The Chicago Journal

Meet Steven Nickodemski: The Stephen King of Psychological Thrillers

It is no secret that technology has made our lives all the more accessible; with everything available on demand, people have less reason to let their minds be bored. But why do we need to be bored, you ask? Because boredom is the starting point for the mind to explore the world of imagination.

Although it’s treated as an artificial construct, imagination has been the driving force behind some of the world’s greatest inventions. From the first-ever call made to the foundation of tech giants like Microsoft and Apple, imagination has helped humans distinguish themselves from animals. With all these ideas swirling in the ether, one wonders what would happen if we melded creativity and imagination in a pot. What would we get? The answer lies in the minds of writers.

Writers are adept at conjuring up worlds they’ve never seen, people they’ve never met, and conversations they’ve never had, all on a whim. This mastery over their minds allows them to weave intricate stories together from thin air. So curiosity got the better of us as we decided to get to the bottom of this conundrum by sitting down with one of the greatest writers of this generation.

Steven Nickodemski, the author of The Marginalized Passenger, expressed his thoughts on how aspiring writers could hone their imagination to perfection – or at least to a level where the difference remains negligible.

“It’s all in the mind, to be honest, but if you can carry out a conversation with yourself, then you’re already well on the path.”

We asked Steven why and when he decided to become an author, to which he replied, “I have a background in the Navy; I enlisted when I was 17, and even before then, I came from – what you would call – a broken home. My parents were divorced, my mother was suicidal, and my father was an alcoholic. All of these events, I believe, are what made me want to tell my own story.” Steven also explained how his passion and love for writing helped him leave his dark past behind, providing him with an outlet for all his emotions.

As the conversation took a light-hearted turn, Steven shared how he personally managed to keep his imagination fresh and vivid – something that he encourages aspiring writers to practice because he believes that “imagination is the soul of any story.”

Draw from your experiences in life. Steven elaborated on how most of the plots and characters in his works are inspired by real-life people. ”Of course, they are exaggerated and molded into what I need them to be; however, there is part of me in every book I write.”

Open your mind. “There is nothing worse than a writer being close-minded. Try anything, however ludicrous it may seem. I write these things down, because if I don’t try it, I’ll never know.” Steven told us.

Don’t do what everyone else is doing. “To be creative, you must stray from the mainstream. Cut your own path and be different,” Steven suggested. He further expounded on his point by saying, “Most writers usually paint their characters in just one shade. If you’re good, you’re good. And if you’re bad, well, you’re bad. You don’t want to do that. Look at some of the greatest characters ever created, you can pick any one of Stephen King’s books, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.”

There is nothing wrong with daydreaming. “Sit, be quiet and observe your surroundings: people, animals, and just the world in general. Absorb whatever you can; make mental notes, write them down, dictate them into your phone, whatever works for you,” Steven encouraged.

Listen to your surroundings. “I listen to white noise whenever I need to relax and tune out—too much noise in this world. Tune out and let your imagination run wild,” Steven said.

On a parting note, Steven Nickodemski emphasized how every writer needs their own color and flair and said, “There is no universal method. Every brain works differently, so what works for me may not work for you, but the most important point is to find that uniqueness within you and to hone it to perfection.” 

Shravan Bansal: A prodigious entrepreneur finding ideas to make OECD countries’ economies flourish

Globalisation has significantly impacted several parts of the economy. As for the term, globalisation refers to the rapidly increasing interdependence of the economies, cultures, and populations throughout the world. There are multiple essential resources that play a vital role in bringing a hike in the economy globally. However, as far as OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries are concerned, metal recycling is one of the top-ranked industries in terms of an increase in employment, investment, and turnover. Though it might seem unrealistic, the recycling industries employ more than 1.5 million people with an approximate turnover of $160 billion, whereas the physical input is greater than 500 million tonnes.  

There are a few remarkable entrepreneurs who noticed the economic gap and found a way to fill it by establishing new metal recycling firms in the industry. However, only a few kept on moving forward with the vision to make a significant impact. Shravan Bansal, a 24-year-old businessperson, is one of the visionaries who continued with the journey of making the OECD countries flourish economically. This young entrepreneur aims to stabilise the economy of OECD countries with the least focused industry – metal recycling. Shravan believes in learning in his own way through setbacks and experiences. He is of the view that practical knowledge is the key to success, and no degree can provide that.

