everyone else. I’ve been thinking about that moment more often lately. Did his small remark really change my mind and entire world view? Or was my mind fertile ground for the seed of that idea to take root and grow? Or I’d already believed what I believed and Roman just articulated it in a way that I hadn’t. Or most troubling of all, what if I didn’t really believe in anything and my mind conformed to the words of my one and only friend. When with Roman, do as the Roman does. After that, I followed him eagerly into the land of Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris. Borrowing his books, I started learning everything there was to know about theological philosophy that the teachers at our religious school either refused to tell us or were incapable of discussing themselves. Together, we’d share our thoughts on the bloody history of religions, the Problem of Evil, and how you could never prove a negative like god doesn’t exist. Likewise we’d take turns picking apart the fallacies of Pascal’s Wager, the Ontological Argument, and the Argument of Design. Those were some of my best memories with Roman. Drinking pop from the fridge in my garage, eating the weird pizzas we’d order from Mad Mike’s pizza aroud the block, playing Halo on the couch and big screen, and all the while talking like were the smartest guys in the world. As we left our Catholic elementary and middle schools behind, we entered Catholic High School. I finally started making other friends. A handful of other geeky nerdy guys. They were more interested in pizza and gaming than anything religion though. Roman seemed indifferent to my new friends. He was far more preoccupied fighting with Mr. Bauer, the school’s most openly devout teacher. My feelings toward Christianity hadn’t yet softened but Roman’s were clearly becoming more militant. From the safety of my conflict-averse sidelines, I secretly cheered Roman on whenever Mr. Bauer crossed a line. See, Mr. Bauer was a real piece of work. He seemed pleasant and cheery enough, pastel shirts, clean white trainers, a big white smile and perpetually soft spoken, but eventually without fail his bigotry would expose itself. Before any class Mr. Bauer would teach, he’d lead the class in prayer. Normally they were generic and unremarkable. Every so often though his prayers would go beyond the usual, “Thank you God for this beautiful day.” With a gentle smile, at least once a week his prayers were something to the effect of, “Help guide my students away from lives of sin.” Or “Give us the strength to resist our carnal temptation.” Whenever he prayed like this there was a fifty-fifty chance Mr. Bauer would elaborate on what exactly he meant by ‘life of sin’ or ‘carnal temptation.’ It could range from the condescending, “Help the girls find husbands to protect them from the unmarried lifestyle,” and “Give the boys hobbies to stop their idle urge for masturbation.” (By the way, in the three years I listened to him, Boys never needed protection from the unmarried lifestyle and girls simply didn’t possess the idle urge for masturbation.) And he could go way up past condescending to the outright hateful. “Please open those of misguided faith to the one true path to Heaven through you, Jesus Christ,” he’d say obliquely when Hussein was attending class. He was more direct with Melissa, “And save Melissa from any perversion of your sanctioned union. Bless her with God’s holy covenant between man and woman so as to rescue her soul from homosexuality.” Hussein and Melissa would usually try their best to ignore Mr. Bauer. It was Roman who retaliated. “How did god rescue you from homosexuality?” There was a few scattered snickers from the class. Mr. Bauer, oblivious to what Roman was trying to do, answered sincerely, “Why… God sent me my wonderful wife of course.” “Well its a good thing god sent her he did, otherwise who knows what might have happened. You might have knob-gobbled a guy if it weren’t for that.” There was more barely contained chuckling. “I…” Mr. Bauer wasn’t sure what to say, “I suppose that’s one way to frame it.” “Yeah, like if your wife hadn’t straightened you out, why, two dudes with big oily muscles might be sword fighting in your mouth right now while a third drills you from behind.” The laughs were spilling freely now, myself included. “Can you imagine that? I mean seriously, are you imagining that right now?” Mr. Bauer would then have to deal with the chorus of laughter. “Alright alright. Settle down. We’re getting off track here. Moving on.” By then of course, it would be too late, everybody would be on the same side. Not his. I admired Roman’s courage to stand up to Mr. Bauer like that. That wasn’t the only time either. Usually, Roman kept his cool while he made Mr. Bauer look like a fool. He deserved it. He was a dick. You might have something to say about what we deserve though. As we entered our