Grab your phone and overnight bag Claire screamed into her daughters room, as she frantically starting packing her toddler son’s things. It was nearing midnight and they had been sound asleep, but Claire needed to get herself and the kids out of the house quickly.
Claire had found something of her husbands that truly shook her to the core. Well, found isn’t exactly the right word. Claire had known about Steve’s journal for a long time. Olive green, the canvas cover raw at the edges and the odd lock that kept Steve’s ramblings private.
When Steve and Claire first met, the journal had added to Steve’s charm. A hipster-like throwback style that meshed well with his thick rimmed black glasses and affinity for jazz music. She found it quite endearing, even though he kept an unusually close eye on it and it seemed to always be with him.
Claire had inquired many times about the contents of the journal, but was always given a vague answer such as “just random thoughts, nothing important” and then the subject was always quickly changed. If she tried to swerve the conversation back to the journal she usually received a curt dismissal along with Steve leaving the room in a huff, thereby ruining the day or night. So she had quickly learned to avoid the topic.
Mysterious journal aside, Steve and Claire got along quite well and settled down into a nice dating routine. They both enjoyed quiet nights at home cooking, walking around the lake, and old classic movies. Eventually they moved in together and the transition was pretty smooth.
Claire found living with Steve to be pretty easy, but Steve had some frustrations about Claire’s disorganization. Steve was very neat, everything was organized and in it’s right place. He remembered everything – anniversaries, first time they said I love you, favorite restaurants, etc. Claire use to tease that if you looked up Type A in the dictionary, you would see Steve’s face perfectly aligned next to the word. Sometimes she would complain to her friends about Steve’s rigid neatness, but they showed no sympathy. “You are complaining about your husband cleaning too much,” they would say with disbelief.
Despite Claire’s books not always being put away and sometimes putting the toilet paper on “over” instead of “under” (apparently under looks tidier), Steve did propose. It was a beautiful proposal – lakeside, hidden photographer, star-gazing canoe ride after with champagne – everything planned perfectly.
They were about 3 weeks out from their wedding date when Claire and Steve hosted Steve’s parents for dinner. Everyone was having fun laughing, eating and drinking. Steve’s parents were strict, but they also knew how to let loose when appropriate. They were proud of the life their son had made for himself. He had a good job as an accountant, we had a nice home, he was getting married and we had made plans for kids in the future. These were the steps for a successful life his father often proclaimed.
Claire admits that she probably should have switched to beer after her first martini, but when spirits are high that energy sometimes impairs her judgement. She was feeling high and loose and maybe a little mischievous when that damn ratty journal caught her eye. The third wheel she sometimes called it — as it was always around, pulling some of the attention.
Steve was engrossed in a conversation with his parents, when Claire sauntered over to the journal and started to crack it open. She was opening it to the middle and could see neatly written dates when suddenly the cover slammed down on her hand with force.
She looked up at Steve who had a fiery scorn in his eyes like she had never seen. “We talked about this” he said through gritted teeth “my journal is private.” “I know” Claire winced, “but I figured since we are getting married, we will be sharing everything.” “Not know, not ever” he growled, the fiery look in his eyes became even more intense.
The next day is when Claire noticed the odd looking lock had been adhered to the journal. “Well, damn”, she thought, “I guess that’s for the best, If I can’t be access it then maybe I won’t ruminate on it.” Life moved on and they were happy. Marriage followed by a daughter and a son. All that was missing was the white picket fence.
Steve had received a promotion and it required a little more travel to visit clients. Claire didn’t mind, it was actually a little more fun when Steve wasn’t around. Everything seemed so sterile and routine with him there, like they were following a charted path. Sometimes Claire longed for spontaneity and would binge on shows that showed women leading wild or quirky lives.
On his last business trip, the last one where he would be a happily married man, Steve FORGOT his precious journal. This was huge for Steve and he almost flew back home the moment he realized it. He was only a 90 minute flight away, but he had a very important meeting in the morning. He was torn and the worry was consuming him. The only reassurance he had is that Claire didn’t know that he had left the journal and he had installed a lock on it. He needed to attend this meeting because if he secured this client for his accounting firm, he was guaranteed another promotion… and a promotion was in the plans.