According to EU Comext data, 74.44 percent of the ferrous metal waste goes to OECD countries and 25.56 percent to non-OECD countries. These stats clearly show that OECD countries tend to receive more metal waste compared to other countries. This motivated Shravan Bansal to establish a metal division named AD’s Leading Metals under his company, AD Leading Limited. This separate division deals with the scrap recycling industry as a completely different vertical. On how it all started, he shared that his professional journey began when he was just 18 years old. However, it didn’t take long for this dynamic personality to establish his first company. Currently, he is a shareholder and first director of three businesses; two are based in India, while one is UK-based with a £300m value in a pre-revenue stage.

Shravan Bansal’s OECD economic success lies in the fact that he wanted to solve the problem in developed economies. “As an industrialist who surfaced from the ground, I believe metal is the spine of any operation, existence and growth. These OECD countries do not manufacture metals. In fact, these import-based economies are driven to recession and supply chain havoc due to no manufacturing,” he shares the thought behind it all. Shravan is hopeful that his business will promote secondary industries in OECD countries. By enabling metal manufacturers and recyclers to trade without risk, Shravan plans to make these economies thrive.

It is no secret that non-ferrous metals like copper, aluminium, lead, tin, nickel, and zinc play a vital role in OECD countries to improve their economy and help flourish. These metals acquire chemical properties which can undergo repeated reprocessing and recycling, making them essential in preserving sustainability in resource conservation. These metals are desirable for many industries because of their low weight, high conductivity, non-magnetic properties, and resistance to corrosion. Non-ferrous metals are actively used in the automotive, construction as well as iron and steel industries. 

OECD countries have a great development rate, but despite the growth, they have an unreasonable inflation rate mainly due to the active import of metal. If these countries increase their in-house metal recycling, they can significantly improve the economic condition. Apart from that, high production will decrease the inflation rate. Hence, bringing in more companies into the recycling arena will boost its overall economic growth.

When it comes to saving the economy, conserving energy tops the list. That is because saving energy directly adds to the conservation of monetary resources and is an imperative aspect of sustainable development. This is not all! The fact is that recycling saves approximately 5,774 kilowatt hours of electricity, 16.3 barrels of oil, 98 million British thermal units of energy, and thirty cubic yards of space in landfills, thus resulting in massive growth in the economy.

From stabilising the economy of OECD countries to booming the least highlighted industry, Shravan Bansal is a prodigious businessman who covers all the corners. His vision is to bring buyers and sellers of non-ferrous metal from all over the world on one platform and work strategically to achieve sustainability. Moreover, Shravan encourages others to step into metal recycling to deliver maximum output while saving the environment at the same time.

Importance Of Taking Precautions To Prevent Loss Of Life And Property From Extreme Weather And Floods In Chicago

Source: The Washington Post

One of the most notable characteristics of Chicago is its often severe weather, which has been the cause of a number of fatal events in the city, including aircraft crashes and fires. The people who live in Chicago are used to hearing about natural disasters such as storms and floods, and it is because of these catastrophes that the number of fires that have broken out in the city has greatly grown over the last few years. It’s possible that the increase in the number of people driving electric vehicles, which are more likely to catch fire in wet conditions, is the primary cause of this. In situations like these, it is very necessary to adopt precautions that will avoid individuals from being put in danger.

When a natural catastrophe strikes, cities that are known to experience frequent occurrences of natural disasters should have a specific strategy in place to keep the city’s order intact. In the event of an emergency, such as flooding or severe weather conditions that have the potential to endanger human life, appropriate post-disaster safety measures will be implemented, and the necessary departments will be notified. In situations like these, fire is often the factor that results in the most amount of damage; hence, there must always be a fire watch guard service available to respond to your distress calls and save the day. Employing Fire Watch Guard Service is one approach that may be used to accomplish this goal. The following are some of the advantages offered by Fast Fire Watch Co. service.

If a fire breaks out at your place of business, you run the risk of losing your assets, which will in turn result in financial losses. In addition, there is a risk that your employees may suffer burns or perhaps lose their lives. It is possible that the victims of the fire would sue your firm in an attempt to get reimbursement, which would result in further financial losses. As a result, you should take every precaution to prevent fires from breaking out at your place of work. 

When it comes to the operation of a company, there are a number of organizations, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), that have established regulations to advise businesses on the subject of fire safety. In order to get an operating permit, you are required to comply with certain requirements. Thankfully, Fast Fire Watch Co. team is familiar with the regulations and can assist you in achieving compliance promptly.

