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The Current OP Meta is a Result of all of Valorant's Combined Flaws.
Hey guys, I'm a 10 year CS player here. Previously played at Level 9 Faceit and A - ESEA. Have probably 1000+ hours of watching pro games under my belt, and even more spent in KZ and HnS servers. I love Valorant, and I love a lot of what they're trying to do with this game in comparison to CS. But, I think the current OP meta is a result of almost every short coming the game has right now (for the most part). Firstly, I think it's important to preface this by saying that Valorant is 100% by design, made to be easier / more approachable than CS:GO. You can see this in almost every aspect of the game. If it's something that was intimidating to new players in CS, it's been massively simplified here. Spray patterns are far less aggressive. Lineups have been almost entirely eliminated, or completely streamlined. Movement speed has been reduced to allow for easier tracking and aiming. Counter-strafing has been forgotten and replaced by instant momentum. Even the slight advantage you got from good movement (brought along by thousands of hours of practice in CS:GO) has been entirely eliminated by a massive simplification of movement in general, as well as how severe tagging is. I'm not saying these are negative aspects of the game. I understand almost if not all of these changes. Tons of these choices succeed in their desired goal, and it's lead to tons of my friends enjoying this game despite never getting more than 4 games into CS. With all that said tho, lots of these choices indirectly feed into the current OP meta. I don't say this lightly either. If you were to directly compare the AWP and the OP, the AWP is hands down 3x more powerful than the OP currently is. It boasts :
More ammo overall, and more ammo per clip.
Instantaneous ADS, and instantaneous Accuracy after scoping in. (though this is more a trait of all scoped weapons in CS:GO)
Better hip-fire accuracy.
More forgiving movement accuracy
//Thanks to u/IAmNotOnRedditAtWork for pointing some of these out as they escaped me I have a shortish video on this, with some old community server / lower level faceit games. It's presented as more of a frag movie than anything so there's no need to watch it, but I do think it can offer some important context when talking about how insane the AWP actually is for high level players. I've edited it to have specific time stamps in the description so that you can jump between the clips that are actually relevant to this discussion. Turn down volume as there is music and I'm sure its obnoxious. Here you go Despite the obvious advantages the AWP has, we don't really see it being as prevalent and oppressive as we do in Valorant. We do not see double AWP and Triple AWP rounds being NEAR as viable as they are here, with triple AWP rounds being almost nonexistent. I chalk this up to quite a few things :
Movement speed. I think this is discounted quite a bit by nearly everyone. But people fail to realize how big of a deal this really is. I don't think I need to elaborate on this too much. But I think it's important to highlight "punishing" an AWPer. Typically, in CS you're only going to punish an AWPer if they miss their shot. Sure you can smoke them off or flash them, but typically at a high level they'll be playing in a position where it's easy to fall back and avoid being traded if they do get flashed off their angle, that is until you're on site. (Also important to note that not all AWPers play aggressive at lower levels). If it's mathematically easier to hit shots in Valorant, you bet your ass this is having an overall effect on how consistent this weapon can perform. It also (purposefully) eliminates the usefulness of jiggle peeking or baiting shots, which is a massive part of counter-play in CS. I'm not saying they should increase movement speed. I just think pointing this out is healthy for understanding and discussing this topic as a whole.
Movement Speed pt. 2. On top of movement speed in Valorant being much lower, many CS players will probably tell you that the way in which you move in Valorant is instantaneous. There is no counter strafing, and as a result, if you were to stand still, and then start running, you reach your max velocity almost immediately, if not immediately. This is the same in reverse. You lose your momentum the second you let go off WASD, your momentum being what brings about innaccuracy. This allows the OP to be hyper aggressive in situations where it shouldn't be. Period. You can hold an angle, whiff your shot, and then repeek that same angle aggressively all because you have no aim penalty within a time frame where your aggression should be punishable. In CS:GO the max velocity is higher, and the acceleration has a longer time between min and max. This makes it so that repeeking an angle has a window of innaccuracy that is PARAMOUNT in balancing for a weapon like this. The OP in Valorant currently has little counter-play outside of maybe DDoSing your opponent and hoping they miss shots.'
Utility. This isn't a secret. Most the player-base is probably aware in some form that this is having an effect on the meta. On top of there being very little vision limiting utility (smokes), I think the lack of counter play regarding flashes is also an issue. In CS, it's usually quite easy to see a flash coming, and depending on your weapon and/or position, either turn and avoid the flash, or to turn and run entirely. Sometimes if it's a pop flash you'll tank it and pray you don't die. But in Valorant, the flashes are very very quick to pop, and they last almost no time at all. You can't act off your own flash at all on most angles, and ton's of choke points require you to walk a distance where the flash is entirely negated anyway. For instance, Ascent A site. If you flash from main the distance between main and site is large enough that most people holding close aren't going to be flashed by the time you're pushed up. So maybe you get the AWPer off the long angle they're holding, and then you start pushing only for the person holding close to take contact and have the AWPer peek back out. This is why we see Phoenix being so viable in TSM's lineup. Flashing out smokes gives the entire team the biggest possible window in order to act on that utility. It's basically equivalent to a pop flash in CS, and also allows you to have more control over where you're flashing onto a site. So you can flash and pop out of the smoke much quicker than if you were around a corner, and you can also flash much deeper into a choke point then you'd normally be able to. That said, this is not a direct counter to OP meta. It's just an issue with flashes I've noticed, and a sort of "work around" I've seen take center stage.