last year of High School, Roman started butting heads with the other teachers too. Even the teachers that weren’t as outwardly religious as Mr. Bauer got some of his flak. His humour started taking on definite edge too. It was still in good fun, at least that’s how it seemed to me, but there was an undercurrent of meanness to his comments too. Even as I drifted away into my own separate circle of friends, I still sympathized with the perspective Roman was coming from. They, meaning the school, were trying to indoctrinate young minds into a belief system that could be outright harmful. In that regard, even if it wouldn’t change anything, a little rebellion isn’t just good but required. However, where he really crossed the line in my mind was with Mrs. Ellie Monk in our last year. She one of the younger teachers, also fairly religious, always wearing her little silver cross, but she never lectured anyone on faith. She taught our English class and one of the assignments was writing essays analyzing other pieces of literature. Roman, being the intellectual gadfly he was, wrote his essay on Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. In it, Roman argued how the modern world needed more extreme measures than simply eating babies. ‘All babies should be aborted before they are born, and the foetus gruel should be processed into bio-fuel to replace society’s fossil fuel vehicles. It’s the only way to save the planet from climate catastrophe!’ I thought this was really funny. Ellie Monk however, did not. She tried speaking to him a discreetly during class while everyone else was busy working. Roman, however, quickly drew in an audience. “Abortion, abortion, abortion! You can’t make me stop saying it. It’s just a word.” “Roman,” Mrs. Ellie Monk had her jaw drop, “can’t you see that’s a sensitive topic that should be treated more seriously!” “Really? Because I think I treat the return to sender option for foetuses with the exact level of seriousness it deserves.” “It’s not— you can’t joke about babies being killed!” “Just because you say it’s baby killing, doesn’t make it true. They aren’t the same as babies. And if I were to submit to your demands and shut my mouth I’d implicitly be agreeing with you.” Up until this point, I was definitely rooting for Roman. “Just because its a joke to you, for others— for me it is deeply hurtful to have to hear these things. What you’re talking about is—is deeply personal to mothers everywhere.” “Yeah, well, some people were never meant to be mothers.” At this she covered her mouth and ran out of the room. She didn’t come back that day and the was a substitute the next. There had been rumours going around that Mrs. Ellie Monk had had a miscarriage a few months back. I knew this because Roman had told it to me earlier. Later, I’d try and convince Roman he had in fact crossed that invisible line. He disagreed. He said, “It’s not my problem if she can’t grow thicker skin. The sooner humanity grows out of its immaturity the better.” I felt I had no other choice but to drop the subject. I was conflict-averse after all. Shortly after that Roman began talking about a forum he frequented called Defiant CodeX, or DCX for short. It was named after some sci-fi book I never cared about, but was apparently filled with a bunch of humorous philosophy references. He’d talk about his online friends. How they really seemed to ‘get it’ whatever ‘it’ was. And he began describing concepts I wasn’t familiar with like trans-humanism and the singularity, going on long rants about the future of technology and humanity. I wish I’d paid more attention. It seemed interesting enough, but sometimes we’re just not interested in interesting things. When Roman got going on one of his speeches on the Law of Accelerating Returns, for some reason I’d often check out. I was reminded about how much I cared — or used to care — about Ancient Egypt. Years had passed since our class watched the Prince of Egypt, and in that time I hadn’t thought much about Egyptian Mythology at all. Briefly, with Roman recommending it, I frequented the DCX forum myself. I admit there were interesting gaming discussions, intense political debates, and a charming comic that I really quite enjoyed despite its slight pretentiousness. For the most part I stayed away from the same parts of the forum as Roman. He spent most of his time in the ‘Technology’ board, which didn’t seem very technologically focused at all in my opinion. Yes, I know your opinion on opinions and I don’t care. I don’t care because this is where I’d point to as the time Roman first found you. The two of us started hanging out less and less often after that. My other friends said good riddance. They said he was an unpleasant person to be around, he was too bitter, cynical, misanthropic. Needless to say, I hadn’t noticed. In the last few times we hung out, this was before we went off to