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The Big Yoink: A Smol Detective Story, Chapter 15

Standard Disclaimer: I do not take credit for the setting, this story is set in the They Are Smol universe, written by our very own u/tinyprancinghorse.
TPH has a Website, a Patreon, and also a Discord if you need more smol shenanigans.
The first Smol Detective story can be read starting Here.
There will be some spoilers/references of the first SD story in this one, so consider yourself duly warned.
___________
First Chapter
Previous Chapter
Next Chapter

In the previous chapter:
There was Preparation.
Bgrarh, James Bgrarh.
The Floofdinos do something Stupid.

In this chapter:
Oscar has a Chat.
Ter'yeik makes a Delivery.
Calvinball.
___________

Maria half expected that she and her compatriots would be put through some tedious security screening. But instead of walking through a scanner or getting frisked, they were met at the huge doorway by Nerlharg. The Dorarizin wasn't wearing power armor this time; he was clad in a knee-length outfit that looked like a Mandarin's robes.
Nerlharg pulled a small flat tablet out of his pocket. "[Welcome! Just before we start, I'll need to scan anything you're carrying.]"
The Jornissians shrugged and presented their holographic prop swords. Nerlharg waved the tablet near them and nodded. "[Fine. And that?]" He pointed at the guitar case slung on Oscar's back.
Oscar slid the case off of his shoulder. "Scan away. Just be careful, this thing's older than me." He set down the case and unzipped it to reveal the instrument within.
Nerlharg chuckled. "[I assure you our security scans aren't that strong.]" He swept the tablet over the guitar. "[And this is also fine. Is that real wood?]"
"You better believe it," replied Oscar.
"[I look forward to hearing what it sounds like. His Excellency bids you all welcome. Unfortunately, we cannot permit the security drones indoors.]" He pointed at the hovering spheres near each human.
"This is a hell of a time to find that out," said Oscar. His jaw set as he glared at Nerlharg.
Rgrarshok looked pretty pissed as well. "[I assure you that these only use nonlethal protection methods. Scan them yourself if you don't believe me.]"
Nerlharg looked very apologetic. "[It is out of my hands. [Sssnnathor] does not want them admitted into such a large party. He's worried about them deploying a net or taser by accident, what with so many bodies moving around.]"
Oscar and Rgrarshok shared a long look. Maria knew that the Captain was asking the human do you want to go through with this? without saying a word. Finally Oscar shrugged in a sure, let's go for it manner.
Maria kind of wished she'd gotten a chance to throw in her two cents as well; she hoped that the big lug wasn't being cavalier about her safety. Or his, for that matter.
"[Very well,]" said Rgrarshok. "[We'll program them to remain here. Will that be acceptable?]"
Nerlharg nodded with a slight smile.
"[Good. What time do we start?]" asked the Captain.
"[In [one hour]. In the meantime, [Sssnnathor] requests the honor of your presence among our guests.]"
Maria groaned inside. The last thing she wanted to do was make small talk with a bunch of fearsome aliens who were, oh by the way, a bunch of criminal assholes as well.

___________

Much to Oscar's annoyance, one hour became two. On top of that, their presence at the tyrant's party wasn't a simple case of 'walk around, mingle a bit, then go do the show'. No, from the outset Sssnnathor was determined to keep them circulating among the considerable number of well-dressed party-goers. But Oscar didn't let the outward civilized veneer fool him for a second.
He was glad Myyreh wasn't there. The poor girl would have been crawling right out of her fur to see him in the midst of so many untrained xenos. At least they were polite enough to keep their distance when asked.
Right now he was holding a drink of some fruity-tasting cocktail. At least the glass was human-sized. He was chatting with a gray-furred Dorarizin who was wearing what looked like a frock coat with a lacy 'ruff' that accented the alien's mane. Several other huge xenos hovered around them, clearly waiting for their turn to talk to the human. In the meantime, Oscar kept himself facing the Dorarizin so that the nanocams in his suit could get a good look.
"Got a positive ID on him!" said Egrwreh's voice in his ear. "Ghranzor-of-Ahnz, known trafficker in small arms, suspected of Green smuggling as well."
Oscar nodded, both in response to the information as well as to a question from Ghranzor.
"[So you are enjoying your stay thus far?]"
"I sure am, sir. Didn't think I'd get to go this far into space, let alone meet so many people!"
Ghranzor gave a little bow and motioned to the several-foot gap between them. "[I'm pleased to hear that. I feared that you were overly paranoid about us, given how much personal space you requested.]"
Oscar shrugged. "I gotta admit I'm a little worried. Can't be too safe, right?" He caught a nearby Karnakian's eyes and winked. "Remember what happened the first time we tried to shake hands with y'all." He used his free hand to mime pulling his other arm off.
The Karnakian floofed out her neck feathers in anger. "[Really! It was an honest accident!]"
Oscar waved his free hand. "Relax, I'm just kidding ya!"
The Karnakian subsided and let forth a little trilling, forced laugh of her own.
Oscar motioned with his glass overhead, where the party's main source of light floated. The hologram consisted of two bright suns floating in the atrium's center. Around both suns coiled a massive, scaled body that endlessly moved in a figure-eight formation like the living representation of infinity. Another coil emerged from the huge figure to reach out and circle another, smaller blue-white sphere which floated near the larger figure-eight. There was no real head or tail that Oscar could see, just an impression of never-ending sinewy strength.
"What's that?" he asked.
He heard Sssnnathor's smooth hiss-purr behind him. "[That, [human], is Sotek-Who-Circles-The-World.]"
Oscar turned casually to face the tyrant, and noted how everyone around Sssnnathor stood with a slight bow to their head. Not wanting to stand out, he followed suit.
"[Oh, please, you all honor me too much,]" said Sssnnathor. Oscar picked his head back up and saw the Jornissian looking up at the hologram. Oscar was still figuring out Jornissian facial expressions, but judging by the tilt of Sssnnathor's hood he could swear the tyrant had a look of longing.
Sssnnathor pointed at the encircled binary star system. "[Sotek coils the earth and sky in himself. He holds all fire in the sky, and lets out just enough of it to warm the world.]"
"Huh, neat. Sort of a sun god, then?"
"[Not just that. A god who encompasses eternity. He lives forever.]"
"Hey, who wouldn't want that?" replied Oscar as he took a casual sip of his fruity-stuff. It was time to do a little fishing and see if he could draw Sssnnathor out as to his true intentions.
Sssnnathor slithered towards Oscar with a gleam in his eyes. "[That's exactly what I say! Everyone desires eternal life, even if they're too craven to admit to it!]"
The surrounding courtiers moved away, and from their startled body language Oscar got the sense that this passion was not something they were used to.
"[Those fools in the Senate refuse to see the truth,]" continued Sssnnathor. "[The universe is unimaginably old compared to even a few thousand [years] of existence. Why not at least give us the option?]"
There was no Junior to give a warning noise, so Oscar raised a hand. "That's close enough, sir."
The statement snapped the tyrant out of his trance. He chuckled and motioned with his snout at Oscar. "[It's a pity you have to resort to such coddling just to have a chance at a any life, let alone an eternal one.]"
"Times change, sir. Sure we're fragile and endangered now, but we won't be forever. And I dunno, a thousand years or so sounds like a pretty good run to me."
"[Of course you say that now, you're barely out of a clutch! But a thousand [years] from now, I wager you'd be very receptive to living a thousand [years] more.]"
Oscar gave a noncommittal shrug. "[Maybe. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it."
"[The [powers that be] won't let you,]" replied Sssnnathor. "[After all, they threw me out for daring to even think of the possibility.]"
The tyrant's hood flattened out in anger, and those around the pair drew back in fear of being the recipient of some of that wrath. Oscar figured he should get the conversation back to light and fluffy.
"That's a shame, sir. Still, looks like you're doing all right for yourself, eh?" Oscar grinned and waved his glass in general at the huge atrium.
Sssnnathor's hood relaxed and he gave a Jornissian shrug. "[I suppose I am.]" He looked at the fearful faces around him and gave a wide, fanged smile. "[Please, everyone, drink! Smile! This is supposed to be a party!]"
Before anyone else could chime in, Captain Rgrarshok moved her way into the circle around Oscar. She kept glancing off into the distance in irritation as she moved.
"[Sorry to stick my paw in, sir, but my performers need to make their way backstage,]" she said.
"[Of course they do,]" said Sssnnathor. "[I look forward to the performance. I'm sure we all do, yes?]"
Amid the hasty assurances and declarations that followed, Rgrarshok gave another irritated glare. Oscar followed her direction of interest and saw...
Bgrarh-of-Arhraz stood a ways away, also ringed in by partiers. He gestured casually with one paw as he chatted with a female Dorarizin. His deep blue eyes twinkled as he talked. The alien wolf-woman looked about ready to bear his pups, judging by the way she stared at him.
She wasn't the only one. Among the circle of people surrounding him were quite a few females (some not even Dorarizin) who looked at him with equal entrancement.
Oscar heard a faint grinding noise and realized it was the Captain's teeth. He decided to draw fire for his friend. "Er, boss, want me to go fetch him?"
Rgrarshok drew in and let out a deep breath. "Yes, please do."
Oscar grinned in general at those around him and gave Sssnnathor a bow. "Sorry folks, sorry sir. The show must go on!"
As he trotted away, Oscar heard Sssnnathor say something to Rgrarshok about an announcement. Fortunately the surrounding crowd parted as he called out "Make way, please!". The sycophants around Bgrarh at first looked annoyed at hearing his call, then they looked a lot more interested as they laid eyes on Oscar.
"'scuse the interruption, Bennie. The boss wants us backstage."
"[Of course!]" replied Bgrarh. He reached over, picked up the paw of the Dorarizin facing him, and gave the back of her paw a gentle kiss. "[It's terribly unfortunate we have to part, my dear. But duty calls.]"
The kissee stared after them like a poleaxed steer as Bgrarh and Oscar walked away.

___________

Rgrarshok-of-Ngraz took another deep breath to calm herself as she strode towards the stage. It was set in the geometric center of the soaring atrium, consisting of knee-high circular platform that was expansive enough for all of the acts. The partygoers were already crowded around the stage perimeter but parted to make way for her. Along the far side of the stage was a temporary domed hut that acted as the backstage area.
Both the stage and hut were supplied by Sssnnathor, which meant the latter was certainly bugged. She'd impressed on the whole team that there was to be absolutely no breaking of their cover until they were all back on safe ground.
Her face remained impassive as she berated herself. Why was she getting so worked up over Bgrarh's antics? The specialist could be a little annoying at times, but he was always a loyal pack member. He was just acting a part, not really flirting.
But the knowledge still didn't calm the little churn of unexpected jealous anger in her gut. She'd been on the cusp of striding into the middle of that circle and showing that hussy of a female who was the real Alpha. Bgrarh was hers.
Rgrashok slowed as she neared the stage. Sssnnathor was already coiled up in the middle of it, and he lifted his upper body to tower over them all. As he held up his arms the crowd quieted.
"[My friends, you gladden my heart by your presence. I have enjoyed my time here during the past [sixty years], and I look forward to many more such celebrations. But that is not the only reason to throw a party. As you may have heard, I've recently come into possession of an artifact which has a long and storied history among our [Karnakian] brethren. I've taken great pains to display it with the reverence due its status. It is my pleasure to present to you all...the Sacred Claw of [Ta'irrl'qc]!]"
Sssnnathor gestured to his right, and the partygoers on that side parted as a smooth polished stone plinth rose up out of the marble-tiled floor. The plinth's top split open and folded back down along itself to reveal the artifact that Rgrarshok and her crew had been chasing this entire time.
The Claw was polished, nut-brown sickle shape which lay on a blue velvet cushion. At its root were embedded emeralds and rubies that sparkled in the light from Sotek's hologram above them.
As the crowd gave the appropriate oohs and aahs, Rgrarshok had a fleeting notion of simply grabbing Sssnnathor and holding him hostage while the team escaped with the Claw. But no, that would put the [humans] in unnecessary danger. Instead she made sure to smile and applaud along with everyone else.
Sssnnathor nodded to her and slithered his way back off of the stage. He coiled himself possessively around the Claw's plinth with a very satisfied expression on his face.