And this kinda brings me to my next issue. And probably the one we all should have expected.
Map design. Outside of most the maps feeling incredibly linear, and despite them feeling like Hallway simulator 2020. I think there's another issue in relation to thoughtful map design. One of the things I mentioned above was how certain elements were streamlined, in relation to utility mainly. This, in my opinion, also relates to the map design.
CS has very tried and true bits of utility at play. Smokes, Mollies, and Flashes. When you play CS at a level where executes are necessary, it's actually quite fascinating to learn how each map has been designed with utility constantly in mind. Cache B site for instance, there's a window directly above site meant for throwing utility. Mirage A has a massive area above ramp for throwing util. Inferno Apts even has fucking windows on the opposite side of site, with a chimney adjacent to them in order for you to bank utility off of. Dust 2 recently underwent a change in B tuns to allow for more utility and site executes given how hard the site was too take control of. Whether it be on attacks or retakes. Valorant has streamlined "utility" so much, that they've forgotten the exact reason why it was implemented in the way that it was in CS:GO, and why it worked so well. Valorant has thrown thoughtful map design out the window in favor of meaningless gimmicks that fall flat after your 5th game on the map. Guess what Riot, I don't care about opening and closing destructible doors, or ropes that give you a surprising amount of velocity and accuracy while attached, and definitely not 3 fucking sites. I play ranked games where my opponents go 3-14 and then start fragging out when they decide to whip out the OP. The gun is too easy to use and it sports almost zero counter-play. IT IS AN ISSUE. I understand not jumping the gun and rushing towards some half ass balancing decision, but you've been so quick to address smaller issues that didn't actively suck the fun out of the game and reward players for using an obvious crutch. // People have pointed out some poor phrasing on my part here, would just like to iterate that I'm not against these kinds of gimmicks, they have a place and I don't mean to undermine anyone who enjoys them. I just think these gimmicks are being used in place of good map design. Sort of a "sure ascent is a terrible map but here are some doors you can open and close, this one has ropes!" Ascent is the closest map to CS design we currently have in Valorant in my opinion, and it still ignores most of what made those maps work in the first place. Scrap the gimmicks. Nobody wants this random shit. I want maps with intelligent design choices, meaningful spots for fair trades at the beginning of rounds, I want maps designed with rotates in mind and counter-play at heart. You can tell CS maps are designed with all the games utility in mind. I'm constantly reminded that I can't say the same about any of Valorant's maps. With that being said, what are some ways to fix these issues?
Add a slight time frame with the OP that adds inaccuracy after moving, keep this outside of movement speed, have it be its own value. For instance, if you scope in with the OP, then strafe to the side and stop moving, add an extra .5 or whatever amount of time where there is still an innaccuracy debuff applied. OPs are meant for holding angles, they are already ridiculously good at that in this game. Punish them for playing aggressive.
Phoenix's flash needs a slight "rework" to come more into line with vision blocking utility in relation to cutting off angles. Phoenix's flash shouldn't pop so quickly. I think it sports niche usability with little counter-play. When throwing out Phoenix's flash, have it hover in air at the very end of it's duration while giving it an obvious "charge-up" animation, give a larger (but still small) window in order to either back off an angle, or to turn your back too it, and then have it pop, and increase the time frame in which you're flashed slightly. I also considered having Phoenix be invulnerable to his flash, as a way to give Phoenix a way to more reliably entry, while still forcing him to play slightly outside of his team in these situations, (or risk flashing them). This promotes playing anti flash and/or less predictable and maybe even more dangerous positions in order to deny Phoenix this ground when he attempts to entry. I think it adds a reasonable amount of counter play in a game that severely lacks it currently, I think it gives Phoenix some needed independence and room to make these types of solo plays, while also letting an agent specifically gain ground around OPers. I think a good way to envision this is Ascension A site. Instead of OPing heaven when you know Phoenix likes to flash in from main and push you off your angle, you can play on site to the left, and play anti flash in order to kill him when he attempts to entry. Diagram Here
LET YOUR COMMUNITY DESIGN MAPS FOR YOU. For the love of god the fact that I even have to say this makes me angry. Community interaction has lead to CS being the powerhouse of an E-sport it is today. Volcano's involvement is proof of this. No one is saying you have to add them as actual competitive maps, but acting like you can produce better content than your entire community is ridiculously naive when you've already shown that's NOT the case. Add some kind of community tool for your players to design maps, and have some kind of game mode that rotates these featured community maps every couple of months or something. Even if it's just to give the team at Riot ideas and inspiration. I was worried months ago when you said you weren't going to allow even the most basic of community creativity in this regard. It's okay to be wrong Riot. Valve was smart enough to realize the community could carry some of that workload, while also teaching them and giving them inspiration. Volcano is on your dev team because of this reality.