Claire was at home tucking the kids in, oblivious to the anxiety that was causing her husband to lay awake in a hotel room, rigid with fear and anticipation. There is no way she could get the lock off he kept reminding himself. It will be fine, he repeated to himself incessantly.
Claire curled up on the couch with a hard seltzer and turned on Desperate Housewives. “Basic b*tch” she always thought when she observed her surroundings. “Routines aren’t so bad though “, she thought as we started in on her “husband away” routine. Which always started with hard seltzer and a show and ended with a usually unfruitful search for a forgotten journal.
But not this time…
There is was. There it is. Claire couldn’t believe it. He forgot it. Does he know he forgot it. Claire ran her fingers over the cover.
The lock had a keypad on it and held the pages tightly shut. Knowing Steve, the code would not be random. Claire leaned back in the bedroom recliner and closed her eyes – think, think, think – what would a systematic man like Steve make as his passcode? Claire decided on their wedding anniversary – month, day, year. The lock buzzed – incorrect. This is silly Claire thought, I should give Steve his privacy. Claire lay down and tried to forget about the journal.
Meanwhile Steve has broken into a cold sweat. The lock he installed on the journal after Claire had brazenly attempted to read his inner thoughts was a smart lock. His phone had buzzed to alert him of a failed attempt to open it. He thought of ringing Claire, but then she would know it’s a smart lock and be all the more intrigued and their was no way to guaranteed she wouldn’t make another attempt. He started looking at the soonest flights home.
Claire had been laying down for ten minutes trying in vain to sleep when it came to her. Steve took birthdays very seriously, always a big celebration, maybe the code was the birth month of her, their son, and their daughter. Worth a try she thought, if not, I will take a melatonin and fall asleep. 04-07-11 she typed in, click, the lock slid open….
Claire was filled with all kinds of emotions – anticipation, fear, excitement. She opened the first page, Steve’s full name, vitals at birth, and then in bold: MY LIFE, ACCORDING TO ME.
Ok, Claire thought, just a regular journal. Steve’s thoughts and life memories as he remembers them.
Claire started flipping through the pages, plans for his job (came true), dreams on where his first apartment would be (came true), dates on when he hoped to be promoted – very through, very precise, very boring.
Claire kept flipping until she saw her name along with facts. Height, weight, political associations, high school she attended, sports played, family tree. Kind of weird she thought and then she noticed the date — These were posted 3 weeks before they even met. They were set up by a friend. He did a thorough background check on her and knew tons about her before they even went on the first date. She was creeped out.
Everything from that page forward were notes of how their life would play out according to Steve’s ultimate plan. Most of the notes were written weeks or years before the life event happened and most happened exactly how he wanted them too. Daughter was named what Steve had picked out for her 3 years before she was born — he insisted on that name and said it was his great grandmothers and very important.
Claire had thought she had choices, that life was coming at her spontaneously. She was finding out that it was all meticulously planned.
So far nothing criminal though, so besides feeling violated and somehow that her life was a sham, Claire could not go to the police. But when she got to the page with her kids’ careers picked out, she knew she had to end her marriage. She wanted them to have choices.
She was up to the current date in readings and quickly flipped the pages to make sure she didn’t miss anything. That’s when she say the sloppier handwriting towards the back of the notebook. The neatness of Steve’s writing seemed to really derail and it looked like he was pressing hard with a pen.
What If statements lined the page.
What if Claire divorces you…
What if Claire cheats on you..
What if Claire opens your journal and reads it…
Both divorce and cheating ended in Claire being slowly poisoned in a very thought out way. Steve didn’t mind the title of widower. He noted that it wasn’t in the ultimate “plans”, but the sympathy he received from others might not be so bad.
After what if Claire finds the journal, it was noted that he would be alerted due to the smart lock (sh*t Claire thought – so like Steve to note that too, everything noted) and would end in a house fire that Claire sadly doesn’t make it out of. Claire panicked, it had been 2 hours since she first opened the journal. Steve could easily be on a flight home. That’s when she started throwing things into a bag and told her children to do the same.
Claire and her kids made it out of the house and into hiding. She alerted the police, but since no crime had been committed, the police did not go out to the house until after Steve had arrived home. Claire’s big mistake? Leaving the journal in their bedroom as she raced frantically to get out of the house and somewhere safe.