___________

"[I don't believe it,]" whispered Tk'rii'na.
"[Don't even think it,]" said Resh'skk.
Maria didn't like the way the Karnakian's fore-claws twitched as he peeked out the ajar door. It looked like Tk'rii'na was getting ready to do something really stupid. She walked up beside him and placed a hand on his arm.
"Hey, Tarky? Relax. We'll..." she glanced around the hut and tried to choose words that wouldn't blow their cover to anyone listening in. "I know you're worried about the performance, but you'll do great."
"[But it's right there.]"
Frick chose that moment to try and pull Tk'rii'na away. "[Let me see!]"
Tarky pushed back against the tug, resulting in a brief round of the two raptors squawking and slapping at each other.
"Both of you COOL IT!" hissed Maria. She glared up at Tk'rii'na. "You remember you swore to protect me? That includes not putting us in danger by causing a scene!"
Tk'rii'na hung his head. "[You're right. I'm sorry. I shall cool it.]"
He looked so literally crestfallen that Maria's anger evaporated. She patted his arm. "No harm done."

___________

Rgrarshok strode into the middle of the stage, turned, and bowed deeply to the assembled throng. "{We thank you all humbly for your attention. The Company of the Long Dance of Fghrealh is pleased to bring to you a wide range of entertainment from around the galaxy. Including that of our newest comrades, the tiny-chompers!}"
That last part drew a nice round of applause.
"{We shall begin shortly, starting with an amazing display of [Karnakian] congretory singing!}"
Rgrarshok spun and walked towards the hut. Its door slid open and Rgarshok ducked inside. It was a small windowless space with a few tables along one curved wall and another door at the rear. The hut was made even more claustrophobic by the presence of the performers.
Rgrarshok raised a curious ear at seeing a few feathers on the floor near the entrance door. She glared back up at the four Karnakians. "{Is there a problem?}"
"[No, just nerves before the show,]" replied Maria. "[Right, guys?]"
A big paw touched Rgrarshok's shoulder, and she turned to see Bgrarh giving her a wide smile that she found herself automatically returning. She just couldn't stay mad at him.
"{Are you ready for our performance, darling?}" he asked.
She put her stoic 'Captain in Charge' face back on. "{I am, just don't draw too much attention to yourself.}" That warning should be sufficiently vague to throw off any listeners.
Bgrarh moved close and slipped an arm around her waist. "{And what if I want the attention of somebody in particular?}"
Rgrarshok blinked as a welter of conflicting emotions ran through her. Bgrarh was a pack member; he was also strong, smart, and athletic. In ordinary circumstances his advances would be welcome to any pack's Alpha. But hers wasn't a normal pack and she wasn't just the Alpha, she was the Captain. She had to set herself apart, be a strong leader for them all...but his eyes were so deep and pretty, and he smelled so nice...
She leaned in towards his face. "{Not now, Bgrarh. We have a show to do.}"
Bgrarh didn't lose that infuriating and adorable grin. "{And after the show?}"
"{We'll see.}"
Rgrarshok gently peeled his arm off of her and cleared her throat. "{Singers, you're up.}"
She stood aside as the Karnakain quartet moved towards the entrance. Rgarshok noted with amusement that there was now a lot less glaring between the two pairs of guards than when they'd first come on board her ship. Now they all just looked nervous at the prospect of that most dreaded of things, Screwing Up.

___________

Ter'yeik put on his best disarming smile as he pushed a big wheeled tub towards the service entrance. This was no grand archway, it was instead a smaller square portal guarded by one bored-looking Jornissian in low-profile armor. A rifle leaned against the wall next to the guard, within easy reach.
A voice hissed out from under the tub's cover, a voice just barely audible to him. "|Stop smiling, you idiot! Look bored and put-upon!|"
He did as The Silken Feather instructed and slouched a bit as he continuted pushing. The Jornissian looked just as bored as he held up a hand. "[Hold up. You with the catering crew?]"
"|Yeah, we had a last-minute menu change. [Sssnnathor] wanted some namptha soup added.|"
The guard held his rifle at the ready as he coiled himself up higher, now looking a lot less bored and more ready to dispense some violence. "[We weren't told.]"
Ter'yeik kept his feathers from trembling with a supreme effort and tried his best to sound peeved. "|Really? That's typical. I get a work order, bust my tail making this stuff, and the Diarchy-cursed paperwork gets lost! What am I supposed to do with [two hundred gallons] of namptha soup? I sure as hell can't eat it!|"
Unbidden, the guard reached forward and plucked the cover off of the tub. Ter'yeik froze as the Jornissian gazed on the sight within. It was a sea of red, with white spheres floating here and there within it. "[Hmm. That does look tasty.]" His tongue flicked out and back in. "[Smells good, too.]"
Ter'yeik flattened his crest in mock distress. "|Listen, can you just check again for the work order?|"
The guard nodded and tilted his head as he checked his implant. "[Huh! Whaddya know, there it is. Musta got held up in the system for a bit.]" He stood aside and waved at the entrance. "[You know where to go?]"
Ter'yeik managed to keep his voice from squeaking as he replied. "|Yep! To the right, isn't it?|"
The hallway beyond the entrance was metallic and utilitarian, its walls bearing the scars from many years of heavy equipment moving through it. Ter'yeik waited until he was well out of sight of the door before breathing out a huge sigh of relief. He reached forward and took the cover off of the tub again. This time, instead of being full of soup it was full of Silken Feather, crammed awkwardly around a small pot of red-and-white soup.
"|Now aren't you glad you let me have my hacking and holo toys?|" she asked as she uncoiled herself and stood up out of the tub. She shrugged her shoulders, then flexed her neck. "|Ooof. Not my most comfortable entrance ever, but I've had worse.|"
"|I was wondering why you insisted we stop off to buy that stuff,|" said Ter'yeik. "|I didn't think about the smell.|"
The Silken Feather reached forward and patted the side of his snout like he was a mere hatchling. "|That's why I'm the master thief and you are not.|" She concentrated, and her appearance suddenly shifted into that of a mottled gray Karnakian.
Ter'yeik started back. "|Wait, what's this all about?|"
"|I'm not about to go walking around wearing my own face. [Sssnnathor's] security team knows what I look like.|"
A low, powerful moan drifted down the hallway towards them. The moan rapidly rose in pitch, followed closely by another moan whose harmonies worked in counterpoint with the first.
"|Ah, it sounds like the show has started!|" said The Silken Feather. She stepped out of the tub and held out her arm to Ter'yeik. "|Shall we?|"
He stared in confusion at the proffered limb. "|What?|"
"|In order to steal the Claw we need to see where it is, silly. Therefore you and I need to crash the party.|"
"|We can't go walking in there! I thought we were going to do more sneaking around.|"
"|There's no time for stealth. Besides, there's plenty of people milling around, we'll just blend right in. A confident attitude is the best disguise. Trust me and above all act casual.|"
After another moment of hesitation, Ter'yeik took her arm.

___________

Nerlharg-of-Aergh nodded along with the song as he stalked through the party. Most of the crowd was pushed in around the stage, but there were a few stragglers circulating around the food and drink tables.
The melodic structure was odd but interesting, even if the words were now a jumbled mess to his translator. He made a mental note to look up other examples of Karnakian congretory singing and see how this compared.
Nerlharg's nose twitched as a scent hit his nostrils that he wouldn't expect to encounter at a party. It was the smell of a Karnakian in the grip of mortal fear, a scent he knew well thanks to his experiences in Sssnnathor's employ.
He kept his expression neutral as he turned to scan the nearby partygoers. In the distance, the four Karnakians' crests bobbed in time with their singing. Closer to him was another pair of Karnakians. One of the pair was a mottled gray alien standing arm-in-arm with a cream-colored one. He discreetly sniffed again. The lighter of the pair was definitely the source of the fear.
"[Doesn't it sound marvelous, dear?]" exclaimed the darker Karnakian in a low, throaty voice. Something about that voice sounded familiar to Nerlharg.
"{Yes darling, quite nice,]" said the lighter-colored raptor. His voice had a little squeak in it as he fidgeted his claws together.
Nerlharg sidled up next to them and cleared his throat. Upon making that sound he got another spike of fear-scent up his nose.
"{Pardon me, but I'm not familiar with congretory singing. Is this a good example of it?}"
The darker Karnakian shrugged her crest. "[It's a little unusual compared to the norm, since you have the pairs alternating instead of all singing together. But it's still quite lovely.]"
Nerlharg was sure she was deliberately pitching her voice lower. More to the point, he was pretty sure he'd heard her voice before. He nodded aimiably at the pair and strolled off. As he did so, the fear-scent subsided.
He reached out with his implant to Sssnnathor. "{Pardon the intrusion, Excellency. We have a situation. I believe I've spotted the Claw's thief among the guests.}"
The distant coiled-up figure of the tyrant didn't twitch, and his subvocal response was nothing but amused. "[Trying to steal back her stolen property, eh? I suppose she doesn't lack for bravery. I imagine these entertainers are in on her scheming as well.]"
"{That is also my assessment, Excellency. Shall I arrest them all?}"
"[No, let's let the show finish. Although, I supposed if you get a chance during the performance to grab them, take it. But I want the [humans] unharmed, understand?]"
"{Of course. What about the others?}"
"[Capture them if you can, but don't worry too much about their health. If they resist too much, go ahead and shoot them.]"
Nerlharg cut the connection and sighed. Tiny-chompers were so notoriously fragile that even grabbing them too fast could seriously injure them. Not to mention they were in the midst of their friends. He'd have to get creative on this one.