First I want to take a moment and say... I care about you. Whether you are a stubborn bull or gay bear, a complete stranger (me), cares about your well being. If for any reason you’re struggling to cope with life and it’s processes, there are people who are willing to help. If you want to shoot me a DM, I’m all for it. National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255 www.GamblersAnonymous.org Many of us are new on this specific sub. Taking a moment to think, I cannot figure one sub on all of Reddit like it. This sub is so unique and so powerful. It brings together the very poor and the very wealthy. The risk takers and the risk adverse. Nuclear physicists and cocaine dealers. Old and young, of all races, shapes, and sizes. Wall Street Bets and the market have zero biases. The intelligent can lose everything, the autists can make extraordinary gains. We see it week after week. 10k to 100k 50k to 800k I just saw a post where a guy said $60 took him to 90k in 2 months and one where a guy took $900 to 18k in 15 minutes. We are living in a time where a near infinite amount of money is changing hands at an unfathomable pace. We can make life-changing gains in what feels like a few revolutions of the Earth on its axis. With that being said... Where there are huge gains, there are going to be huge losses. Most of you on this thread are losing money. By most, I would estimate 75%-85%. Some of you are new here, some of you have been here a while and can’t figure it out. I want to say, from my own great and tragic experience... it’s okay. Some of life’s most peaceful moments don’t require anything but a desire. It does not require money to go sit down by the creek and listen to the water pour through the rock bed. You don’t need money to go out into the woods and listen to nature speak specifically to you. You have the choice from this very moment forward to due your diligence and learn why some people are making thousands of dollars each trade, over and over again, 60%+ of the time. Some of you coming from a sports betting background, a poker background, a bartering background. You wouldn’t go into a game or a trade without knowing who’s playing, or what the value of each item was worth would you? Use your ability to scan a valuable situation to your advantage. Some of you come from a mathematical, engineering, or physics background. You wouldn’t try to solve a problem with no tools, history basis, or outside sources would you? Use your ability to problem solve and reverse engineer to figure out where we are, how we got here, and how it appears we are going to move forward. We have artists, and dancers, and musicians, and tradesmen. Use your precision for the technical aspects in your everyday trading. Most importantly, be as patient as a tiger stalking its prey. Some people will get super lucky. Most will not. This is not free and you will most likely, not get a free pass. I share this in an attempt to grab the focus of a group of people who see this as a possibility to leave a life of financial troubles behind, and those who want to build on a profitable future. I am not providing you with any financial advice, or technical analysis. I will see the respect in those of you who call me a fellow autist or ask for me to get banned. At first I didn’t understand the humor here, but I have found myself laughing profusely at this forum and I love it. But with the humor, you have to find the moments to be serious and that is when your hard earned money and your priceless time is involved. If anyone is looking for a mentee, I’m looking for a mentor or group of like minded people who want to discuss both financials, and overcoming challenges on a daily basis. Drop me a line. For the rest of you, happy trading, stay safe, and figure good fortunes for yourself. Positions: Spy $220p 5/15 Edit: To everyone who has reached out to show support, to want to join a discord, to invite me into your discord... thank you. You’re the reason I made the post. I now spend hours studying the market, it’s potential, and how I can make my situation and situation of others better because of it. I knew this wouldn’t go over well with everyone but they are not why I’m here. I look forward to learning more and sharing what I can along the way.
How we feeling about leaps on Draft Kings? Disney owns a 6% stake. There are regular reports of numerous people getting in. They're already up over 80% since half a month ago at their IPO. They've already cleared legal hurdles in NY/NJ. Sports WILL return, even if the stadiums are empty. UFC still looking to go. People LOVE to gamble and they ARE the name in online sports gambling. I'm about to gamble all my money into long-dated DKNG calls because I can't imagine them going down at this point. Disney/ESPN wouldn't even let them advertise because they didn't want to be connected with gambling, and now they own a 6% stake. Some casino owners seem to have bought in as well. I see infinite synergy. Someone tell me why this isn't free money. They've steadily risen every single day since their IPO.
I Can Make You Hot!: The Supermodel Diet (by Kelly Killoren Bensimon) -- Part Two
I hope you all have taken full advantage of the past 48 hours or so to regain some sense of normalcy after our adventures through Part 1 of Kelly Killoren Bensimon's I Can Make You Hot!Without further ado, Part Two: I resume my journey through the truly incomprehensible mind of Kelly Bensimon with a chapter entitled, "Thursday: Tricks of My Trade." Now that we've learned about the basic building blocks of hotness, Kelly promises to share even more hard-earned advice to help us really kick things up a notch. And, as she reassures us:
I'm actually glad for the mistakes I've made because anyone who doesn't make mistakes doesn't learn, and if you don't learn, you're boring!
And if you're boring, you're not HOT! I think I'm starting to get the hang of this! One of Kelly's most important life lessons came at her first horse show, when she made an unbelievably devastating misstep: "I decided to have an egg on a bagel from the food-service van." What kind of unimaginable ripple effects did this poor decision set off? I continue on to learn that Kelly "did all right in the competition." And…that's literally the whole story. Kelly legitimately refers to this as "one of my biggest lessons," as it taught her "to never eat more than I normally would." If life-changing breakthroughs were this easily sparked in my own life, I can't even begin to imagine how self-actualized I would be at this point. At this point in my reading, I have reached the book's first insert, which contains about a dozen glossy color photos from various phases of Kelly's life. Unfortunately, I am far too preoccupied by this picture, in which a carefree, wind-swept Kelly clenches her infant daughter under one arm with all the grace of an NFL wide receiver, to pay the rest of the spread much mind. We continue on as Kelly introduces new dimensions to the basic tips she's previously introduced. For example, you may have had some vague idea that water was important, but Kelly -- always there to help us learn and improve -- digs into the specifics to make sure we're up to date on the HOTtest tricks of the trade:
Staying hydrated is important no matter what you're doing, so I always try to drink eight glasses or about a liter of water a day. Soda isn't water. Coffee isn't water. Water is water. Drink throughout the day; don't try to get it all down at once. You wouldn't drown an orchid, so don't drown yourself.