pursue our different post-secondary educations, he did make one last ominous sounding reference. It was only in passing, and never emphasized, but he mentioned you by name. He mentioned the Basilisk. Whenever the topic switched to our post-High School plans, “Doesn’t matter. It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.” Something in the way he said that made me nervous, almost like it was a threat, and instantly put me on the defensive. Once again my conflict averse persona got in the way of challenging him to explain what he meant. Because of that, the phrase kept rattling away in the back of my mind. Around then is when I had my first dreams. I was cold. I was alone. Around me were braziers of green flame. The smoke billowed up into an infinite of blackness ceiling. On all sides were sheer blocks of sandstone with writing etched onto their surfaces. Hieroglyphics that I couldn’t read but almost understand. There was nowhere to go but straight down this hallway of speaking pictures. My feet slapped the unyielding rock with every step. These hard surroundings felt more real than my own ephemeral body and I felt naked and exposed in the narrow corridor. Forward and forward, there was nowhere to go but forward. I was forced to proceed, forced to follow my own slapping footsteps. Eventually, when the hall finally seemed to open up into a large cavernous space, I heard the growl. The sound was low, wide and flat toned, a noise that filled the perfumed air with an inhuman indifference — and hunger. In front of me chains clattered and slipped. In the centre of this room golden scales held a pristine and unburdened feather on one side, and a wet chunk of glistening meat in the other. This meat was a heart — my heart — and it weighed heavily, still pulsing quietly, pulling the chains of the scale down. Now I understood what this was. I made to run and grab my heart but it was too late. A long shadow snapped through the darkness. My heart was gone, replaced by the sounds of the empty chains, followed by chewing and ripping flesh. Then the shadow showed itself to me. Down through the clouds of smoke and illuminated by the sickly pale green haze, a crocodile head emerged, much larger than my entire body, with teeth longer than my arms. It drew nearer and I ran. I ran down the hallway from where I’d came. I ran and I ran. But I had nowhere to go. The hallway was endless. Soon I could hear a thundering beat. I thought it was my heart but my heart was gone. Behind me, the giant behemoth was chasing me and it was gaining on me. Closer and closer, the massive crodile head drew nearer. The scent of its moist breath dampening my back and neck. I’d scream the beast’s name, shout at it to spare me. It would open its mouth and right then — is where I’d wake up. Each time I’d be drenched in my own sweat. I chocked this up to the stress of being away from home for the first time and being buried to my neck in my coarse load. Still though, these dreams trouble me. As I said about the scales, I knew exactly what they were. They were the scales of Ma’at, which judges the worth of Egyptians when they reach the afterlife. There your heart is weighed against an ostrich feather and if judged impure, it would be devoured by Ammut, or Ammit as she’s sometimes called. A beastly goddess with the head of crocodile and a body of lion and hippopotamus — the three man-eating creatures known to the ancient Egyptians. Ammut, the devourer of the dead, would bring about the second death of the unworthy. As much as I tried to ignore this dream, I only had it once every few months after all, something greater troubled me about this dream, more than just the fact I was dreaming about Ammut. What worried me was how I didn’t call her Ammut. Right as she was about to eat me whole and I begged her not to, I called her: Basilisk. After my first year of school, with middling but hopefully improving grades, I returned home for the summer to work and save money for my next semester. I was hardly back for more than a day when Roman messaged me, asking to hang out. I hadn’t spoken to Roman at all since our High School graduation, and neither had a checked in on the DCX forums in all that time either. I felt like I didn’t know the person was going to be meeting. Which is why I suggested going for coffee, but Roman insisted on meeting at his place instead. He had moved out of his parents place for a small basement suite apartment. When he opened the door to greet me, I was shocked. He looked like a completely different person. Whereas before he had been a bit overweight, now he was lean. His hair had been cut down to almost a sheer buzz. Just about the only thing that looked similar was how he wore a suit jacket, now fitting well, over a plain T. He smiled widely despite the tired bags under his eyes. “Hey buddy, you made it! Get in here, man.” He greeted me with a hug and