___________

Maria Vargas strode out into the center of the stage with Coleridge's words fixed firmly in her brain. She told herself that this was just a simple recitation, nothing at all to worry about. By this point she could do the damn poem in her sleep.
She reached the center, took a deep breath, raised her eyes...
And froze.
A sea of gleaming eyes stared back at her, eyes that were every color of the rainbow. Those eyes were attached to huge forms sporting far too many claws and fangs. Her hind-brain shrieked at her to flee, that she was a mouse under the gaze of far too many predators.
She glanced to her left, and saw Sssnnathor staring at her intently with a silvery gaze. Next to his head was the Claw, the thing that had brought her to this moment of danger. Neither sight helped her nerves, and she could feel her heart hammer faster.
Maria faced back to the crowd and tried to swallow, but it felt like she had a golf ball lodged in her throat. She wetted her lips and closed her eyes, which helped a little.
"It is..." she began with a raspy, choked voice. She paused and told herself that even with no drone Reshy was watching over her. That knowledge helped slow her heart even more.
Maria opened her eyes and this time deliberately kept her eyes unfocused on the crowd in front of her. As far as she was concerned, the assembled crowd was nothing but a blur of color. She cleared her throat, and when she spoke again the rasp was gone.
"It is an ancient Mariner, And he stoppeth one of three..."
Once Maria started speaking, instinct kicked in and the words flowed easily. As the poem wound on and the ship in the tale went through first storms and then ice, she began to half-notice the crowd instead of treating them like a backdrop. Their rapt expressions emboldened her, and by the time she hit the part where the Mariner's becalmed ship ran into the ghostly hulk captained by Death himself she knew she had them.
"...A sadder and a wiser man, He rose the morrow morn."
After Maria finished, there was a moment of silence.
"[Amazing!]" Sssnnathor called out. His exclamation seemed to break the logjam, and the crowd followed suit with a chorus of various whoops and trills. Maria ignored the pounding of her heart as she smiled, bowed, and left the stage. She did her best to keep the wobble out of her knees.
Hrathra'sstah gripped Maria's shoulder after she re-entered the hut. Hrathra's face was still set in its ususal intense glare, but from the set of her hood Maria knew that her boss was ecstatic. "[Excellent job!]"
"Thanks, boss." Maria stared at the floor and all but panted.
"[Are you all right?]"
"I'm good, I got a bit of stage fright there. Just need a while to calm myself down."
Hrathra gave her shoulder a squeeze and moved off. The crew was busy getting the Captain and Bgrarh ready, so for the moment all eyes were off her.
Not getting stared at anymore helped, but Maria really needed some alone time. While everyone was looking the other way she ducked out of the hut's rear door.
There was nothing behind the hut but a short 'alleyway' between the temporary structure and the sloping wall of Sssnnathor's pyramid. Maria leaned forward, placed her forehead on the wall's smooth cement-like surface, and let out another shaky breath. After a little moment of doing nothing but paying attention to her breathing, she stood up again.
She was feeling a lot calmer now, an emotion that lasted for all of ten seconds before she felt the faintest whisper of air and realized she was no longer alone.
Maria spun around towards the hut and drew in a breath to yell just as an invisible paw clamped tight over her mouth.

___________

Oscar peered out through the half-open door to the stage. Bgrarh and the Captain whirled in a complicated dance that he could barely follow. It looked a little like a waltz but with a lot more airborne bits to it. To his uneducated eye it looked amazing, and the Captain actually looked happy, something that Oscar had never seen before.
He turned away and picked up the guitar. It was about as well-tuned as he could get it, but fiddling with it gave him something to take his mind off of his nerves. He'd done a few open-mic nights back on Earth, but this was something much more serious.
Plus there was the whole threat of being found out and getting involved in a huge firefight.
Oscar peeked back out again, this time scanning the crowd instead of paying attention to the dance. It looked like they were digging it, just like they'd dug Maria's recitation.
Speaking of which, where was she? He turned away from the stage door and looked around the hut. He did a circuit of the place, dodging around the Jornissian and Karnakian forms. He didn't ask anyone if they'd seen Maria; that might trigger a freak-out, especially in Resh'ssk. There was no need to worry anyone just yet.
As he walked by the rear entrance, he heard Maria's quiet voice. "Oscar? Can you come out here, please?"
The others were busy prepping, and didn't notice as Oscar set his guitar down and cracked open the door to poke his head out.
Maria leaned casually against the sloping wall across from the door, staring off into the distance.
"What's up?" he asked.
She didn't answer. Oscar glanced to each side and saw nothing. His brow wrinkled as he moved himself all the way out of the door and approached her. "Maria? Are you okay?"
She ignored him and continued to stare off, unmoving and silent. It wasn't until Oscar got within a few feet of her that he realized just how unmoving she was.
As unmoving as if she was a hologram.
On pure instinct Oscar threw his arm up to ward off anyone trying to get him in a choke-hold from behind. He managed to get his sleeve up in front of his face before his world went dark and he found himself unable to move.

___________

"[I'm getting a strange reading from the drones onboard the Claw,]" said Egwreh's voice in Tk'rii'na's ear. "[Plus the telemetry from the [humans] is looking oddly muted.]"
He and Irr''kttz turned from watching the dance onstage. The Karnakians known as 'Tarky' and 'Frick' to their [human] friends both scanned the hut in increasing panic.
"|I don't see [Oscar] or [Maria].|" said Tk'rii'na.
Both saw at the same time that the rear door was now open. After one quick glance at each other, they sprinted as one for the back door.
In true Karnakian fashion neither bothered to open it. The temporary structure shook as the entire rear of the hut all but evaporated, sending chunks of composite ricocheting off of the rear wall and onto the surprised guests.
Irr''kttz pointed. "|THERE! I see them!|"
Tk'rii'na followed the claw with his eyes and saw two faint whirls of familiar sparkly light floating in the middle of the air. There was nothing visible around the pair of sparkly souls as they rapidly approached a side exit.

___________

Onstage, the pair of whirling Doaraizin spun to a sudden halt as the resounding crunch of the Karnakian's dynamic exit sounded through the atrium. Rgrarshok ignored the bits of former hut bouncing off of her skull.
"{REPORT!}" she barked. She saw guards here and there among the party starting to stand up straight, but she ignored them for now. She glanced around in rising panic, and realized she saw no sign of Sssnnathor.
The plinth that had once held the Claw was now empty.
Irr''kttz's voice yelled in her ear. "[THERE! I see them!]"
Tk'rii'na sounded a lot calmer. "[I see them too, they've been wrapped in optical camo. Heading for the exit to your right, Captain.}"
"[Got it,]" said Rgrarshok. She and Bgrarh exchanged one look, to which he gave a Dorarizin nod.
"{[Calvinball],}" they said simultaneously.
Bgrarh sprinted for the hut just as Rgrarshok charged towards the edge of the stage nearest the indicated exit. The confused murmuring of the crowd now became earnest screaming at the sight of the rampaging Captain.
The trigger-word also reactivated the drones hovering near the far-off main entrance. Each immediately locked onto the telemetry readings from their respective [human]; rather than waste time maneuvering through the doorway they both 'decided' that the quickest route between them and their charges was a straight line. Two loud bangs sounded from the main entrance as each drone smashed its way into the atrium.
In the middle of her icy rage, Rgrarshok noted the trajectory of the two drones. Following that line, she caught the merest hint of a pair of heat-shimmers in the air; several panicked partygoers bounced off of the cloaked figures as they sprinted for the side-exit.
Rgarshok leapt off of the stage as the crowd beneath her parted with great alacrity to get the hell out of her way. As she landed in a crouch, a lone Dorarizin guard pushed out of the mob to block her way. He thrust a shock-baton at her chest which she didn't even try to block. The armor did its job, hardening with the impact and allowing the baton to skate off to the side.
Rgrarshok shoved herself upright as she grabbed the guard's weapon-arm. He was wearing low-profile armor as well, so instead of wasting time punching at him she settled for a overhand throw that flung the guard away with a wet crunch that signaled a ruined shoulder.
The Captain continued to push forward, but couldn't go fast enough through the panicked mob. Rgarshok decided that now was not the time to play nice and began throwing people out of her way. Even a Jornissian or two found themselves the target of her flinging. The only good news was that the drones had reached the doorway and now hovered in the path of the cloaked goons carrying the tiny-chompers. They each projected a targeting grid, trying to lock onto the cloaked goon without hurting the tiny-chompers...
Both two drones sparked and fell to the floor with smoking holes drilled neatly in each of them. Two more Dorarizin in full armor and wielding rifles stepped over the wrecked machines.
The guards parted to let the heat-shimmers pass between them, then stepped back together and came running towards Rgrarshok. Her attackers didn't use their guns for their intended purpose, instead they used the long weapons as clubs to smack aside the partygoers as they moved towards her.
Rgarshok roared in rage and charged.
submitted by Frank_Leroux to HFY [link] [comments]

[uncensored-r/Bitcoin] /r/Bitcoin FAQ - Newcomers please read

The following post by BinaryResult is being replicated because some comments within the post(but not the post itself) have been silently removed.
The original post can be found(in censored form) at this link:
reddit: /Bitcoin/comments/6jlop4
The original post's content was as follows:

Welcome to the /Bitcoin Sticky FAQ

You've probably been hearing a lot about Bitcoin recently and are wondering what's the big deal? Most of your questions should be answered by the resources below but if you have additional questions feel free to ask them in the comments.
The following videos are a good starting point for understanding how bitcoin works and a little about its long term potential:
For lots of additional video resources check out the videos wiki page or /BitcoinTV.
Key properties of bitcoin
  • Limited Supply - There will only ever be 21,000,000 bitcoins created and they are issued in a predictable fashion, you can view the inflation schedule here. Once they are all issued Bitcoin will be truly deflationary.
  • Open source - Bitcoin code is fully auditable. You can read the source code yourself here.
  • Accountable - The public ledger is transparent, all transactions are seen by everyone.
  • Decentralized - Bitcoin is globally distributed across thousands of nodes with no single point of failure and as such can't be shut down similar to how Bittorrent works.
  • Censorship resistant - No one can prevent you from interacting with the bitcoin network and no one can censor, alter or block transactions that they disagree with, see Operation Chokepoint.
  • Push system - There are no chargebacks in bitcoin because only the person who owns the address where the bitcoins reside has the authority to move them.
  • Low fee - Transactions fees can vary between a few cents and a few dollars depending on network demand and how much priority you wish to assign to the transaction. Most wallets calculate the fee automatically but you can view current fees here.
  • Borderless - No country can stop it from going in/out, even in areas currently unserved by traditional banking as the ledger is globally distributed.
  • Trustless - Bitcoin solved the Byzantine's Generals Problem which means nobody needs to trust anybody for it to work.
  • Pseudonymous - No need to expose personal information when purchasing with cash or transacting.
  • Secure - Encrypted cryptographically and can’t be brute forced or confiscated with proper key management such as hardware wallets.
  • Programmable - Individual units of bitcoin can be programmed to transfer based on certain criteria being met
  • Nearly instant - From a few seconds to a few minutes depending on need for confirmations. After a few confirmations transactions are irreversible.
  • Peer-to-peer - No intermediaries with a cut, no need for trusted third parties.
  • Portable - Bitcoins are digital so they are easier to move than cash or gold. They can even be transported by simply remembering a string of words for wallet recovery.
  • Scalable - Each bitcoin is divisible down to 8 decimals allowing it to grow in value while still accommodating micro-transactions.
  • Designed Money - Bitcoin was created to fit all the fundamental properties of money better than gold or fiat
Some excellent writing on Bitcoin's value proposition and future can be found here. Bitcoin statistics can be found here, here and here. Developer resources can be found here and here. Peer-reviewed research papers can be found here. The number of times Bitcoin was declared dead by the media can be found here. Scaling resources here, and of course the whitepaper that started it all.

Where can I buy bitcoins?