I am putting in my formal request for a Public Service Announcement in this format, but using the last line of that passage. Also, Kelly clearly does not know how poorly I tend to my houseplants. The next page informs us that, "hot isn't just caliente; it's also spicy and sultry." Kelly promptly launches into yet another list of miscellaneous grocery items, this time focused specifically on "red-hot foods." Except it includes entries like "popcorn with sugar and cinnamon," and "Mike and Ike candy," so I'm not convinced Kelly didn't just lose track of the thread entirely by the time we got a few items in. However, this does seem like an appropriate time to introduce this picture, from the book's second photo insert, which clearly depicts the sleep paralysis demon that has haunted my dreams for the past several nights. We're also treated to this chapter's first "hot button issue" panel, in which Kelly pulls back the curtain on the shadowy, pro-salt cabal trying to control us all with their anti-sodium legislative agenda:
We keep reading about how bad sodium is for our health, but if you eat fresh foods that you prepare yourself, you can determine and control the amount of salt you want to use. I, Kelly Killoren Bensimon, am perfectly capable of deciding how much salt I want to put on my food. I don't need anyone else to salt my food for me. I know that the amount of salt I choose to sprinkle on my food is not going to hurt me.
I read on to find a two-page spread in which Kelly expounds, in rhapsodic praise to rival that of Song of Solomon, upon her ardor for her beloved dehydrator -- "I though I was in love with coffee, but now I think my dehydrator is my truest love." Most of the passage is taken up by an unstructured list of the various things Kelly has attempted to dehydrate ("cucumber," "mangoes," "avocado") but she does manage to squeeze in a few infomercial-ready lines -- "Really, you should buy one; I promise you won't be sorry." Since repetition is the key to reinforcing new concepts, I appreciate that Kelly's next list (of "a few more lean tricks I've learned along the way") repeats a note she originally relayed to us just a few pages ago:
Drink water throughout the day (not all at one sitting).
She's also been thoughtful enough to provide a list of resources for us to use as we soldier on along the perilous journey to HOT. After all, as Kelly says, "I don’t expect you to carry this book wherever you go -- as much as I would love that." As someone who has never before ventured into the wild world of cyberspace, I really appreciated Kelly introducing me to so many fun, useful websites that I might want to check out! In case you, too, just haven't figured out how to navigate this whole Internet thing, I've included a few examples below:
www.amazon.com One-stop shopping for just about any book, periodical, or product you might want to read or buy in order to get HOT.
www.espn.com Everything you need to know to stay up to date on any sport.
www.webmd.com Useful, up-to-date, trustworthy information on medical and health issues.
Can't wait to check these out later! That Amazon one sounds super cool! I'm reminded quickly just how inelegant the transitions in this book are as we move directly from that list into the following:
I suggest that you take a picture of yourself every day…Some days when you're feeling your fattest, you may be surprised to see that you really look great.
Okay, so fat is NOT HOT. Except being comfortable in your body is HOT. And trying to be skinny is NOT HOT. But being skinny is HOT. Thank goodness I still have a few more chapters to go -- I clearly still have a ways to go before I truly understand the logic of HOTness. As it stands, I must admit that I'm a bit baffled. Of course, returning to the previous bit of advice, Kelly doesn't actually have to worry about taking her own pictures like us plebeians -- "Having been photographed so often has provided me with a permanent retrospective catalogue of my life." The chapter closes with these words of wisdom:
The best kind of vanity is being vain about what you put in your body.
Friday's chapter promises to introduce us to the world of "Hot Couture," and I am excited to see what tips and tricks Kelly has managed to accrue over her lifetime in the cutthroat world of modeling . But first, we abruptly transition to a story about Kelly meeting Madonna shortly after both women had given birth. Kelly had "gained a healthy fifty pounds," which I am led to believe, from the context of the anecdote, is NOT HOT. Madonna, on the other hand, was "flat-stomached" and therefore "HOT and cool." Of course, Kelly reassures us hurriedly that she lost all the weight within the following six weeks and was "actually thinner than I'd been prepregnancy." I am at an utter loss as to what the point of this story could possibly be, but -- blessedly -- Kelly is gracious enough to explain:
So what's the lesson here? That Madonna had personal trainers and chefs to whip her back into shape, and I didn't -- and still don’t. I shouldn't have been comparing myself to her in the first place. My advice to you is: don’t compare yourself to anyone else, only to your own personal best.