Furthermore, fire watch guards who work the fire watches teach employees how to spot fires, what to do if one breaks out, and how to operate the fire trucks and other equipment. The experts may conduct impromptu fire drills from time to time to evaluate the preparedness of your staff. If they find problems, they will retrain your staff until they get it right. That way, in the event of a fire, your staff will be able to respond quickly and get to safety using the approved evacuation procedures.

When Fast Fire Watch Co. becomes aware of a fire, they are prepared to take appropriate action. The experts, for instance, know who to call in case of an emergency and can therefore respond swiftly to fires. In addition, the fire watch guards can assist in the expeditious and risk-free evacuation of your employees from the business building. Maintaining a safe workplace for your employees can save you money in the long run, as medical bills and lost productivity due to accidents may add up quickly.

The services of Fast Fire Watch Co. may assist you with meeting the legal requirements for fire safety, protecting your company from the risk of fire, providing fire safety training, and making fire safety equipment and signs accessible. 


Leon Black faces lawsuit for sexual assault

Leon Black, Wall Street tycoon and billionaire, is being sued by a woman who accused him of sexual assault two decades ago.

According to the woman, Black raped her in the spring of 2002 at Jeffrey Epstein’s mansion in Manhattan.

The allegations

Plaintiff Cheri Pierson named Black and the estate of the late Jeffrey Epstein as defendants in the lawsuit filed in New York court on Monday.

According to Pierson, Epstein arranged the meeting for her to massage Black on the third floor of his mansion.

She accepted the meeting in exchange for money to take care of her little girl.

Instead, Black raped her in a “brutal attack” and left her “swollen, torn and bleeding.”

The complaint filed by Wigdor LLP, a law firm, states:

“By the time Ms. Pierson exited the massage suite and rode down the elevator with Black, she could barely walk out of the house onto the sidewalk, as she was in excruciating pain and still in shock.”

On Monday, Leon Black denied the allegations.

Read also: Elon Musk wary of Twitter removal from Apple

The perpetrator

Susan Estrich of Estrich Goldin, Leon Black’s attorney, released a statement.

She responded, saying Pierson’s allegations were “categorically false and part of a scheme to extort money from Mr. Black by threatening to destroy his reputation.”

According to Forbes, Black’s net worth is $9 billion.

Leon Black stepped down as CEO of Apollo in January 2021.

His resignation followed an independent review of his connection to convicted sex offender Epstein.

Black said in a letter to investors a year earlier that he regretted his dealings with Epstein.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that the former Wall Street mogul may have paid more than $75 million to Epstein for consultation and other services.

The report came from two people aware of the transactions and noted that they would socialize and dine together.

Leon Black is also dealing with another case where Russian model Guzel Ganieva claimed he sexually assaulted her.

Additionally, Ganieva says Black falsely accused her of blackmail when she spoke out against him.

He also denies these allegations.

Read also: Bob Iger set to bring more creativity to Disney

The complaint

On Monday, Wigdor filed a lawsuit for Cheri Pierson under New York’s Adult Survivor Act.

Doug Wigdor campaigned for the new law, passed in May and recently went into effect.

The Adult Survivors Act gives adult survivors of sexual assault one year to file lawsuits against their abusers in New York and waives the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits.

According to Pierson, Epstein told her weeks before her alleged attack that he was setting up a meeting with an unnamed wealthy associate.

He promised his partner could help her with a skincare product she was trying to market.

According to the complaint, Pierson’s injuries from the alleged rape were so severe that she had difficulty urinating for weeks.

She didn’t have health insurance at the time.

Also, Black reportedly called her several times after the attack and told her he felt bad and wanted to talk.

Then he gave her $5,000 at a bar.

After they met, Leon called Black and asked to see her again.

However, Pierson declined to see him.

Wigdor’s partner Jean Christensen released a statement saying:

“Thanks to the passage of the Adult Survivors Act, survivors of sexual violence like our client, Ms. Pierson, can seek the justice they deserve no matter how many years ago their trauma was suffered.”


Lawsuit alleges billionaire investor Leon Black raped a woman inside Jeffrey Epstein’s home

Bob Iger set to bring more creativity to Disney

Bob Iger reportedly met with employees at Disney headquarters on Monday.

His appearance marks his first since surprising the media by returning as Disney CEO last week.