BuyBitcoinWorldwide.com and Howtobuybitcoin.io are helpful sites for beginners. You can buy or sell any amount of bitcoin and there are several easy methods to purchase bitcoin with cash, credit card or bank transfer. Some of the more popular resources are below, also, check out the bitcoinity exchange resources for a larger list of options for purchases.
Bank Transfer Credit / Debit card Cash
Coinbase Coinbase LocalBitcoins
Gemini Bitstamp LibertyX
GDAX Bitit Mycelium LocalTrader
Bitstamp Cex.io BitQuick
Kraken CoinMama WallofCoins
Xapo BitcoinOTC
Cex.io
itBit
Bitit
Bitsquare
Here is a listing of local ATMs. If you would like your paycheck automatically converted to bitcoin use Cashila or Bitwage.
Note: Bitcoins are valued at whatever market price people are willing to pay for them in balancing act of supply vs demand. Unlike traditional markets, bitcoin markets operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Preev is a useful site that that shows how much various denominations of bitcoin are worth in different currencies. Alternatively you can just Google "1 bitcoin in (your local currency)".

Securing your bitcoins

With bitcoin you can "Be your own bank" and personally secure your bitcoins OR you can use third party companies aka "Bitcoin banks" which will hold the bitcoins for you.
  • If you prefer to "Be your own bank" and have direct control over your coins without having to use a trusted third party, there are many software wallet options here. If you want easy and secure storage without having to learn computer security best practices, then a hardware wallet such as the Trezor or Ledger is recommended. A more advanced option is to secure them yourself using paper wallets generated offline. Some popular mobile and desktop options are listed below and most are cross platform.
Android iOs Desktop
Mycelium BreadWallet Electrum
CoPay AirBitz Armory
  • If you prefer to let third party "Bitcoin banks" manage your coins, try Coinbase or Xapo but be aware you may not be in control of your private keys in which case you would have to ask permission to access your funds and be exposed to third party risk.
Another interesting use case for physical storage/transfer is the Opendime. Opendime is a small USB stick that allows you to spend Bitcoin by physically passing it along so it's anonymous and tangible like cash.
Note: For increased security, use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) everywhere it is offered, including email!
2FA requires a second confirmation code to access your account, usually from a text message or app, making it much harder for thieves to gain access. Google Authenticator and Authy are the two most popular 2FA services, download links are below. Make sure you create backups of your 2FA codes.
Google Auth Authy
Android Android
iOS iOS

Where can I spend bitcoins?

A more comprehensive list can be found at the Trade FAQ but some more commons ones are below.
Store Product
Gyft Gift cards for hundreds of retailers including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Whole Foods, CVS, Lowes, Home Depot, iTunes, Best Buy, Sears, Kohls, eBay, GameStop, etc.
Steam, HumbleBundle, Games Planet, itch.io, g2g and kinguin For when you need to get your game on
Microsoft Xbox games, phone apps and software
Spendabit, The Bitcoin Shop, Overstock, Rakuten, DuoSearch, The Bitcoin Directory and BazaarBay Retail shopping with millions of results
ShakePay Generate one time use Visa cards in seconds
NewEgg, TigerDirect and Dell For all your electronics needs
Cashila, Bitwa.la, Coinbills, Piixpay, Bitbill.eu, Bylls, Coins.ph, Bitrefill, Pey.de, LivingRoomofSatoshi, Hyphen.to, Coinsfer, GetPaidinBitcoin, Coins.co.th, More #1, #2 Bill payment
Foodler, Menufy, Takeaway, Thuisbezorgd NL, Pizza For Coins Takeout delivered to your door!
Expedia, Cheapair, Lot, Destinia, BTCTrip, Abitsky, SkyTours, Fluege the Travel category on Gyft and 9flats For when you need to get away
BoltVM, BitHost VPS service
Cryptostorm, Mullvad, and PIA VPN services
Namecheap For new domain name registration
Stampnik and GetUSPS Discounted USPS Priority, Express, First-Class mail postage
Reddit Gold Premium membership which can be gifted to others
Coinmap, 99Bitcoins and AirBitz are helpful to find local businesses accepting bitcoins. A good resource for UK residents is at wheretospendbitcoins.co.uk.
There are also lots of charities which accept bitcoin donations, such as Wikipedia, Red Cross, Amnesty International, United Way, ACLU and the EFF. You can find a longer list here.

Merchant Resources

There are several benefits to accepting bitcoin as a payment option if you are a merchant;
  • 1-3% savings over credit cards or PayPal.
  • No chargebacks (final settlement in 10 minutes as opposed to 3+ months).
  • Accept business from a global customer base.
  • Increased privacy.
  • Convert 100% of the sale to the currency of your choice for deposit to your account, or choose to keep a percentage of the sale in bitcoin if you wish to begin accumulating it.
If you are interested in accepting bitcoin as a payment method, there are several options available;

Can I mine bitcoin?

Mining bitcoins can be a fun learning experience, but be aware that you will most likely operate at a loss. Newcomers are often advised to stay away from mining unless they are only interested in it as a hobby similar to folding at home. If you want to learn more about mining you can read more here. Still have mining questions? The crew at /BitcoinMining would be happy to help you out.
If you want to contribute to the bitcoin network by hosting the blockchain and propagating transactions you can run a full node using this setup guide. Bitseed is an easy option for getting set up. You can view the global node distribution here.

Earning bitcoins

Just like any other form of money, you can also earn bitcoins by being paid to do a job.
Site Description
WorkingForBitcoins, Bitwage, XBTfreelancer, Cryptogrind, Bitlancerr, Coinality, Bitgigs, /Jobs4Bitcoins, Rein Project Freelancing
OpenBazaar, Purse.io, Bitify, /Bitmarket, 21 Market Marketplaces
Watchmybit, Streamium.io, OTika.tv, XOtika.tv NSFW, /GirlsGoneBitcoin NSFW Video Streaming
Bitasker, BitforTip, WillPayCoin Tasks
Supload.com, SatoshiBox, JoyStream, File Army File/Image Sharing
CoinAd, A-ads, Coinzilla.io Advertising
You can also earn bitcoins by participating as a market maker on JoinMarket by allowing users to perform CoinJoin transactions with your bitcoins for a small fee (requires you to already have some bitcoins)

Bitcoin Projects

The following is a short list of ongoing projects that might be worth taking a look at if you are interested in current development in the bitcoin space.
Project Description
Lightning Network, Amiko Pay, and Strawpay Payment channels for network scaling
Blockstream and Drivechain Sidechains
21, Inc. Open source library for the machine payable web
ShapeShift.io Trade between bitcoins and altcoins easily
Open Transactions, Counterparty, Omni, Open Assets, Symbiont and Chain Financial asset platforms
Hivemind and Augur Prediction markets
Mirror Smart contracts
Mediachain Decentralized media library
Tierion and Factom Records & Titles on the blockchain
BitMarkets, DropZone, Beaver and Open Bazaar Decentralized markets
Samourai and Dark Wallet - abandoned Privacy-enhancing wallets
JoinMarket CoinJoin implementation (Increase privacy and/or Earn interest on bitcoin holdings)
Coinffeine and Bitsquare Decentralized bitcoin exchanges
Keybase and Bitrated Identity & Reputation management
Bitmesh and Telehash Mesh networking
JoyStream BitTorrent client with paid seeding
MORPHiS Decentralized, encrypted internet
Storj and Sia Decentralized file storage
Streamium and Faradam Pay in real time for on-demand services
Abra Global P2P money transmitter network
bitSIM PIN secure hardware token between SIM & Phone
Identifi Decentralized address book w/ ratings system
Coinometrics Institutional-level Bitcoin Data & Research
Blocktrail and BitGo Multisig bitcoin API
Bitcore Open source Bitcoin javascript library
Insight Open source blockchain API
Leet Kill your friends and take their money ;)

Bitcoin Units

One Bitcoin is quite large (hundreds of £/$/€) so people often deal in smaller units. The most common subunits are listed below:
Unit Symbol Value Info
millibitcoin mBTC 1,000 per bitcoin SI unit for milli i.e. millilitre (mL) or millimetre (mm)
microbitcoin ?BTC 1,000,000 per bitcoin SI unit for micro i.e microlitre (?L) or micrometre (?m)
bit bit 1,000,000 per bitcoin Colloquial "slang" term for microbitcoin
satoshi sat 100,000,000 per bitcoin Smallest unit in bitcoin, named after the inventor
For example, assuming an arbitrary exchange rate of $500 for one Bitcoin, a $10 meal would equal:
  • 0.02 BTC
  • 20 mBTC
  • 20,000 bits
For more information check out the Bitcoin units wiki.
Still have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below or stick around for our weekly Mentor Monday thread. If you decide to post a question in /Bitcoin, please use the search bar to see if it has been answered before, and remember to follow the community rules outlined on the sidebar to receive a better response. The mods are busy helping manage our community so please do not message them unless you notice problems with the functionality of the subreddit. A complete list of bitcoin related subreddits can be found here
Note: This is a community created FAQ. If you notice anything missing from the FAQ or that requires clarification you can edit it here and it will be included in the next revision pending approval.
Welcome to the Bitcoin community and the new decentralized economy!
submitted by censorship_notifier to noncensored_bitcoin [link] [comments]

I just completed my written, hearing, and speaking B1 tests. I want to share my experience with you all and offer some tips that helped me!

Hallo an alle!
 
Today is a really great day. After 6 months of studying, intensive German classes, and countless hours practicing with sites like /german, I was finally ready for my B1 exam which I just took today. I have to wait about 4 weeks for the results for some reason... but I'm extremely confident that I passed. Let's hope my confidence doesn't disturb the Gods of Fate.
I wanted to share with everyone here my experience and offer some advice if you're interested in eventually taking the B1 test too. First, a little of my story and arguably the most important part of it, my motivation.
100% of the reason I started learning German was a girl who smiled at me a few times at a gym in Seattle. After she gave up on me making the first move (was never going to happen, too shy), she gave me her number and couldn't get rid of me. Now I live in Germany.. Being exposed to the language everyday is helpful in ways that are obvious, like reading signs and hearing people talk around you, but also in less obvious ways, like being forced to interact with cashiers and waiters/waitresses who only speak German, or otherwise don't want to speak English to you. Without my girlfriend's motivation, not just her direct motivation and help but the daydreams about having conversations with her and her friends and family in German, I simply wouldn't have gotten this far. That initial desire will get you over the first mountain, but it takes something more to stay on your feet when you see 200 more in front of you.
Important to note is that I wanted to learn as fast as possible, and not just to memorize tourist phrases and a few introductions, but really speak the language and live my life exactly how I do now, just in German instead of English. If you're more of a casual learner, driven by the romance of knowing a second language, or even if it's important, but more of a binary decision, like needing to speak the language for a job opportunity or something but not really caring about language itself, just remember to pace yourself. So often I see friends learn a language and just burn out after banging their head against a wall trying to grasp a concept. I've watched the sullen look of horror creep over the faces of people learning adjective endings.
 