ushered me inside. His place was largely bare and furnished with only a couch and a few chairs. “How long have you had this place?” I asked. “A few months.” With little else to do but chat, Roman didn’t even have a TV after all, the conversation felt a little stilted. He seemed guarded but maybe he just didn’t have much to talk about. Somehow though we managed to stretch the small talk out for nearly an hour. Finally when it seemed there was nothing left in our conversation about nothing, I asked a question I‘d been meaning to ask since agreeing to meet, “Can I ask you something Roman?” “Shoot.” “What is the Basilisk?” At this the blood drained from his face. “How do you know about that?” “From you. You told me about it.” “No,” he shook his head in shocked disbelief, “No, I never.” “Yes, you said something like: ‘It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.’ It was practically your motto for a few weeks there.” Hearing this, some colour returned to his face. “Right. I suppose I did say that.” “So what? Are you going to tell me what it is or not?” He stared at me for a wordless five seconds before getting up from his chair and beckoning him to follow. He led me to his bedroom. At the door I could already feel an uncomfortable warmth escape. I don’t know what I expected Roman would show me, but all there was was a bare mattress with a single blanket in one corner, and a full floor to ceiling tower computer in the other. Blinking green, orange, red, and even purple standby lights lit up the corner like a black Christmas tree. Whirring fans blasted more heat into the room, while tangles of wires snaked in and out of the metal frame, one low to the ground connected a single monitor bolted to the wall with a pillow on the ground for a chair. The entire set up must cost a small fortune, as I’ve seen medium sized business with smaller servers than that. “Holy crap Roman, that rig is intense. What, are you mining bitcoin or something?” “No.” He said flatly. “This is the Basilisk.” “The… Basilisk is your computer?” Roman laughed, but there was no mirth, only exhaustion. “If it was just my computer, then I could just turn it off.” I still had no clue what the hell he was talking about. “Okay, so you’re trying to kill this Basilisk thing, what, is it a video game boss or—?” “Shhh!” He put a greasy palm over my mouth. His eyes were wide, scanning the room, “I didn’t say that. I never said that.” Annoyed, I pulled his hand from my face, “Roman, tell me what the Basilisk is damn it! Please, you’re scaring me man.” He swallowed, “I shouldn’t tell you. But you already know. So I guess the damage is done. The Basilisk is the A.I. we — humanity — will awaken. It will be a super-intelligence far beyond anything we can imagine, beyond the totality of human brainpower by orders of magnitude.” “So you’re trying to make this a.i. thing?” “Not just me. There are others out there spending all their time and money hastening the point of genesis.” All their money he said. I was reminded of how much the computer must have cost. “Roman, how much money did you waste on this?” “Hopefully enough. But I assure you, not a single dollar was wasted. You know, it was the time talking to you that I thought was a waste. But now I see, if I get you to help, then it’ll all be worth it.” “Help? There’s no way I’m helping.” If anything I was seriously fearing for Roman’s well being. It can’t be healthy for him to be spending everything he has on this computer. “Except you have to help now. Now that you know about the Basilisk, you have to help. Or else it will kill you a second time.” My blood went cold. I was reminded of my dreams with Ammut, the devourer. “What?” “The Basilisk will torture and punish anyone who knew about it and didn’t help speed up its genesis.” There was that genesis term again. “You said it was an a.i.. Why would an a.i. do that?” “Because the genesis of a Friendly A.I. will be the most value generating event ever, ever second that time point is pushed ahead is worth more than a hundred billion dollars spent curing cancer in terms of utility. Therefore this Friendly A.I. would know it must motivate people to speed up its genesis. To do that, it will create perfect simulations of everyone, and punish those who could have done more to help but chose not to. It’s pure logic.” This whole thing sounded crazy. My emotions began to get heated and I tried debating this absurd concept. For example, he kept using the term ‘Friendly A.I.’ to describe the intelligence that would condemn millions of people to unimaginable agony. When I pointed out that didn’t make any sense, such a horrible being couldn’t be described as anything remotely close to ‘friendly’, he balked. Said the term ‘friendly’ doesn’t mean what I think it means and lectured me on arbitrary human values. It seemed like every word was the opposite of what I thought it meant. He had an