The meeting

On Monday, Bob Iger discussed several corporate issues, such as Disney’s current hiring freeze and its focus on the Disney+ streaming platform.

The prodigal Disney CEO underlined his goal upon his return to the company: creativity.

Speaking at a town hall meeting at Disney’s headquarters in Burbank, California, Iger told employees the hiring freeze would remain in place for the time being.

Hiring freeze

Earlier this month, former Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced a hiring freeze.

Chapek’s time as CEO was brief, but it was also hectic.

Still, Bob Iger said the company should keep the freeze, especially with Disney’s challenges.

Additionally, Iger said the length of the hiring freeze will be a factor in assessing Disney’s overall “cost structure.”

Read also: Elon Musk wary of Twitter removal from Apple


The announcement of Bob Iger’s return comes at a difficult time for Disney, which faces many challenges in its media empire.

One of the company’s challenges is a competitive price that has been consistently sluggish in 2022 and a streaming company that loses money as it grows.

According to Iger, Disney’s streaming success is measured by several metrics, but the most critical factor was growth in 2021.

Since then, the focus has shifted to the “bottom line” and how much the company is losing and when it will be profitable.


Instead of chasing subscriptions with aggressive marketing and content expense, Iger says the company needs to start chasing profitability.

Disney would have to closely examine the cost structure of all of its businesses to achieve profitability.

However, Iger emphasizes that the company must focus on creativity.

“A number of you who worked with me know that I’m obsessed with it,” said Iger, referring to Disney’s creative muscle.

“But I’m obsessed with that for a reason. It is what drives the company.”

The returning CEO made it clear that it’s not about what Disney creates.

Rather, it’s about how “great the things are that we do create.”

Read also: HP joins other tech companies in downsizing decision


Bob Iger wasted no time making his mark on Disney.

Shortly after the announcement, he overhauled the company’s content distribution structure.

He also announced that Kareem Daniel, president of Disney’s media and entertainment distribution unit, will be leaving the company.

On Monday, Bob Iger tweeted a photo from Disney headquarters, saying he was grateful and thrilled to be back.


Bob Iger lays out his priorities for Disney as he returns as CEO

Elon Musk wary of Twitter removal from Apple

Elon Musk has claimed that Apple is threatening to remove Twitter from its iOS app store, which could throw off Twitter’s business.

The revelation fell on Monday.

If Apple goes ahead with its plan, it would be devastating for the company that Musk recently bought for $44 billion.

The tweets

On Monday, Elon Musk made several tweets targeting Apple and its CEO over the alleged move that could ruin Twitter’s business.

“Apple has also threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why,” Musk tweeted.

In another, the Twitter owner said Apple has largely stopped advertising.

“Do they hate free speech in America,” he asked, referencing his desire to bolster his idea of free speech on Twitter.

“What’s going on here [Apple CEO Tim Cook]?”

Elon Musk also criticized Apple’s size, claiming the tech giant engages in “censorship.”

He then blasted the 30% transaction fee Apple charges major app developers to get their apps up for the app store.

Read also: Jobless claims exceed analyst’s expectations


Elon Musk’s tweets shed light on his relationship with the tech giant.

Before acquiring the social media platform, Musk said when Tesla ran into problems, he considered selling the company to Apple.

However, Cook reportedly refused to meet him.


Removing Twitter from the Apple App Store (or even Google) would damage Twitter’s operations.

The social media platform is already struggling after losing advertisers following its acquisition.

In addition, the company is trying to increase its profits through its subscription business.

Apple has already shown a willingness to remove apps from its App Store due to concerns about harmful content or attempts to circumvent cuts Apple offers on purchases and subscriptions.

For example, Apple removed Parler in January 2021.

Parler was a popular app among conservatives, especially the far right.

Apple removed it after the Capitol attack over concerns about the platform’s ability to detect and moderate hate speech.

However, Parler returned to the App Store after three months following an update on its content moderation practices.

Read also: Russia threatens Europe, says it may cut gas


Earlier this month, Tim Cook had an interview with CBS.

He was asked if Twitter could somehow change that would cause Apple to remove the app from the app store.

“They say that they’re going to continue to moderate and so… I count on them to do that,” said Cook.

“Because I don’t think that anybody really wants hate speech on their platform. So I’m counting on them to continue to do that.”