This is a perfect example of something Kelly does throughout this book, which is to present a completely reasonable piece of advice (don’t compare yourself to others), but couched within such a bizarre and logically disorganized narrative that by the time I reach the ultimate moral of the story, my brain feels like it's been run through a series of meat grinders, and I'm reduced to just nodding along in bemused acceptance. We get a "Kelly's Cardinal Rule" reminding us to "let your body be what your body is and be happy with what you've got." I'm starting to wonder if there is some sort of Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde thing going on behind the scenes here, in which two versions of Kelly are frantically grappling over control of the book's body-positivity dial. I'm literally don't even have to flip the page to see Kelly commiserating with us that "we all have days or occasions when we feel fat" and quipping about her "go-to fat outfit." But also:
Stop praying for what you don't have and be grateful for what you've got.
This amount of cognitive dissonance is truly proof that Kelly contains multitudes. Or has recently acquired some sort of debilitating short-term amnesia. Nevertheless, we continue:
But whatever your shape, show it off. Don’t try to hide it. Hiding is not hot.
Kelly next walks us through figuring out which "season" we are, based on the wisdom extolled in "Color Me Beautiful, the groundbreaking book that was so wildly successful in the early 80s." It's no surprise to me that Kelly, who earlier encouraged us to make our lives easier by using our PDAs, finds this to be an exciting new trend to share. Also, in case you weren't aware, "hair color is also important. You can lighten it or darken it or cover the gray." Lighten it or darken it? The boundaries of my mental universe are truly expanding. Some more fashion tidbits:
Scarves are hippie chic, cool, and always HOT.
If you're narrow, show off how narrow you are with a monochromatic palette.
Ankles are the new cleavage!
Narrow ankles only, I presume. Kelly's selfless, giving nature is highlighted yet again in the following passage, in which she explains:
All these celebrities have stylists who pull the clothes, accessories, and shoes that make them look the way they do. They charge a lot of money for what they do, so why not get some free advice based on my experience.
And what, pray tell, is this coveted advice that Kelly is so lovingly sharing with her readers, free of charge?
Save sweatpants for the gym.
Save PJs for the bedroom.
Dress as if you were the boss.
Remember what Carrie Bradshaw says: "Nothing is casual anymore, even when it says so on the invitation."
Manolo Blahniks are a girl's best friend.
Okay, so far be it from me to complain about the quality of free advice. But. Out of the five pearls of wisdom that make up the "KKBStyle Rules," two of them are rudimentary instructions to wear somewhat-situationally-appropriate clothing, and the other three are the kind of cute sayings that you would find on a piece of poorly bedazzled wall art in the clearance aisle of your local TJMaxx. I'm not impressed. Kelly next tells us how important it is to eat well and exercise, even "when you're premenstrual or having your period." That way, as she continues on, "you'll feel better because your endorphins will be flowing while your body is sloughing off unwanted endometrium and mucus." To be fair, Unwanted Endometrium does sound like a sick band name. Thankfully, the mental image of Kelly's mucus slough is promptly booted from my mind by a careening diatribe about the color red (HOT!):
I even painted my nails red the minute I started writing this book. I wanted to see my short red nails tapping away on my Macbook Pro. Almost every red dress is smokin' HOT, and I've never met a guy who doesn't think a woman in a red dress isn't hot. He's a liar if he denies it.
To repeat, Kelly says she's "never met a guy who doesn’t think a woman in a red dress isn't hot." Poor dear got a bit carried away with her negatives, but I'm sure she'll redeem herself in no time:
When I was sitting in the front row of a Marc Jacobs fashion show a few years ago, I wore a full, red short skirt, a tight red sweater, and red open-toed shoes. One of the editors from The New York Times was sitting across from me, and as we were waiting for the show to begin I kept crossing and recrossing my legs to make him laugh.
Sure, Kelly. To make him laugh. I can only assume she must have written some kind of hilariously clever joke on the gusset of her underwear to have had this editor so tickled pink red.
It was a long wait and after a while some guy I didn't know who was at the other end of the row, leapt towards me and screamed that he was obsessed with my feet. How crazy is it that red open-toed shoes and red toenails could create such a reaction. Red is HOT, even stalker HOT. Yikes!
I'm not clear where "stalker HOT" fits into this whole complex web, but it's reassuring to know that a wise soul like Kelly has such a nuanced appreciation of all of the different ways to be hot. She also gives us some "HOT tips for heating up your image." Like,
Put on a pair of jeans and a white tee shirt.
Put your hair in a ponytail.
Put on a pair of hoop earrings.
Wear your jeans a size smaller instead of a size larger.
For some reason not entirely clear to me at this moment, wearing jeans in your actual size does not seem to be an option. The chapter continues with a reminder to "remember what's on top of your head!"
There's nothing hotter than a HOT head of hair (unless it's a hunky bald guy).
Kelly follows up by offering a list of what she calls "HOT healthy options." Based on the preceding paragraph, you might assume that these tips would have something to do with haircare and hair styling. However, you would be wrong. Instead, we're instructed to:
Enjoy as much watermelon as you like.
Pack a picnic lunch of dehydrated fruit, chamomile iced tea, and mini pizzas made with corn tortillas, cherry tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese. Eat your picnic in the park.
Come up with something fun you want to try and do it!