So, my learning path. I started learning German in the USA about a year ago just with Duolingo and finding a private tutor on craigslist. The tutor was expensive, but the structure was nice and especially in the beginning it's nice to have someone drag you along the boring and awkward details. Things like pronouncing the alphabet and learning colors weren't fun in Kindergarten and they aren't fun now either. I went about once a week for 1.5 hours.
After and during my months seeing the tutor I really just sucked up every piece of information that I could find like a Hoover. Honestly, the entire language is online, I can't stress that enough. Websites like nthuleen.com and yourdailygerman.com were instrumental and mostly free. There are tons of free pdf's that just offer so much good, free information.
That lasted about 8 months, after which I made the huge decision to move to Germany to be closer to my girlfriend.
 
Here I started an "Intensive German Course" at a Volkshochschule, which is basically a Community College. I started at the A2 level. That was 4 months ago. Now, when they listed "intense" they truly meant it. 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. I am lucky enough to have saved some money when I moved here, so I could focus 100% on the courses. While expensive, it was affordable for what you got. Compared to the options in the US it was at least half as much.
The courses were great, but like with most things, you're really only going to get out of it what you put back in. I studied another 5-10 hours per week. Just practicing grammar that I didn't quite grasp, reviewing vocabulary, etc. Having my girlfriend available for the random question here and there was nice, but it's important to remember that most German speakers understand that language only or at moslty intuitively, not literally, as we're learning it. I think I know more about German grammar than I do about English! This simply means that it's helpful, but don't get discouraged that you don't have one or two advantages that I or someone else may have. Nothing is truly in your way.
 
My path was this, skipping A1.1 and A1.2 because of my studies in the US: A2.1 -> A2.2 -> B1.1 -> B1.2 -> B1 test
 
Each "Module" was 1 month long. Because I'm an over-confident penny-pincher I skipped the B1.2 module and studied on my own. I had been doing it in the USA and was confident my discipline and organizational skills would be sufficient. I wanted to save money and have a more flexible schedule. The book we used was called "Netzwerk" and I found it pretty good. It's unique in that it's 100% in German, as many people, especially here in Germany, aren't learning the language as an English speaker. That forced me to learn some extra vocabulary and didn't allow me to "zone out" while studying. The books have silly examples but overall did a good job of teaching me what I needed to know while being "up-to-date" with the lessons and scenarios. (I have seen and even used a few German lesson books talking about "Crazy" things in the future like "phones that you can put in your pocket!") The answers and digital versions of the audio is all available on their website too which is really nice.
Okay... so, test day was today. It was broken into two parts: Writing / Reading / Hearing and then Speaking. Depending on who you are one of these is more nerve wracking than the other, for me it's Speaking. If you happened to be in my 9th grade Chemistry class you may have seen me black out when trying to present something about... chemistry. Or maybe you were with me in the 7th grade when I gave the worlds shortest book report which started and ended within the same sentence after I had to sit down to avoid passing out.
I'm not great at public speaking.
 
Onto the tips!
Part 1: Reading / Hearing / Writing
This part of the test I really liked. It's simply one of those "you know it or you don't" situations and if you belong in the test, you'll nail it. I really had to learn to trust myself and after I got over some of the butterflies that come from that "whoa, I'm here" realization, I just stopped trying to force the answers. Just like the chefs on the show Chopped, WATCH THE CLOCK. You only have a limited amount of time and when that time is up, it's over. Do not reread your "Brief" 10,000 times. Write it, trust yourself, reread it once to fix silly mistakes. Same goes for the Reading portion. You'll likely get some kind of multiple choice selection thing where you have to choose the right newspaper ad for the right question. These are hard, they are meant to trick you. Pay attention to the details and underline key words.
 
For example, if the prompt is:
 
There will be an ad that says something like:
This, of course, is wrong. In German "lassen" here specifically means "let someone else do it" like in the sentence "Ich will mein Auto reparieren lassen". This sentence specifically means that you don't want to do it yourself. Also there is no mention of "German Cars" which can be and often is a red herring.
 
This sounds a little complicated, but rest assured, I'm only illustrating the few problems that have a little trick to them. And really not so much a trick, but more of assurance that you're truly reading, and understanding both the prompt and the options you're selecting.
That underline thing I mentioned I mean very literally. You will get an Answer Sheet, which you can only fill out the bubbles on, but you CAN write in your work book, and let me tell you... WRITE IN YOUR WORKBOOK! On the listening sections underline the things that you are listening for. If you're going to hear an announcement at a train station, underline the platform that you're listening for, and the time you're listening for if applicable. IGNORE everything else. The tape will play an entire announcement, of which only half is important to you, know what to listen for.
Same goes for other types of hearing questions too. I had a question along the lines of "Is the reason the A21 is closed because of an obstruction in the road?" and the tape had something which included the phrase "obstruction in the road" but it was for a different Autobahn... tricky tricky. Fortunately I had "A21" underlined and the moment the tape said "In der Autobahn A61.... blah blah blah doesn't matter because of my flawless system". Listen carefully, underline what you need.
 
Lastly... the dreaded speaking test.
I'm not great at public speaking, or speaking in front of anyone. I'm much older than I was in 7th and 9th grade but I still have to control myself with deep breathing and focus before I step in front of a group of classmates or something. This test is really important to me and basically justifies all of the hours of work I put into German, and my giant move to Germany in the first place. That means my head was racing with doubt, threatening to swerve off the road at every turn.
 
The format is simple:
 
You can search in YouTube "B1 mündliche Prüfung" and find a thousand, literally a thousand, examples of this test in various formats and I encourage you do that. Sometimes they're a bit different but always similar.
The entire thing is 15 minutes. When I sat down across from my partner, adjacent to the two Instructors, I could feel the adrenalin pump through me. I noticed the outside of my vision getting a little blurry. I took deeps breaths, I forced myself to smile, and made eye contact with everyone around. I reminded myself that we're all here just to chat, it's important, but you're prepared and again, trust yourself.
To prepare for this test I didn't write my entire introduction out, but rather key phrases and words and grammar that I wanted to show off. I had some classmates who wrote the entire thing out but then became so focused on simply memorizing their "speech" that they got caught up on super simple phrases like remembering the word order for a "weil" sentence. It wasn't because they didn't understand that the verb goes to the end, but because they just couldn't remember what they had written. Don't write down things like "ICH KOMME AUS FRANKREICH". You know that, trust yourself to be able to say that under pressure.
 
Instead I wrote down a few key phrases like:
Plusquamperfekt, at least for me, was very new, but I did understand it and wanted to use it, so i wrote this down. I didn't even use it, I used a different "nachdem" sentence, but again it was just about the format and grammar rules I wanted to cement in my head. In this case "nachdem + plusquamperfekt, simple past or perfekt".
 
I also wrote down something like:
Again, just nailing down the grammar in my head, in this case Konjunktiv II.
 
Deep breaths, and keep your review non-specific, focusing on weaknesses in grammar and what you can show them that you know, rather than just trying to memorize a speech.
Last bit of advice for the speaking test is that you are allowed to be human. When you trip over your tongue and hit a brick wall, excuse yourself and just start over, they are so happy to accommodate that and pulling out an "Entschulidgung, Ich möchte es wiederholen" not only is no problem, but also shows you can do that in the real world, which is what they're looking for. So chill!
The next two parts are just a matter of building your vocabulary and using "Redemittle" like "Ich schlage vor...", "Was denkst du über..." and "Ich finde es toll, wenn..." for the appointment and other phrases like "Im Hintergrund sehe ich...", "Zwischen dem Baum und dem Haus steht ein Stuhl" and so forth.
 
This post started as an idea to say about a paragraphs worth of encouragement and here we are... 50000000 words later. Thanks for reading if you have this far and I hope my meandering stream-of-consciousness was helpful in some way. Please ask any questions you have and I'll be happy to answer them!
submitted by Pliskin321 to German [link] [comments]