No physical crime committed, and his word against hers puts Claire in a very tricky spot. She is currently in hiding and there is a warrant for her arrest since she has technically “kidnapped her children”.
Claire often wonders if she should have looked at the journal at all. She wasn’t super happy with her life, but she was blissfully unaware of the strings that were pulling it. Now she constantly thinks about how every move she made in the past was not done with free-will, but with carefully orchestrated manipulation.
What do you think? Would you have read Steve’s journal? Would you care if your life was orchestrated this way (Claire notes that her life was mundane, but not really bad). Would you have ran?
Claire will remind in hiding with her children for now – she has created her own form of witness protection and is currently safe. This story was written from Claire’s perspective. She agreed to a private phone call. All bits about what Steve was doing when not with Claire have been pieced together the best she could. Claire shared this story to bring awareness to the manipulation that can happen in relationships.
*Names and locations have been changed to protect the family
Father Decides to Set Up Cameras After His Daughter Wakes Up With Strange Marks
What happened inside the house of an Ohio couple couldn’t have been predicted. Troublesome commotions could be heard in the wee hours while everyone slept. No one thought much of it until something strange occurred.
Darren’s suspicions were initially directed at his fiancé, who suspected of playing a practical joke on him. They staged a camera to sort things out after she denied it ultimately. The unsettling footage, on the other hand, would rock their world.
Father Takes Action After Daughter was Expelled for Appearance
Enough Is Enough
This father’s jaws fell open as he listened to the scathing remarks from his daughter’s school administrator, stating the reason for his daughter being booted from a prom event. He was at boiling point and had enough.
He thought enough was enough after only a few seconds and was ready to address the situation head-on.
40 Unforgivable Movie Bloopers
With that goes with making a movie, especially one for the big cinema screen, it’s not surprising when mistakes occur or edits are need. That’s what the editing room is for to go through the draft film and tighten up all the problems or loose spots in the film as well as to get it within the acceptable viewing time allowed. However, once in a while even the best of movies, including Oscar-winning films, have bloopers in them that just can’t be forgiven. They are such clear violations of quality film-making, people wonder how the blooper got through to the public viewing, and yet it does anyways. Here are 25 examples of film bloopers that never should have been allowed or the detail missed, but in the fictional world of movies they occur regardless.
Homeless Man Who Helped a Woman Turned Out to be a Hoax
The story of the homeless man who helped out a woman needing gas for her car by donating his few dollars went viral on the Internet and had hundreds of people wanting to reach out and help. They did so through a GoFundMe site that ended up generating a sizable amount of charity and gifts. For those who gave money, it made them feel better instantly. There was only one problem. The story was made up. The man was not homeless, and the woman had never run out of gas.
Instead, the two were involved in an online scam that ended up defrauding folks out of approximately $400,000 in online money gifts. It was not only enough to trigger a serious crime, the pair got themselves charged with a federal conspiracy case and ultimately pled guilty in a New Jersey federal court. Johnny Bobbitt and Katelyn McClure both separately admitted their crime of wire fraud. Given their involvement and degree of actions, Bobbitt is looking at a potential 10 years in federal prison and $250,000 in fines. McClure for her part faces a bigger sentence of 20 years and a similar financial penalty. Both will find out for sure when they are sentenced. In addition to the federal charges, the pair also have a second round of trials to go through with state charges as well. It was a blunt, cold ending to a story and scam that started in 2017 and took off like wildfire, far better than Hobbitt and McClure thought it would.
The story was plausible and reasonable enough. A couple told their story online about how they wanted to help a homeless man who helped them. McClure and her partner posted that Bobbitt realized McClure was in trouble, stuck in Philadelphia without gas. She needed to get home, and Bobbitt, who was nearby, realized the problem. He then gave her his only $20 to buy gas so she could travel again. To show their gratitude, McClure and her boyfriend were trying to raise $10,000 to help Bobbitt out as a thank you. The story took off.