Personally, it seems like a bit of a cop-out to make one of the items on your list of fun things to do "make up your own fun thing to do." But who knows? Maybe cop-outs are HOT! Before my faith in our fearless leader starts to waver, however, I read on through the end of the chapter, and my surety is promptly restored:
Besides my hair and my legs, the one thing people always ask me about the way I look is how I keep my teeth so white. And yes, that's also a matter of genetics. I'm blessed with the whitest teeth on the planet, and, no, I've never had them professionally bleached.
The weekend begins as I turn the page to the penultimate chapter -- "Saturday: Heat Up Your HOT Image with Healthy Options Today." Saturdays, as Kelly tells us, are for fun activities. For example:
If you're in the mall, go to different stores and figure out which looks will make you HOT. Ask other shoppers for advice.
Parks are great for people-watching. Who looks fit and healthy?
I sincerely hope that any and all of my friends would give me a stern talking-to if I informed them that my weekend plans consisted of going to a park and…pointing out people I think aren't healthy enough? Kelly then warns us against overindulging on late-night snacks or alcoholic beverages, lest we wake up Sunday feeling "bloating, sluggish, and with deep regrets." Presumably, Kelly then proceeded to rail a massive line of cocaine and hammer out the following frenetic spiel:
You're not going to get fat from having a few drinks a week. You will get fat if your routine is to drink, eat late, and then lie around watching television the next day, eating and making bad food choices. Going out is fun, but when you sacrifice the next day, it's never fun enough. Don't have regrets; enjoy every day. This is a life plan, and yesterday isn't coming back ever again.
The chapter comes to a close with a reminder to "wrap up every day with a great big bow and be ready for your next adventure. But before we close out our week of HOT, we're provided with what I anticipate will be an incredibly useful reference material for us all, the "KKBfit HOT Quiz." If you'd like to take the quiz yourself, you can find it here. However, I'm not entirely sure I would classify it as a "quiz," since it seems to be mostly a set of questions followed by Kelly's feedback on various possible responses. For example:
How Kelly Green are you?
I had a Kelly Green Juice -- Wasn't it yummy? I had a smoothie from the health food store with a splash of spinach -- Great choice! I had kale chips, spinach, and quinoa for dinner last night -- I bet you woke up feeling great this morning! Other?
I presume that the lack of response after the "Other?" choice is supposed to represent Kelly staring at me in deranged disappointment for a few painfully protracted seconds. Some questions, like the one above, don't seem to have any wrong answers at all. In contrast, other questions have clear wrong answers, which Kelly wastes no time in making apparent:
Are you getting enough protein? How many days did you eat chicken, fish, or meat for at least one meal?
I had a grilled chicken salad for dinner on three different days -- That's good, but I wish you'd get a little more adventurous in your choices.
How KKBfit are you?
Haven't had a meal since last night, but I'm going to skip breakfast and go on a run. I won't eat anything until lunch. -- Sorry, but starving your body is not KKBfit.
Are you drinking enough?
I drink when I'm exercising but that's about it -- Not good enough! Try harder next week.
The quiz ends, leaving me entirely unsure of whether or not I've actually made any forward progress towards my HOTness goals, but the next page does promise help for those who "still need more inspiration." Here, it seems that Kelly has compiled a loose assortment of quotes, most of which (I have a sneaking suspicion) were found by searching the keyword "hot" on BrainyQuote.com. Also, this masterpiece from Kelly's ex-husband, noted fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon:
HOT-- It is not about the look, It is not only about the charm, It is the perfect combination: Sweet and tough, Sexy and reserved, Fragile and powerful, And definitely smart. -- Gilles Bensimon
Move over, Rupi Kaur! I hope with every fiber of my being that Gilles Bensimon has published his collected poetry in some kind of volume that I could purchase, read, and have, I'm sure, nothing but positive things to say about. After about a dozen similar quotations, Kelly continues:
Now, as you get ready for Sunday Funday, take a few minutes to think about how you define HOT. Has your definition changed or evolved since you started reading this book? If so, I'm doing my job.
In all honesty, my definition of HOT has definitely been…affected by this experience. So we'll call that a win! Kelly tells us a few stories about times when her friends and family members have come to her for guidance on how to be hot. She explains:
I'm not the food police, but I've made myself the Sven-arbiter (as opposed to Svengali) of what's HOT and what's not.
Case in point:
It's just not hot to belong to the clean plate club.
The chapter closes with a list titled "Why Don't You," which I believe is supposed to be a list of fun activities we can try during a Sunday Funday. Or possibly a list of terrible life hacks for stoned college freshmen:
Use an electric teapot as a clothing steamer.
Make grilled cheese sandwiches or press wraps using a hot clothes iron.
There are very few things sadder to me that imagining someone taking Kelly up on this last bit of advice as a fun way to liven up what must be the most preternaturally boring existence possible. If your idea of fun is white bread and Kraft Singles getting slowly warmed over on your clothing iron, I can only imagine the fit of hysterics that you'd be thrown into by a passable Minions meme. And that brings us to the end of the week. But not -- lucky you! -- to the end of this book. Au contraire -- the remaining 100 pages or so of I Can Make You Hot! feature dozens of unique recipes from the culinary mind of none other than the indomitable Kelly Bensimon herself. In her intro, however, she makes it clear that
No one on earth would ever call me a chef.