[Table] IAmA: I am the author of the Heartbleed test site. AMA!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2014-04-15
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
Hey Filippo, I just wanted to thank you for your work. During last week I've been upgrading ~1000 Servers to fix the heartbleed bug. Thanks to your tool I was able to keep customers on track without bothering me. :D.
What do you think was the worst affected part of the heartbleed bug? Maybe Tor? I don't know, I'm afraid we will discover it in the coming days. IMHO the most impacted will be the ones that are or have been slowest to fix, so some .gov, embedded...
Did you get any Job offerings due to your recent work? Yeah, I did get some amazing offers, and I'm considering them these days (damn US immigration law, by the way!)
We have some great work visas you can look into. That I can get next April to start working Sep 2015...
What should an average internet person do after the Heartbleed? Install the Chromebleed or Foxbleed browser extension and not login to the sites that trigger an alert;
Think hard about all the important accounts one have, and go changing the passwords there (always a good thing); REMINDER: using different passwords is more important than using complex ones, write them down on paper if you need!
Wait for statements by the affected websites about what might have been leaked.
Yeah, any advice for people who can't remember 46 different passwords already, much less change them into 46 new ones and then remember them? Lastpass, or write them down on paper. It's fine. We all do. It's SO MUCH BETTER than having the same everywhere.
of, thanks for providing a free service which has helped a lot of people. I see that it is possible to donate on your website. Just wondering, how much money did you get out of this? I got a couple of thousands dollars, mainly via PayPal.
Ad companies offered more, and the donation link is tiny, but thinking that every time my phone buzz with a PayPal notification someone went to the trouble of clicking it and decided to send me money is AWESOME.
how much BTC? :) Not as much, a bit less than 1.
I have nothing technical to contribute , I can barely change my passwords in a timly manner. So my question, what did you have for breakfast? This week I've almost lived on US time, but being in Italy this means waking up at 12-13 and having lunch.
So, pasta al pesto.
Wait a minute... are you italian? The kind of "pasta al pesto" Italian? So... When are you joining us on /italy for an AMA in italian?. Ti prego, ti prego, ti prego :) Ok, datemi fino a domani ;)
Pesto, Alfredo and Napolitana... national pride pasta! Secret: noone in Italy know what a Alfredo is.
Ehi aspetta, ma tu sei questo? Aha :)
Perhaps not something most people noticed, but why is your go app writing down the results of every request made to a log? I tweeted a few times about logs and I want to stress that I don't log anything about the clients. Only results, and on a different system HTTP Referrals. Also there is no analytics or ads on the page to protect user privacy.
Hey Filippo. Just wanted to thank you for your work. I think it's important that users (yeah, regular users, not sysadmins) could discover what sites were vulnerable to put pressure on them. This is a great contribution in fixing the internet! Thanks! :D Honestly, this started as a sysadmin tool, but I've been delighted by how useful it has been for the users! it has a good TLS library that was so easy to patch it's easy to write enough to go online in a few hours it's fast enough to carry the load by itself, with its built-in web server EDIT: cross-compiling and static linking are awesome, I build the server binaries from my Mac to upload with one command.
Why Go? (I love Go but wanted to know why you chose it)
For the AMA: How quickly did you get the site up following the announcement? I'm in the UK and turned up to work at 9am (the morning after the announcement) and the site was online, so you must have been pretty quick. I read about it during the evening (few hours after the announcement?), started working on it at 1am and got a first version up around maybe 4am? I remember going to sleep around 8am.
How do we know you're not collecting a list of vulnerable sites? I am! ^^ Link to pay.reddit.com
Serious side: Thank you very much for the site. We put it to great use! Happy that it helped :)
Just noticed, what is pay.reddit.com? Ah, it's a SSL enabled domain they use for payments, but that you can use for all the site with HTTPS Everywhere.
Do you use OpenSSL? Yes, and you do too. It's just everywhere.
If your question was "do you use OpenSSL for the tests", then no, I used the Golang crypto/tls stack.
How hard is it to detect Heartbleed, really? I'm asking this considering the information on Link to www.hut3.net. Thanks a lot for the link, I have some fixing to do apparently. It is hard because TLS has so many different configurations (some even quirky, you should look at a TLS implementation, so many "shouldn't do this, but big sites need it"), and while developing one has access to a limited number of test servers.
What was the first project in which you have contributed? How do you start contributing open source programming? I have seen a lot of project on Github but I don't understand 90% of the code. My first serious project was youtube-dl.
You have to choose a GitHub repo (for example), get familiar with the code, watch the Issues and try to be of help there at first, then when you feel confident enough submit a Pull Request to fix something yourself and from there it's done :) Good luck!
You created youtube-dl? I think I used it like 4 years ago. How old were you when you created that? Nonono, didn't create it! I'm just a core developer. Started like, 2 years ago.
You're only 19? Wow, that's an incredible achievement! Are you a self taught programmer? Yep, there is no good High School IT education in Italy... I learned on Internet, started making bots for Wikipedia.
As someone who is starting to learn programming, what language did you write the bots in? Python? The bots were in Python, yep.
Can we expect any further Heartbleed threats in the future? Probably, can't tell when, can't tell what, but programmers are humans! Hopefully they will become more rare and less severe while we make our infrastructures better.
Is it programmers or humans you want less of? Programmers, fuck competition :P.
What exactly is the Heartbleed virus? Where did it come from? It's not a virus, it's a programming error, that if not fixed enables attackers to steal information from servers. Please refer to your favorite news site or Wikipedia.
Do you know if the bug was attributed to malicious behavior or was it just a mistake made by the programmers? My bet is completely on a mistake. We do them all the time, really.
Because it's open source, do you think its the fault of the companies that actually use it since they are vested everything on a technology they don't put funding into? Companies should have thrown much more money at OpenSSL, they need way more staff. It's critical infrastructure nowadays!
How long did it take to develop the site? 2-3 hours to get the first version running on Monday. Since then to keep it online and fixed.
Why did you do it? you just heard the news and tought, lets make a test site? Basically, yes. Adam Langley made one for the "goto fail;" bug, so I thought it might be a fun and useful project (didn't expect it to become so huge!)
60M tests and high traffic, how did the servers handle that stuff? The servers got smashed on the ground a couple times at first. Then I rewrote the service in Go, put it behind a Amazon ELB, and started 40 m3.medium servers. That made it, I sustained 20,000 tests per minute at some point without problems. (Ah, and the html web site is static, hosted on GitHub Pages, zero problems with that.)
How much did it cost to host the program no Amazon? Did the project end up costing you money? It might end up costing me, I still don't know.
Link to pay.reddit.com
How did you find the bug? Where you looking for bugs? Did you stumbled upon it when looking at the code or when using openSSL? I totally DID NOT FIND the bug. I created the test site, but all the glory for spotting it go to Neel Mehta, a Google engineer, and Codenomicon.
How did you become so well integrated in OpenSSL? What do you do for a living/study? Thank you for the website tool, it works like a charm. I have no relation to OpenSSL. I just read the fix commit and worked from there. Please note that I did NOT find the bug.
I'm a freelancer for now, I'm considering some job offers.
After your discovery of HeartBleed, how much time did you spend writing this tool? 2-3 hours to get the first version running on Monday.
Were you busy writing and improving it non stop? Yes, I've been working on this since then, to improve it, fix it and keep it online. The first 3 days I actually slept really a little.
Were you in a panic to secure servers you were responsible for after the HeartBleed discovery? I don't have important servers to maintain myself, thankfully.
What part of your site are you most proud of, be it a technical bit you wrote for the site, or general impact? Umh... good question. I'd say the load it has been able to sustain thanks to Go. And the fact that it turned out to be user-friendly after all.
Hey Filippo, as a non-dev I found it to be a bit tedious compiling your code using "go". Any reason why you chose this approach? Hey, sorry to hear that. Go helped me a lot in developing the tool and the site, some reasons are here Link to pay.reddit.com
I should probably have provided some pre-built binary.
What does the pay.reddit do? Ah, it's a SSL enabled domain they use for payments, but that you can use for all the site with HTTPS Everywhere.
You know you would have gotten a lot of shit about providing a binary, though. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Thanks for developing the tool. Eeeexactly.
Hey, I remember seeing your comment on HN and then seeing you post it there as an article a bit later. Hair on fire style :) I scaled up manually up to maybe 5-8 servers (behind a ELB), then rewrote the server to be pure Go (web.py was the bottleneck) and then turned to Ansible. Slept almost nothing ;)
How did you first handle scaling? How did you feel in those first couple of hours seening your tool get so popular? I was amazed by the first thousand visits, that was my peak before last week. Then the millions came :D.
Is it possible that the only reason that heartbleed was discovered was due to large companies wondering how the NSA was able to penetrate sensitive and what they believe was 'encrypted' information - after which the flaw was discovered? I don't think this is a likely scenario. It was probably not exploited at all before last week.
At what age did you start programming and how many hours per day do you usually spend programming? Also much time do you spend on computer doing something, that is not programming, and how much time do you spend on acitvities that don't involve computer? Thanks :) I started around 13/14.
It depends... Let's say an average of 10? But it really depends on the days, I've spent periods without doing it much, and I've pulled quite some all-nighters. I used to bring my laptop and program at school, too. Now it's also kind of my job.
If we consider research, reading Hacker News, etc. broadly "programming", then little. I always have a Facebook tab somewhere, but I usually don't spend time just surfing YouTube or playing games.
I love my KTM Duke 690, so I spend a lot of time riding it. Then there are running, swimming, friends, girls, conferences...
Girls? Girls.
Thanks so much to FiloSottile and breakingsystems. I've installed Foxbleed add-on but it there any way we can test if it's working? I've visited lots of sites but nothing noticable has happened! Is there a known site which hasn't be 'fixed' yet so we can see what happens? The Cloudflare Challenge site is vulnerable by design. I use that.
Hopefully you can answer this... So the answer is "boh, the spec says so". :(
Have you read this on /.? Link to it.slashdot.org. Re cybercrime: Link to pay.reddit.com
Many commenters note that this effectively destroys ssl for all time and the industry needs to rebuild from the ground up. Your thoughts? Meh, critical bugs happen. We need to make certificate revocations better, and fix the CA design, but we already knew that,