Unfortunately, the media got involved. Loving a story out of the norm with a good newsworthy ending, they showcased the story on TV, and it got big attention. All of a sudden, what was supposed to be a little scam turned into a big one, raising some $402,706 with the added attention in a short three weeks. While Bobbitt did get $25,000 set aside by McClure and her partner, the rest of it was burned like kerosene on fire via clothing, trips, a car, vacations, gambling and more. However, Bobbitt didn’t appreciate the small share, and sued the pair for more, arguing he should have gotten $75,000 at least. GoFundMe got involved by trying to avoid bad press and making sure Bobbitt, the alleged homeless person, got his fair shake.
All of the financial attention caught the eye of the Feds who started investigating McClure. They seized well over 60,000 digital messages between the couple, which included admissions that the whole story was made up – a smoking gun text in the fraud conspiracy. Interestingly, McClure’s partner, although he enjoyed the spending of the money with McClure, was not charged or seen as involved in the conspiracy. The Feds went after McClure and the alleged homeless partner, Bobbitt, for the fraud. And GoFundMe yet again found itself in the middle of a crazy criminal scheme gone public and bad, stealing money from people who wanted to help others online. It turned out to be an odd, miserable ending to what many had hoped would have been a story of human charity done right.
Drones, COVID-19, and Girl Scout Cookies: How One Virginia Troop Made It All Work
Nestled in the heart of Montgomery County is Christiansburg, VA. A small town with just over 20,000 within its city limits, Christiansburg was first founded in 1671. Hundreds of years later, the city continues to thrive despite the COVID-19 pandemic that has been wrecking so much of our day-to-day life.
One particular group of Christiansburg locals made it their goal to deliver Girl Scout Cookies no matter what during the pandemic and Google’s parental company, Alphabet Inc., decided to help them out.
Cookies From the Sky
During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed unlikely that there would ever be a time when the pandemic would end. As economies shuttered and businesses quarantined, people had to get creative to continue working their trade. A team of Girl Scouts in Virginia was determined to deliver their famous cookies this past year, but due to COVID restrictions, they knew that this would bed difficult.
Lia Reich is a global communications lead at Wing, a subsidiary of the company Alphabet Inc.. Wing develops drones for Google, and it was through their futuristic work that Thin Mints would rain down from the sky. Lia says of COVID restrictions impacting the Scouts, “Selling cookies outside (grocery stores or shops) is difficult this year.”
According to Lia, sales within the Girl Scouts have dropped more than 50%. Lia would go on to tell the team at USA TODAY during an interview, “It was a natural fit to partner with the Girl Scouts.”
Despite soaring vaccination rates and loosening COVID restrictions, the drone program would get launched through the Wing App and its corresponding website. According to Reich, the plan at Wing is to help deliver more than 3,000 total boxes of cookies via its drone delivery service, if not even more.
For the Girl Scouts, cookie season typically begins in January though flavor availability and onset will vary based upon the region. For the longest time, Girl Scouts have prioritized selling their goods in residential neighborhoods, outside of grocery stores, and even through company programs at local businesses.
Unfortunately for the Girl Scouts, the COVID-19 pandemic would put an end to convention. In March 2020, the Scouts would suspend all of their traditional cookie booths and door-to-door sales campaigns. To make up for this loss in action, the Girl Scouts of Virginia would prepare virtual cookie booths through their online social media campaigns to partner with their drone-delivery methods.
Considered one of the largest girl-led programs for entrepreneurs on the planet, the Girl Scout Cookie drive is immensely important for multiple reasons. Not just an important institution, the Girl Scouts are a defining one.
Take Flight With Wing
While the Girl Scouts of Virginia will enjoy drone flying assistance with their cookie deliveries, they won’t have to worry about running the controls themselves. As the first drone delivery company in the country to earn Air Operators Certification from the FAA in 2019, Wing has used the Scouts delivery service as a way to showcase just how far drone flights have come.
According to Reich, “COVID gave people who might not have a reason to try drone delivery, and we saw deliveries increase by more than 500% in 2020.”
Reich’s assertion was backed by a local survey released by Virginia Tech. The survey found that Christiansburg locals enjoyed the idea of a residential drone delivery company with support coming in at 87% in favor of the idea.
Are you ready to start ordering your Girl Scout Cookies through drone delivery services? How about your next grocery order? As it turns out, the sky might be the limit!
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