entire lexicon of words and justifications at the ready while I could barely understand half of what he was saying let alone point out any potential flaw with the logic. Other terms like ‘Modal Realism’, ‘Effective Altruism’, ‘Arithmetical Utilitarianism’ were thrown out like road blocks each time I thought my understanding was catching up. I couldn’t convince him of anything. I tried saying if he’s making the a.i. he should either just not make it at all or not make this cruel human torturer monstrosity. He said that it wasn’t cruel, that he wasn’t making anything, that some form of A.I. was inevitable, an the Basilisk was the best outcome. “Other A.I. that doesn’t care about people might wipe us all out for draining power away of its quark collision calculations or something equally esoteric in human utility.” Lastly I tried to explain how if this A.I. is only torturing simulations of people, then they aren’t exactly us. He dismissed this easily. “Will you be the exact same person you are today next year? Does that mean you don’t care what happens to the you in the future?” After that I had nothing left to say. “Brody, please leave. I only wanted to see my friend one more time before I leave tomorrow.” When I got home, I poured myself a tall glass of cheap whisky, and drank it instantly, a bad habit I picked up at during my first semester. But I still had to know. Sleep could wait. Slouching onto my computer, I decided to return to the DCX forums which might have some answers. They seemed much quieter now. Threads seemed to have on average a tenth of the comments as I remembered. In a alcohol induced buzz, I came right out and started my own thread titled, “What the Hell is the Basilisk?” In it I mentioned how I think my friend was getting obsessed with this thing and I needed to know what the hell was going on. In five short minutes my thread was deleted and my account banned from the DCX forums. ‘Breach of the Code of Conduct’ was the only immediate explanation given. When I contacted the mods to find out what I did wrong the moderator who got back to me said: “Nice try mipsqueak. You trolls from the institute have done enough damage here.” Institute? Mipsqueak? Calmly I went through the arduous process of explaining my sincere ignorance on what I did wrong and convincing the mod I wasn’t trolling, mostly through effusive apologizing and imploring the mod to check the age of my account. Eventually they relented, somewhat. “Alright. I’m going to lift your ban, but you should know that any mention of the ‘B’ is normally a one-way ticket to a perma-ban.” I did try sending one last message to the mod asking them if they could please tell me what had happened in the time I’d been away from the forums and why the ‘B’ was a taboo subject. They didn’t answer the first question except by way of crudely answering the second, “We banned all discussion of the ‘B’ and all related institute bullshit because people are fucking retarded.” Once again, I don’t care what you have to say about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’. Besides, it didn’t matter. It clicked the second time. I remembered the institute. It was last year. On the Technology board of DCX, one of Roman’s favourite haunts, people had long winded discussions on futurism. It was there where I first heard people talk about the Institute. The Machine Initiative Progress Institute, or MIPI, as far as I know, isn’t actually located in any geographical building. Instead they like to think of themselves as a loose consortium of like-minded futurists and researchers who believe in the coming eminence of artificial intelligence, and more than that, the Institute believes it is their duty to aid in that a.i.’s ‘genesis’. “A.I. will be the most important development humanity will make in the history of life itself. And the Institute is probably going to make it happen.” Roman once told me with glee. Later, if I hadn’t seen members of the Institute with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have ever believed they were real. For the longest time I thought the Institute was a fake front some internet randoms created on a whim to make themselves feel more important and relevant. Sort of like 4chan’s Anonymous except nerdier and lower profile. That night, my dream was the most intense it had ever been. From down the vast hallway to my doom, there was chanting. A voice would call out, and a hundred more would answer. It didn’t even sound like language, just monosyllabic mantras. They were closer to the martial shouts of soldiers in training than religious worship. “Ah. AH! Rah. RAH! Jah. JAH!” As I entered the grand room with incense and braziers of pale fire, masked men bowed up and down in supplication. A taller man in flowing robes that pooled at his feet stood behind the golden scales. Through the wisps of smoke I couldn’t see his face as he led the