So you believe the current standard is workable? There's a lot of discussion in that /. thread to point to it being so broken that it cannot be fixed. It can be fixed. There are some really good people working on it.
I agree that it should not be viewed as cybercrime. Whenever someone points out a flaw vs. exploiting it they should be rewarded not attacked. CT logs for example look promising.
If you hadn't gained this fame, would you have went to university to get a degree? How do your parents feel about your achievement? Nope, my plans didn't change a bit because of this, also because the fame will fade fast. I only have some more options. This is the first achievement they can fully understand without being of the "field", so they look quite proud ^ Huge props to them for not freaking out at me for not going to university!
I'd like to know more about your website's hosting. How many servers do you have that perform the tests? Who do you host them with? What's your total hosting costs? Link to pay.reddit.com
There are some graphs on my Twitter Link to twitter.com
I don't know, as the billing is lagged I'm told. For now 700$, covered by some credits I had.
Have you made enough in donations to cover your costs? I've not covered any important cost myself yet. But time (and bills) will tell.
Best Pizza topping combination? Wurtel Wurstel and prosciutto cotto.
There are reports that the NSA knew about Heartbleed and exploited it. How do you feel about this? I don't know how much to trust these claims.
Better people than me stated that it's unlikely, it's too noisy for them.
Thanks a lot for the repo - its definitely helped a load of people :D. Nowadays, Go.
I noticed you code in python/JavaScript (incidentally, so do I). If you could recommend a programming language what would you say and why? I wrote about it here Link to pay.reddit.com
I have always wondered why some unix fanatic websites (like cat-v.org) support a language that is backed and owned by a "company". It must be something about static libraries. Well, never bothered to check but your blog post about go seems convincing! I'll give it a try :) Backed yes, owned no, it's Open Source. Check it out, it's so nice :)
Thank you once again for creating this test site, I work in tech support for a major hosting company this has helped a lot of our Dedicated and VPS customers calm the fuck down. And how many total views has your site received? I don't have any analytics for the site, so I don't have a good figure for views.
Do you always use SSL to view sites, ie. Link to pay.reddit.com ? 40 EC2 medium instances, behind a ELB. Link to pay.reddit.com
Before you posted the site, did you tell anyone? Friends, family? Or did you keep it a secret? Didn't think it would blow up like this! Then hadn't the time, so most of them learned from the papers.
How can a 37yo learn how to program and/or create websites? I'll have 2 years where I can put 2-4 hours a day into learning something and I think that this is it. There are really good resources online. I hear good things about Link to www.codecademy.com but never tried it.
Start fiddling with Open Source projects as soon as you can.
I've heard from credible sources that hackers/pentesters in the know have been exploiting the bug for sometime now. Once the report on heartbleed was released, it opened the floodgates for others to start taking advantage of it. Do you believe information about heartbleed was released to the masses too soon, not allowing Admins enough time to make changes to their network? Would there be a better way to release this information to security professionals? Google tried to coordinate the disclosure, but another team discovered it. Anyway, they did some great job, and there is not a "right way", you do your best and apply your judgement.
Anyway, I still have to read proof that this bug was exploited before disclosure.
In layman terms, how do people like Google find these security holes, and how do people like you fix them? They found it by reading the code, and reasoning on how it works and wether it is secure.
I edit the Wikipedia page on Heartbleed. What credible sources, besides the media coverage linked in your post, should I use as sources to add more information and detail to the wiki page? The xkcd figure is good. Then trust Schneier, Matt Green, Google...
In college, what courses should I take to become a cryptologist besides the introductory programming and crytography courses? I honestly don't know what courses might be there, but look for logic, number theory, some algebra...
So, coming from a Ruby/Java/Scala background, what are the best resources for learning how to write idiomatic Go code? The Getting Started docs are good. Then read the official FAQ etc.
Then the official Go blog posts, they are awesome.
Yep, the official docs rock!
What are your thoughts on the PKI's revocation system, especially through browsers? That is, browsers (chrome, firefox) often soft fail a check to CRL or OCSP. Revocation sucks. I'm putting my bets on CT logs. And slowly getting something better than the CA system.
What are your thoughts on PHK's call to abandon OpenSSL? OpenSSL is too ubiquitous to get rid of it, let's refactor it. And give them some serious staff. And remove some features.
Is software programming, informatics just getting too complicated? It surprises me that so many big internet enterprises with the best engineers in the world like google, facebook...didn't discover this bug. Not even the many volunteers who helped at openssl. Or are progammers just getting worser? The "many volunteers" sadly can be counted on the fingers of a hand.
Reading some of your responses here, you're probably the nicest person on the internet right now. Not only saving the internet from lots of struggle with Heartbleed, but attending to everyone's questions about your tool. How do you do it? Red Bull?
What do you think about the media panic concerning the bug? I've been getting calls from people screaming on the phone about a cataclism and internet catastrophe because he heard so on the news. This bug got some unusually good marketing, but if it helps getting it fixed everywhere, I don't see the damage.
(I feel the pain of having crazy customers, however)
Nothing to 60 million tests in a week is a huge through put. How is your site set up to handle the scale required? AWS. A lot of EC2 instances behind a ELB.
Link to pay.reddit.com
What have you implemented on your website that we are collectively going to be really sorry about for having visited it? Lol, I probably should have done something :P but actually I didn't even put ads there to protect users!
What language did you build this in? Was it complex to make? Go, some thoughts here Link to pay.reddit.com
Not much to make at first. Way harder to keep online and working with the traffic.
Isn't that site somewhat illegal because you have to have the target return a payload to see if it's vulnerable? And it's coming plaintext back to you so anyone between you and them will be able to read it. You do dump the returned memory, right? It's a few bytes, but yes on all the line.
Consider that if my site can do that anyone can, and see Link to pay.reddit.com
Thank you for your work. That is a lot of hits! Who is hosting your site? AWS. Have a look at my other answers for details.
How long have you been programming for? Are you all self taught? Yep, self-taught. Stated when I was 13/14.
How do you feel about the scale of the media response? I mean, it has made front page news in many countries and most outlets are trying to take the threat seriously. It could well be the only thing many people hear about cryptography for some time. It's unusual, this bug got some good marketing.
If it gets people to fix their machines, and throw money at OpenSSL, then it's good with me.
Is there a way to run a test against servers that aren't accessible from the internet? Like, to be able to download an offline version of the tool? Thanks. Yep, check out the GitHub link in the upper right corner.
Hey Filippo, what do you think about Italy being such an under-developed country in terms of technology in the public sector? (or rather, people who can't use the technology efficiently?) Heh, tough question, I don't feel like I have enough insight on the society at large. So, here is my experience. I want to work, I have offers, and I have to run away from here. Here age and degrees matter too much, and companies can't/won't pay me nearly as much... It's really sad indeed.
Cordiali saluti, un redditor di Roma.
Hey Filippo, I'm running out of password ideas thanks to you. How do you feel about that? Muahahaha, evil :P.
Hi great work, thanks. The scenario that concerns me is if a site has patched the bug but not updated their SSL certs - that site would appear to be safe but the cert could have been already compromised - perhaps an app to see if the cert has been issued after the bug has been patched would be an idea? Link to filippo.io
The zmap guys did it the right way ("first time this cert has been seen in the wild") Link to zmap.io
Can you add a web chat on Link to filippo.io ? I think is useful to exchange informations with others about that heartbleed bug. I'm a bit worried how it might turn out...
Are you aware of this issue with your test and have you fixed it? Link to www.hut3.net. The only bug from that list that rings a bell is SSLv3 support that is missing from the lib I use.
In that cases I exit with an error, NOT with a green result.
How does your site check for the exploit? like does it send data as a client with larger memory then sent bytes and see if it returns more data from server memory...or do you just check for the openSSL version they are on and decide whether they are affected or not? The former, Link to filippo.io
I use a password manager. Is there any reason not to continue to use it after I change all my pws? Nope, keep using it. It's way better than having the same password everywhere.
Are you licensing the name to a metal band? It's not mine, the guys at Codenomicon came up with it :)
What was the mechanism behind the heartbleed bug? How was it exploited? Check the xkcd comic.
Thanks. Weird that the protocol allows the client to specify the length instead of using calculating the length of the string. It's quite common in C and network protocols.
The alternative is saying "it lasts until the \0" and it turned out worse.
"Unfortunately, there is no real way to check if a certificate has been re-keyed without comparing it to the previous one..." As for being "safe", I want to be as user-friendly as possible, and I guess no user expects me to run a security audit... Also, the user has no way to check anything beyond what I do, so it's a sorry situation, but we can't do better.
The public key info and a handful of other fields will be different in a rekeyed certificate, but you obviously need the old certificate for comparison. You're right in the sense that inspecting a single certificate is unlikely to betray the fact that it's been rekeyed. You are right, updating it, and linking to the awesome zmap guys.
Hey man, congrats for your hard work, what features would you add to the website in the future? I have a looong TODO, but very little time to implement it. Anyway the traffic is winding down, so I don't think many of them will ever come to light, as they would have been most useful the first days.
Anyway I want to expand coverage to mail servers, and all the other possible affected systems.
My question is: Why wasn't the Heartbleed exploit found a lot sooner? I'm slightly ignorant about things like this, but I feel like this is something a script kiddie could have found messing around on the internet. It's something a script kiddie can exploit, not find. Finding it is more like looking for the usual needle in the haystack.
Hello Filippo, Thank you for doing this AMA. How did you learn to code? Did you go to university or did you learn on your own and if so what tools did you use? There is no good High School IT education in Italy... I learned on Internet, started making bots for Wikipedia.
Then GitHub and Hacker News mainly. Recently went to Hacker School.
Why should I trust information to your site? For no reason, but consider that I might run zmap and reach your server anyway.
Last updated: 2014-04-19 13:06 UTC
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[Table] IAmA president of a College Kink club AMA