Of course not, Kelly -- they'd call you a cook. Otherwise, it's creepy. This portion of the book begins, reasonably enough, with Breakfasts. These include such thoughtfully named delicacies as "My Favorite Cereal" and "My Favorite Pancakes." The recipe for the latter begins with the following introduction:
I'm not the greatest pancake maker, and I probably never will be. But what I am very good at is thinking of unusual things and doing them.
Frankly, I can't argue with that. As she continues:
When in pancake doubt, have fun, add fruit, and see if pancakes can be a vehicle for creating great memories for your family.
Next time I'm in pancake doubt, I'll know just what to do! We move right along into the Soups and Salads section, and are promptly introduced to Kelly's "Jimmy Achoo's Chicken Soup." Which is apparently a play on Jimmy Choo and also described by Kelly as "filled with veggie exploitation," which sounds terrifying. Of the next recipe, "Rich and Skinny Cauliflower Soup with Kale Chips," Kelly reflects:
I adapted this recipe from one I found on the Internet. I wish I could tell you exactly where, but I can't.
The recipe calls for kale chips, which Kelly goes out of her way to inform us can be purchased "at health food stores and many well-stocked supermarkets." We also get a few general "HOT salad tips" that can be applied to many of the recipes throughout this book, such as
There are so many different types of lettuces available today! Try different ones to see which you like best
When you order a salad in a restaurant, ask for the dressing on the side. You're a grown-up and you should get to decide how much you want to use.
With that under our belts, the grown-ups among us move on to "Meat, Chicken, and Fish." In her recipe for "Grilled Rib Eye with Herbes de Provence", Kelly tells us about meeting the famous chef who inspired this dish:
When I met Eric, who was still in his thirties at the time, he still had dark hair. I was caught off guard because I thought all chefs were older, had gray hair, and smelled like garlic.
So perhaps Bethenny should have taken it as a compliment? Kelly continues,
He's since invited me many times to go into his kitchen and cook with him, but my fear of losing a finger by being overzealous has prohibited me from accepting.
It's unclear to me exactly what this means or why Kelly would even be particularly worried about this possibility. Does she have habit of excitedly snatching vegetables out from other people's knives? Does Eric have a reputation for slicing anyone who dares to get in his way? Before I make any headway with this particular mystery, we're introduced to the next recipe, the "Pencil-Thin Skirt Steak." As we learn, "Everyone looks slim in a pencil skirt, so it's only fitting that skirt steak is one of the leanest cuts of beef you can buy." We get a recipe for "Sultry Roast Chicken" in which Kelly shares with us that "in fact, chicken without ginger doesn't taste like chicken to me anymore." This would be more believable if we weren't, a mere two pages later, introduced to a notably ginger-free recipe for "Second-Chance Chicken." As Kelly explains,
I hate the idea of leftovers. To me, eating leftovers means you're too lazy to start over, and I've never wanted my girls to think that we weren't starting fresh.
In the introduction to the recipe for "Bad Girl Wings," Kelly gives us yet another poignant insight into her life as a mother:
These chicken wings are Sea's favorite. I'm sure she loves them because she knows I love wings (she's a cutie like that).
It would obviously be ludicrous to assume that Sea actually enjoys chicken wings authentically. Much more likely that she just loves them because Kelly does. HOT! In a segment labeled "hasta la vista taco bell," Kelly recounts a traumatic experience in which she "discovered that my favorite food choices [at Taco Bell] added up to 580 calories." To me, this seems like a perfectly reasonable amount of calories for one daily meal out of three, but according to Kelly, I am embarrassingly off the mark. Rather, she sighs, "I guess that means my Taco Bell days are over -- unless I decide to chance [sic] Sunday Funday into Fatso Food Day." Not HOT. Kelly tells us about the creative process behind the development of the next recipe, "Spicy Sultry Shrimp and Mango Stir-Fry" (which, for the record, is the second recipe to have the word "sultry" in its title).
This was one of the first dishes I made when I started to cook -- as a science experiment. My "method" was to think of foods I loved and which ones I thought would go well together.
Fascinating! Think of ingredients you like and combine them into a dish that you will then likely also like! The next recipe, for "Kelly's Kalamari," features the following introduction:
I still love fried calamari, but it doesn't love me. Whenever I eat it, it goes right to my stomach and makes a little pooch -- eww!
As a reminder, this is the same Kelly Bensimon who told us that loving our bodies is HOT and dieting is die + t. But also, eww! We trek along into the next portion of the recipe book, succinctly titled "Pizza, Pasta, Potatoes, Grains, Vegetables, and Sides." We get a recipe for "Pizzzzzzzza!," which instructs the reader to obtain pizza dough, pizza sauce, mozzerella cheese, salt and pepper. Spread out the dough, add sauce and cheese, and cook! This is yet another time I'm glad Kelly told us early on in this book to take detailed notes -- these kinds of nuanced culinary creations can only come from the mind of a true master. The same kind of true master who would, as we soon learn, conceive of this particular travesty -- "Pink Pizza." Imagine with me, for a moment, that a dear friend invites you over to their house for dinner. I'm making pizza! they implore you. Come over -- we'll hang out, have a couple beers, catch up on old times! Excited for a chance to relive the glory days, you eagerly accept, only to be met -- upon your arrival -- with this abomination.I thought you said we were having pizza? you sputter nervously. This is pizza, your friend intones, as their eyes slowly fade to black and their hands reach out to wrap themselves around your throat. Kelly goes on to share a recipe for an "Asian-flavored noodle dish" that she has christened (and it truly pains me to type this), "Me Love You Springtime Noodles." Somewhere, the last ember of hope for humanity quietly fizzles out. The following recipe, for "Pasta with Oddkavodka Sauce" begins with a warning:
When you make this (especially for children) just be sure you cook off the alcohol so that you aren't serving vodka to minors or have to assign a designated driver for your guests.