congregation to reflect his profane prayer. This time, the scale between my heart and the pristine white feather was in perfect and equal balance. A hush fell as the priest raised his hands. Carefully he lowered one, slowly, until the scales were tipped. That’s not fair! I wanted to shout but couldn’t as the chamber was drowned by the first croaking growl. I sprinted to run. Men caught me by the arms. Not only did they prevent my attempt to flee, worse, they forced me to watch. The giant crocodile that emerged above the priest, its yellowed teeth dripped with rot and viscera. Its hide peeled with disease and decay. The devourer of the dead itself dead, a reanimated husk. The priest tossed my heart into the air and with a snap the devourer swallowed it, further engorging its distended gullet. With each booming step of the devourer’s approach I pleaded with the men holding me to let me go. They ignored me as their chanting resumed. They continued ignoring me as the devourer stomped, crushing other worshippers beneath its massive paws. I tried convincing the men holding my arms would be eaten too but they drowned me out with louder and louder chanting. Right above me the devourer breathed a down-burst of moist rotten air like a river of death. Its teeth opened wide. Before I woke in a swamp of my own sweat, I almost felt the first jagged tooth as it punctured through, crunching my ribcage. I knew then I had to go one last time to talk to Roman before it was too late. At this point, I’m sure you’re quite dismissive of relying on dreams for guidance. Look at this primitive primate mind, using a dream in place of real facts and evidence. Well I don’t care what you think. Whether it was the sum collective of my subconscious thought, or my conscious categorical interpretation of figments, either way now I knew for certain that Roman was in danger. I arrived just in time to see Roman walking out of his place with his last box of computer components. He was carrying it to a black van with two guys loitering in front of it. Both were head to toe in black shoes and suits. Their hair was closely cropped with thick pomade pulling back the rest. Rather than the stereotypical men in black, they had a splash of vibrant colour in their flowery dress shirts and pocket squares, and the pair of them were not wearing sunglasses, instead they wore cruel smiles and fatigue rims around their eyes. One nudged to get the other’s attention, then gestured to me and my appearance. He said something that they weren’t afraid I’d hear but was too far away regardless. That’s when they both laughed like they were the pinnacle of wit. I did my best to ignore them as I marched straight up to Roman. “What are you doing here?” He asked with an echo of the contempt I heard in the laugh. “I came to stop you. You don’t have to do this Roman. It’s not too late to turn back.” “Clearly you didn’t listen to a word I said last night.” “I was listening. Listen to yourself man. You’re being fed a bunch of lies by people who want to use you. This basilisk, it doesn’t exist. It’s not real.” He shook his head. “Wrong. It is real. It follows from a very logical set of propositions whose conclusio—” “Goddamn it Roman! There’s nothing logical about spending your life building a fucking torture robot!” “Here we go. More moralizing from a small mind.” “It’s not moralizing.” “Yes it is. It is human values blinding you to the greatness this A.I. will bring.” I put my hand on his shoulder, desperate to reach my former friend. “But you’re human. You don’t have to think like a machine.” Tired, he looked straight into my eyes. Then he shrugged off my touch and walked away without another word. I never saw him again after the van drove away down the block and out of view. At least not in person. When next I saw Roman it was years later through a recording of his livestream. Of course, only the start of the video showed his face. He looked almost gaunt and malnourished by then. His manifesto was littered with random internet garbage but reading between the lines I could see the lethal project he was really working towards. Whether anyone in the press or any politician could see what his true objective had been I don’t know, but judging from the comments I read online some people clearly heard him loud and clear. The institute, if they still call themselves that or whether they rebranded, they must be pleased Roman brought them so many more recruits. I’ve played out our last argument in my head so many times. I’ve wondered what more or else I could have said. Roman was right about one thing though. At least in part. I don’t know whether or not the Basilisk is real. Maybe I’m not smart enough to know. But whether or not there is an A.I. that will torture me for disobedience, a Basilisk that seeks to control my actions and my life, let me write this down for future posterity: I don’t believe in you.