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2012-07-12
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Link to my post
Questions Answers
Do you get much hassle from the the guys who attend? Any funny stories.. At the beginning of each meeting we have a little rant about not outing people outside of club although everybody is free to attend. I think the most awkward people feel is when they come there for their honors project. At our school all honor students must attend a club they normally wouldn't attend and write a paper on it. We, of course, are high on that list.
People talk about our club behind our backs of course but we are getting a lot of acceptance recently through exposure in student publications!
Best story off the top of my head is during a meeting when people were introducing themselves and one guy said "I came here because I like to be dominated by women." then the girl next to him said "I'm here because I like to be dominated by men."
Perhaps they can set up a rota between the pair. Mon,Wed, Fri M>F. Tue,Thurs,Sat F>M. Sunday Icecream day. It can work for some :P I like the ice-cream day! My girlfriend and I are in a power-play thing but generally it's whoever starts the beating first.
Are you a bisexual man or a bisexual woman? I am a bisexual woman although I prefer the term pansexual.
Does no-one just want to dominate any more? Kids these days.. Oh I dominate ;)
You just pan through the available options around you? Pretty much, I pan until I hit gold.
They mean the same thing. One is just esoteric and pretentious. Not quite. In some cases bisexual will infer a gender binary, while pansexual implies a gender spectrum. It's just a more inclusive term.
What do you do with the pan? Spanking? Oh there are many many things one can do with a pan... The most delicious of which is pancakes.
You're a gold panner? Different than a gold digger, although the terms are not exclusive.
"I said REAL maple syrup, worm!" Haha I well remember that one!
2) How frequent are meetings, and how many attend? 2) Meetings are weekly and how many people attend depends on the meeting. It can be from 5-60. The rope bondage is a popular one of course and I'm expecting that due to 5 shades of grey we may see an increase in people this year. 3) I am involved because I am passionate. I discovered kink around 17, and since 18 wanted to be as involved in and try out as many things. I discovered this club completely by accident but was struck by how amazing it was that there was an educational group for Kink/BDSM. I have scars from when a boyfriend of mine did things without thorough research. We do our best to prevent that. People are going to do things anyways. We educate!
4) It can be challenging sometimes for clubs/associations to thrive when the foundemajor booster departs. Is this an issue for your club? 1) Within rules means we have to adhere to school rules such as no 'assault' or anything that can be classified as assault such as hitting, flogging, setting people on fire (WE TRIED TO GET PAST THIS ONE.) For impact we have a karate impact dummy. 4) We have enough people involved and we constantly attract freshmen who stay... so not an issue. Our club has been around a while!
You have so far mentioned a boyfriend and a girlfriend. What gender are you? Edit: Sorry, I have just read your username and have decided that you are probably female. I am a female, correct.
I heard that book is poorly written and doesn't even have real bondage sex in it. I just heard it had spanking in it and thought "i thought that was part of normal sex." It's not a good book and NOT a good example of healthy BDSM... but it makes BDSM more mainstream and attracts interested people.
What are the rules for "healthy" BDSM? 1) Do research. Never just dive in. Know how to tie without cutting off circulation, where to not hit with toys and what kind of wax you use: gotta be low-melting point for wax play.
2) Safety. Always have a back-up play for emergencies. Carry a first-aid kit, have safety sheers for rope, know your partner's limits. If you need to take your partner to the hospital, tell them what happened. Trust me, they've seen worse.
ALWAYS CLEAN YOUR TOYS BEFORE AND AFTER PLAY.
3) Communication is key! Nobody's REALLY psychic. it's important to try and earn as much about your partner's needs, desires, turn-ons, turn-offs, and VERY IMPORTANT: health problems. Do they have a pacemaker that you shouldn't have electricity near? Are they a hemophiliac? Do they have an STI?. Talk over how to prevent bad situations and enhance pleasure!
4) Ask for a YES! And don't be afraid to say no. Just because a person consented to a flogging does not mean they consented to sex. Always ask before proceeding to a new step. Little questions like "does this feel good?" "should I keep doing this?" may sound silly now but can help you greatly enhance your sexual experience.
5) Look out for each other. A sub isn't the only one who can freak out and pull out. A Dom can also have a flashback, or not be able to proceed. Always check in with who you're playing with to make sure you don't get carried away and cause moe damage than you intended.
I hope these help, if you have more questions or want clarification, don't hesitate to ask!
Thanks for this! I always wondered; not into BDSM myself but have a few friends that are and I respect it. Thank you for being so respectful! :)
Are many people in the club because they're looking for a partner, or just to learn, or maybe a little of both? I think various people come for various people, but mostly to learn and for a community of like-minded people.
What would biggest challenges be for the club? (Things like backlash from the school or student body) As for the worst, we had a problem with a demo a while back where a paddle was demonstrated on a consenting girl's arm and some school lawyer freaked out and tried to try the person for assault. This is why we are extra careful now.
Do you have any sort of waivers you have people sign now or do you just use the karate dummy for all impact demos? We just use the karate dummy :) People meet up to do what they want outside of club, off school property with no school affiliation.
How clear is the line between Kink club and orgy? Well it's really just a discussion type meeting. Since we are a university club, nothing like that ever happens. We meet on school grounds after all.
I guess my real question is do you guys every get carried away and just sort of fall into each other during your meetings? Or do you have like moderators to keep that from happening? A lot of people are extra friendly outside of club though :P.
Thank you the curiosity was dominating me. Well I wouldn't want to be a sadist and keep you torturing yourself with the thought.
2) I noticed you mentioned that 50 shades was a horrible book and that you thought it would bring BDSM more mainstream. I couldn't agree more that it is a terrible book (for me, mainly because the writing is horrible), but it sounds like you think it's a positive thing that the book brings BDSM more mainstream. Do you think the image that 50 Shades portrays is the light that should be shone on the BDSM culture? 2) No, not really, but I hope people realize it's a fantasy, albeit an unhealthy one. What I hope is that they get the curiosity to explore and research. :)
Has anyone ever done anything really over the line? Have you ever had to ban anyone from the club? We had one woman once who we were close to asking to never return because she took pictures of people with their permission, but people asked that these images not be put up online. She posted then on her personal page but after many requests took them down.
What's the ratio of men to women? I think we may have more women. The men trend to be older.
I envy you by the way, I can't find any kink club/munches near where I live, and I live in a pretty huge city.... And it's amazing to have this group! I myself have learned so much!
Are all of these older men students? Or do old guys just show up to get kinky with college girls? No most people are students or part of the local kink community. We are all familiar with each other.
My eyebrows raised a significant amount at the phrase "We are all familiar with each other" I apologize, my english isn't always the best. It is after all my second language.
Edit* spelling.
Do you need to check with the college before allowing outsiders into college clubs? Some colleges require that. Nope, since the funds don't directly go to sponsor anything the outsiders do. It's only a discussion club as well with some learning demonstrations that are all completely PG.
Sorry! It wasn't a spelling thing, I just found it amusing - though while we're at it, my question for the AMA is what's the backstory behind the reddit name? Why did you choose to spell it like Koi rather than coy ? Simply a fish that I like a lot :)
Do you have an extremely open campus? My college has a similar club, but because of the nature of our college, any campus visitors must be registered. We have not had problems really, and our club is open to everybody. Then again we don't advertise much. Once in a while we get a few jocks who come in and want to giggle, but at the beginning I kind of go "Welcome to ____, if you are in the wrong room, feel free to stay as we keep an open, welcoming environment." This usually shuts them up and I've had on occasion some return to want to be full members.
It's mostly power doms that are power hungry who end up bugging people. The club leader is some guy who doesn't even go here, and no surprise, the women all go here and are much younger. UGH. That can be frustrating. I think it's always important tot enforce that one has the power to say no. I always emphasize at my group that people shouldn't assume anything about their members or force them to talk about what they are uncomfortable with. Having a club leader that does not understand that the safety of the students comes first can be problematic, as if something happens to the students, they can receive a lot of judgment from school, faculty and parents.
I've had to complain to the dean about the fact that the off-campus visitors for the similar club at my campus were attempting to interact with my study group, which made us all feel really sketchy. We generally just shut our door and it solves most of the problems.
A lot of students are extremely uncomfortable with the notion of non-students being on campus, and even more uncomfortable with the notion of them being on campus for a club of a sexual nature due to stereotypes about BDSM (which of course aren't always true). This applies to all clubs. That's why we always make it clear that BDSM can be completely non-sexual, I used to met a man who would just tie me up for a few hours, NBD.
Most people hate the kink club on campus for being assholes and breaking rules, not because of kink, but whenever anyone criticizes them, they basically say that we're "oppressing their sexuality". This one frustrates me. Your club is the same as any other club, where people of similar interests gather to discuss them.
My school has strict rules for what goes on and a lot of people from off-campus don't follow the rules. That one is problematic. I have to say that needs to be discussed, and you need to explain that if this continues that you will not be able to meet on campus. If they protest, recommend them moving their munch to a separate place. Your group may be divided but you feeling safe and your club staying 'under the radar' so to speak is probably worth it.
Thanks a lot for your comments!
So I share a house with a couple of guys one of whom took a psychology of sex course at university and attended a presentation put on by members of our local kink community. Rather than coming away with a broadened perspective the spectrum of human sexuality, he seems to have gotten the impression that BDSMers are pretty much freaks. So I wonder when you have attendees that are doing their paper, when you interact with vanilla people in your capacity as president of your colleges kink club, how do you foster understanding? Do you do anything to highlight the normalcy of what it is that we do? I think it's always important to mention that consent is of the highest priority. Nothing is ever done without consent. And each person likes their own individual things, some just like certain sensations while some people like certain roleplays. If you simplify it down to 'vanilla' kink, it's easier to understand 'other' (?) kink.
Is it a sausage factory (besides you, that is)? No we actually have a pretty equal mix! Probably a few more girls because they're less embarrassed by sexuality I'm guessing :D.
Where was this when i was in college??? Oh the times, they are a changin'!
Do you get funding from the university? Yes, we do, mostly for things like flyers but we do get funding for some minor things like books. We were able to buy an impact dummy thanks to the university.
Do you do demonstrations during the meetings? Yes, but safely and on the dummy and if on people only non-violent things such as ties and only with consent.
How much anal? Haha, I love how people think that kinky means anal. I guess some people are int it, some people aren't!
Are you? Nope.
you said you was kinky. Haha I guess that depends on what you label as kinky!
How about just the tip? Really.
Any kinky professors ever show up? There was a professor I met at a local kink group who said he'd love to come but is worried about tenure, so he doesn't :)
A business card for this??! Who would you give that to? Generally people who would potentially be presenters or want to do interviews.
Do you hold munches often? if you are ever around the louisville group is amazing! Haven't been around to Louisville, I'll keep that in mind!
The university group holds meetings weekly and we all go out to a diner afterwards usually. Some people from the local king group I go to (which have monthly munches) come to our meetings! :D.
It is a shame the mix, the local, erm, well you can guess, was raided by police one night, and told everyone they had ten minutes to vacate the premise due to some fire marshall BS or something. Yeah that's bollocks. Our local group is friends with the guy who owns the venue and he closes it for our munches and play parties!
I'm a member of a few kink/BDSMclubs in my own country and loving every bit of it. You meet people from all places in society, people are generally awesome and extremly interesting. I got one question though, do you think some people have given up the dating scene, and learn to like BDSM/kinkstuff to have some sort of "last resort" getting a GF/BF? Some people, absolutely. But Most people in the BDSK/Kink community can spot them easily. They look uncomfortable, they don't identify as much, they're staring people up and down... That being said some try it out and find something they love. And that's fantastic. :)
"Safewords are for pussies. I refuse to use them." I choked on my food when I read that. Isn't that criminal negligence or something? Any "reasonable person" should not be thinking that's a good idea. Pretty much if you ignore a safeword, you ignore consent being revoked and that's assault/rape.
So are the meetings like a giant orgy or what? Do you have face control or can anyone join? How many members are ugly/fat? The meetings are purely discussion and demonstration of the PG sort.
What's your kink? Watching trains go into tunnels and not being aroused.
What is munches? It's generally shorthand for a group of kinksters to get together over food and chat about kinky things!
Are you perhaps looking for a photographer? I'd be willing to give a discount... Send me a message I can post it in our group!
Woah, Woah! We have BDSM CONFERENCES?! Aw, man, what the hell. I really need to get into the scene around me... They cost as much as science conferences though... But DAYUMN they are WORTH IT.
God i bet! That's awesome! I MUST attend one at some point. I cannot let that pass me by. How do you discover them....local kink community, or the local community in general? Google a city and BDSM kink Munch :) And fetlife is great as well!
I've heard such great things about fetlife. I must check it out. You most certainly should!
At what point would you say something had developed from harmless fun into harmful behavior? If the Pros and Cons have not been weighed carefully in advance, if there is the possibility of permanent damage to yourself or to others, if one is pressuring another individual into participating something they are uncomfortable with, and once consent is gone, once something is irreversible, that is a problem.
Where are you from?... I always found with girls it is very much area specific. Grew up in Chicago. What college? Not disclosing! :P.
I have nothing against religion, I just like don't like the effect of Catholicism on sexual expression. For some it certainly has that effect.
Are you on fetlife.com? Yes, I am!
<3 fetlife, android app is wonderful for discreet browsing! Yes but moooneeeey :P I do love FL very much.
Why is it that more women are interested in sex as a lifestyle and area of study( e.g. there are more women than men in fetlife, there are more female sexoligists than male,etc)? I don't know really, might be that women are more comfortable discussing various societal roles.
Do you have any part of the club about farts? I'm a guy that loves to enjoy the sweet sweet farts of a woman! I don't believe that is a topic that has been discussed, no.
How do I join? Haha. Show up :P Where you at?
Charlotte NC, you anywhere close? I'm afraid not :) Check out places on fetlife!
*Edit: content.
Boooooo. Sorry :(
Even though I don't attend Harvard, can I still join? This isn't a Harvard club but the club is open to everybody in the general area and community. Do some research to find out if there is a club near you!
You would think wouldn't you? Nope. I've heard it too many times to count from these idiots. Thankfully I don't hear it anymore since I'm not active in the community anymore. I guess it also depends on what groups you are a part of. Some groups are really good about kicking these kinds of people out.
That's the first rule... The second is be Safe, Sane and Consensual!
I wish I had this when I was in college! I was amazed that this club was available and throughly thrilled when I discovered the club :) It's very nice to have a place to be accepted and have a community that supports and doesn't judge what you are into. Also I feel it's good to mention that there are area-based kink groups that often will meet once a month or so who do similar things. Just search the nearest city/town next to you + BDSM group. A good place to look is www.fetlife.com ! Edit: added info.
Slinks away due to downvotes.
Thanks for the site! Looking forward to meeting a few new people, though I doubt I'd find any decent women looking for someone like me... It's a great resource. Definitely look at the groups, they are a great resource. There's a lot of knowledgable people on there who are willing to answer a lot of questions!
Do you have a website. Due to privacy I prefer not to post it on the thread if you will respect my privacy I will message it to you. That goes for everybody here.
Damn, wish my university had something like this. Far too often, things like this have this mentality attached to them of "let's ignore what makes us uncomfortable". It's nice to be able to discuss in a safe space!
There would probably some demand for it here as the student population is massive, but starting it up would most likely be difficult. Send me a message, I'll reply to it after this thread dies down a bit! :)
I posted in the main body of the thread about starting up a group. Hope it helps.
Have you had anyone in interested in long term slavery, castration play, or anything that could actually be dangerous to either their health or mental well being. If so how did/would you handle the situation. That's not something anybody has ever brought up in club.
If they are interested in something that is dangerous to their well being, I would try to talk to them first, if I am unsuccessful in persuading them to stop I would refer them to student services or get a councilor to help. Safety and well being is a priority to us.
I'm a bit of a deviant myself so I know how after a while the mentality regarding certain things seems to drift. For instance I may not be interested foot fetishism but I can respect it as well as anything else. That said is there anything you just really don't understand as a fetish. Adults wearing diapers for infantilism. I just don't get it. Unless it's for humiliation :P.
within the rules of the university. It is merely an educational place. It's a resource for people interested in BDSM/Kink and we think that if people are going to try things out we may as well provide a safe space for discussion and education. No actual impact play or anything that can be seen as assault or hazing is ever done. Demonstrations are entirely on impact dummies and consenting adults (for things such as rope ties). And to be fair, we have 50+ christian related clubs, 1+ sex-positive club (that discusses that sex is healthy and normal when practiced properly), 1 atheist club and many many many other clubs. We don't necessarily advocate sex. BDSM/Kink can be completely separate and we often do meetings and presentations on safe sex and have done a meeting on distinguishing BDSM from abuse and how to prevent abuse. EDIT: expanded explanation.
As a father I would love to know which schools allow something like this to happen on campus or enrollment via the school.
Just want to make sure my daughter never stumbles across something like this. Could care less if one of my boys found it.... I think college is where people discover themselves. Honestly, nothing wrong with getting som education before you try things out. It's not like we really advocate anything that isn't shown in the media, we just make it safe, sane, consensual.
Last updated: 2012-07-16 21:32 UTC
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