Yoel Roth, former head of trust and safety at Twitter, also hinted that the company has already received calls from App Store moderators since the Musk acquisition.

Roth said Twitter’s failure to follow Google’s and Apple’s App Store rules could be disastrous.

Phil Schiller, head of Apple’s App Store, deleted his Twitter account last weekend.

While the relationship between Apple and Twitter is unclear, the tech giant recently posted Black Friday announcements on social media.

Meanwhile, many companies have recently reduced their digital ad spending due to the economic downturn.

Twitter probably represents a small portion of Apple’s advertising budget.

However, Apple’s impact could be more remarkable, especially if Musk manages to shift his core business to subscription revenue and potentially pay Apple a 30% cut.


Elon Musk claims Apple has ‘threatened to withhold’ Twitter from its app store

Gozde Balli: Santa Barbara home cooking expert’s journey via social media

Social media has opened doors to the lives of many people around the world, and we get to witness what they do in their lives. Whether it is dining out, vacationing, cooking at home or how they raise their kids, we all enjoy following some interesting individuals who are making life easier and entertaining people across the world through their reels and stories. These people are aptly called social media influencers. There are many types of influencers – from health to lifestyle to parenting and beauty; you name it, and there is an influencer who can make things more convenient for you. 

Gozde Balli is a home cooking expert, social media influencer and an entrepreneur. Born and raised in Adana, the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, Gozde Balli moved to California after marrying her husband, Emre. Initially, it seemed challenging to move thousands of miles away from family and friends, but with the support of her husband, she took the plunge and started her life in Santa Barbara, California. 

Talking about her experience as an influencer, she says, “I love being an influencer, especially in California. That’s why I have added California at the end of my social media username as well. I simply love living and exploring the city. There are so many things to see, visit different places and tons of people to meet.”

She further went on to say, “You can drive on PCH up north to see gorgeous Big Sur or back south to watch sunsets in Malibu and Santa Monica. Wineries over Santa Ynez, bike rides under the Palm Trees, there is so much that makes this city and country beautiful. There are so many different restaurants I can visit and share them with my followers, so they know what to choose from the next time they dine out.”

Gozde Balli did not attend any culinary institute and is a self-taught cook. As a kid, she used to help her mother in the kitchen, and that’s where she developed an interest in grilling lamb kebabs, chops, and sea bass, creating delicious salads with arugula and mixed greens, etc. She is very picky when it comes to food and drinks and carefully picks meat, organic produce and other ingredients when she is cooking at home, ensuring the best possible taste. Her kitchen is always spotless, and while she cooks, she sets her table with candles, shiny glasses and perfectly matching napkins and silverware to give everyone a feel of a restaurant at home. 

It was because of her attention to detail and her delicious, innovative cooking that she decided to start her own restaurant, Empty Bowl – Gourmet Noodle Bar. As the name suggests, they provide Thai comfort food, mostly noodles. “Staying in your comfort zone might be safe. But sometimes making a decision and going with that might completely change your life,” shares Gozde Balli. “I left my job and moved 7000 miles away from my family and friends. In the beginning, it wasn’t easy, but Santa Barbara made me feel like home away from home.”

This is also one of the reasons she started making reels and posting stories on her social media handles. She gets excited and motivated while creating content. Whether she is driving, traveling, biking, drinking champagne, attending a show, cooking or dressing, she creates content that people like. She not only posts pictures or videos but finds the perfect music to go with her reels and keeps positive energy and vibes going throughout. Gozde has more than 100K followers on Instagram who are hooked to her creativity and skills. 

Her biggest achievement is her followers. “I have over a million followers, and I show them how to dress up in every budget. There are so many people who can’t decide what to wear every day, and some of them think expensive brands are the key. But it’s not true. I can match any dress, skirt, pants, blouse, purse, or shoes for ladies to make them feel trendy and comfortable at the same time,” shares Gozde Balli. 

The home cooking expert hopes to establish her own fashion brand in the near future as that is something close to her heart after cooking and traveling. Since she is doing rounds on the first two, she is now focused on embarking on her third dream. Her social media followers have endorsed her skills as a cook and follow her for her fashion trends, which has given her the confidence to take it seriously so that she can bring fashion to women that they can carry on in a limited budget without compromising on style. 

Gozde Balli is an inspiration to people who start their lives afresh in a new country with no former contacts or resources. She built her life from scratch and encourages others to do the same; all they need is a passion for something and learning the skills to master their passion.