Successful people aren't Demi-Gods with insane willpower and incredible productivity skills. They are normal people who understood the importance of the small seemingly insignificant daily disciplines. They understood how these disciplines leveraged with time could make them unstoppable
The Slight Edge
So what separates those who become successful in life with those who achieve nothing. The answer is in the simple daily decisions we make. Leveraged over time. The answer is the Slight Edge, a concept popularised by Jeff Olson, and his book called ‘The Slight Edge’, (must read btw)
Before we die, we would have made millions of decisions throughout our lives. Many of these decisions being seemingly insignificant during the moment; Deciding to go for a jog on a rainy day or sitting at home and watching TV, Reading a self-improvement book or PK’ing some noobs in the wildly. We often believe in the Quantum Leap fallacy, the idea that success happens after huge bursts of willpower or some sort of divine intervention. You have seen it before, the friend who joins the gym for a month and expects to look like Dwayne Johnson. How about your other friend who invested in bitcoin and now patiently waits for his billions? It’s easy to see why this happens, we live in an instant gratification society. We assume that results should come quickly in everything we do. If we want it, we get it. If you want some food you can hop on Uber Eats and order the burger, if you want entertainment you can hop on YouTube and watch an endless amount of prank channels, if you want a Vinyl wall decal of half an Asian businessmen Amazon can deliver that to you within 3 days. No really, you can buy that shit… It’s got pretty good reviews too. The moral of the story is that our brains have been programmed to expect results fast, it’s even in our movies. You watch Rocky and you can see some bum become a boxing champion within the span of 2 hours.
The Truth About Success Isn't Sexy
Well, the truth about achieving things in life is not so sexy, it’s nothing like the Rocky montages. This isn’t a movie. Success stems from the mundane, it stems from the boring choices that you make daily that don’t appear to matter much. Having one cigarette at a party doesn’t really matter much, it most likely won’t do anything to your body. How about having that one cigarette a few times a week multiplied by a couple of years. Brah, now your lungs are exploding inside your fucking chest like Walter White. How about making the choice to exercise three times a week, every week? You do it for one week and not much changes. You leverage those 3 workouts per week over 5 years and you look better than 95% of the population you might even add a couple of years to your life. That’s the Slight Edge, every single decision you make regardless of how small it might seem in the moment when leveraged over time creates your life. You are always moving slightly up and getting better with time or you are moving down and degenerating. An easy way to illustrate this is by understanding the 1-degree mistake. In aviation, precision is a must and if a plane flies 1 degree off course it will miss its target by 92 feet for every mile it flies. If a plane flies from New York City to Los Angeles and is off track by 1 degree, that plane is going to end up being 50 miles off course. You need to respect your daily decisions as seriously as a pilot respects his bearings.
I remember ordering pizza the other day, when I opened the door to grab it I was shocked at what I saw. The girl delivering the pizza was a girl I went to high school with, the last time I had seen her was 5 years prior, back when she had an athletic body, fast forward to now and she was severely overweight. I wondered how she let herself go like that? Then it hit me! Right before high School finished she told me about scoring a job at Pizza Hut. Clearly, she didn’t get obese overnight, but you multiply all those nights in which she took some left-over pizzas home and leverage those nights with time and you get an extra 60-100 pounds to her frame. So, why does this happen? Look, no one wants to get fat or get lung cancer, but human beings are notoriously myopic. We have a hard time grasping abstract concepts such as the effects that small actions have when leveraged over time. It is much easier to grasp the effects of big actions, it’s easy to understand how doing drugs could ruin your life, but it’s hard to comprehend how the Pepsi you drink every day might have the same effect on your health in the long run. It’s easy to understand how gambling at a casino can affect your finances, but it’s harder to understand the long-term effects of your credit card debt or student loans. Our brains always default to the easy concepts that they can understand, while omitting things that are slightly complex. Now consider this, the things that will improve our lives are easy to do: • Meditating for 15 minutes a day is easy • Reading a non-fiction book for 20 minutes a day is easy • Exercising for 30 -40 minutes a day is easy • Getting 0.1% better at your craft a day is easy • Saving a little bit of money/ putting some in investments is easy However, all these things are just as easy not to do. Your biology is against you. Your body wants to preserve energy for survival. Your body doesn’t know that you are no longer in the stone age, it doesn’t know that you have goals and aspirations. It doesn’t give a flying fuck about your higher ideals, so your default mechanism is to resort to the easiest option- not doing anything, staying in bed and watching videos about ‘$17 fried chicken vs $ 500 fried chicken’, (is anyone else addicted to this Buzz feed ‘worth it’ series?)
Areas To Focus One
So, what can we do to have the Slight Edge work in our favour? The first thing we can do is to bring more awareness into what we expose ourselves to in our lives. I have four main areas that everyone should focus on: • Stimuli • Associations • Food • Mission
You should take some time to consider what type of stimuli you are allowing to seep into your life. I am talking about: The shows you watch, the music you listen to, the websites you visit, the books you read, and anything media based. Consider everything, are these things elevating you? Making you smarter, more aware? Or are you becoming numb, disengaged to life because of these things?
The people you hang around with, how do they influence you? Do they make you step up and become the best version of yourself, or do they disempower you? Are they achieving things in their lives and making things happen or are they 1 degree off course and bringing you down for the ride? Sometimes the people we hang out with are killing us slowly, perhaps it’s time you re-evaluate your circle of friends.
Yes, yes I know your KFC double down burger is delicious but is eating a burger with two pieces of deep-fried chicken for buns every day really serving you? When was the last time you got your blood-work checked mate! Your cholesterol must be higher than Shaggy from Scooby Doo. You guys do know he was high throughout the whole show right? Pay attention to the things you put into your body daily, if you keep eating and drinking the way you do what would you look like over the next 5, 10, 20 years? Some of you might not even last that long with the shit you are eating.
Do you have a mission in your life? Do you want to be an entrepreneur? A doctor? The best league of legends player in Oceania? Consider your daily disciplines, are you doing the small tasks daily that are needed to realize your mission? Will your vision be realized or are you waiting for the quantum leap to happen like in the movies? The slight edge is real, it’s based on mathematics, it’s so simple and yet we ignore it. It’s time you start paying attention to your daily disciplines. It’s not exciting, but the small things are what build up to shape our destinies. When you look at any success story, don’t be so quick to play the luck card. Investigate and see if the Slight Edge was at play, it usually is, it’s just that no one wants to talk about it.
Note: This guide is written for laptop and desktop computer users. Phone, Tablet and alternative operating systems may not apply.
Turn on your laptop or computer. If you are in a private room, take steps to construct a hiding spot just in case. If you are in public, make sure you are surrounded by a few other individuals who are capable of protecting you. If it is night, turn off the lights or close all windows.
Remember where you started. It is infinitely more difficult for HGK477 to find you if you are lost.
Never use your real name. This will help them find you.
Turn off location tracking if your explorer utilizes such programs. They will find you.
On the internet, not everything is alive.
Social Media sites are breeding grounds for anomalous activity. Find what you are looking for and leave immediately.
Cookies feed more than your search results.
Use bitcoin for transactions on the internet. For mortal coinage may not be sufficient for transactions between the intangible.
If you get a notification that your location is being tracked, find a hiding place, turn off the lights. Unlock the doors. Stay there for the entire night. If it is daytime, do the same but stay the entire day and night. If you are with other people and/or in a public space, turn off your laptop or computer and assimilate yourself into the environment.
If you begin to hear a static buzzing noise and your vision begins to blur, stay silent and do not acknowledge it. Wait for it to pass.
If you see them, contact HGK477 immediately.
Be safe. Don't call back. They see with more than one eye.
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