This seems like reasonable and conscientious advice. Until I read on and learn that the recipe calls for 1/8 cup vodka, and makes four servings. If your guests need a designated driver after consuming a half-tablespoon of vodka each, I would strongly encourage them to seek medical advice forthwith. I am reminded once again how different Kelly's and my worlds are with the following exclamation:
Try using quinoa in this recipe instead of the rice -- I call that having your cake and eating it too!
Oh, to live a life in which your most selfish indulgence was quinoa. I suppose this should have prepared me for a few pages later, when Kelly remarks:
Both hummus and guacamole make great toppings for steak or fish. They're my version of béarnaise sauce.
I love hummus. Hummus is great. But there is no possible existing parallel universe in which hummus and béarnaise sauce are interchangeable. One of the final recipes in this section is cryptically titled "Have an Impromptu Pepper Party" and instructs the reader to scoop out the insides of a bell pepper and stuff it with "whatever ingredients suit your fancy." Again, I feel like this fails to meet the definition of an actual recipe, per se, but it is supposedly "quick, fun, and satisfying." We're nearing the book's end (for real this time) with a section on "Breads and Desserts." This includes an inspirational passage in which Kelly shares a personal anecdote:
On Season 4 of the Real Housewives of New York City, I made a mixed fruit pie for my kids with what was left over in the fruit bowl…Don't be afraid to try new things, make mistakes, and have fun doing it.
I can only hope to someday be brave enough and fearless enough to make a mixed fruit pie. Blessedly, the final section , titled "Beverages", looks like it might have exactly what I need in the aftermath of finishing this book. The "GIN-Ginger Beertail," for example, which "was originally made with gin, but I don't like serving gin drinks because I think it makes people mean." We also get a recipe for something called "Babylove," which (thankfully) seems unrelated to another of my favorite reality TV cesspools. It only seems appropriate to share the final recipe of I Can Make You Hot! with all of you. I will definitely be downing approximately seven of these tonight, and I hope some of you will be joining me in spirit. Cheers:
Gummi Bear Martini If you don't have a paper umbrella handy, Gummi Bears are a great way to put more fun in your drink. Makes 1 Drink 2 parts orange, grape, or other-flavored vodka 1 part Triple Sec 1 part white grape juice Splash of cranberry juice Gummi Bears, as many as you like Combine the vodka, Triple Sec, grape juice, and cranberry juice in a tall glass. Add ice and fill the glass with Gummi Bears.
ETA: I am so disappointed in myself for forgetting to include that Kelly has a ceviche recipe that instructs you to marinate raw fish in lemon juice for exactly two minutes before serving. In the interest of food safety, perhaps it was for the best that this nugget momentarily slipped my mind, but sharing this information with you all is the burden I have been cursed to bear. 🙏🏼
South American Wishlist: A very long post on my hopes for post release Cultures from Pre-Columbian South America
(Long post alert) Yello. I think it's uncontroversial to say that so far, humankind's representation of Pre-Columbian cultures is just fine, apart from the fact that it's unexistant outside of Mesoamerica, luckily, this problem will probably be one of the first addressed by DLC, but for now, as someone from two Latin American countries, I think I'm somewhat qualified to give some opinions/recommendations about what could be added later (or at launch in some cases), or at least what I think could/should be added Note 1: I'm not indigenous, I don't speak any indigenous language and I'm not an expert on indigenous subjects, I'm using knowledge from wikipedia, school, and my knowledgeable dad Note 2: I won't be addressing First Nations representation, someone that actually knows anything of note about them could do a much better job than a total rando Note 3: I don't wanna come off as negative, I'm really hyped for the game (which you can probably notice by my 3 posts yesterday), I just wanna give les gars chez amplitude (and the fans) some ideas Introduction When I learned about Humankind I was really excited about being able to play as precolumbian civs, in a lot of other games, the only thing we ever get is the aztecs, and maybe the inca and maya if the devs are feeling generous, maybe even a first nations culture if they're feeling extra representative, of course, this isn't bad representation by any means, the problem is how cliché it has become to include the aztec and inca in particular, specially compared to Europe over there getting like 4 or 5 times the civs compared to other places (including South America). Following this you can probably see that I was kinda disappointed when there wasn't anything precolumbian outside of central america, the cultures they chose are actually great (albeit very expected) and they nailed their traits and special abilities (apart from maybe not giving the aztecs the little rafty farms), the problem comes from the lack of anything else, the fact that the *NEW WORLD* has only three peeps is a weird design decision, specially considering how many gamers there are in Latin America, now I'm expecting to see at least Mexico and Brazil later down the line, maybe even Argentina and Colombia as well, which is swell, but if the players are anything like me they'll be kinda sad to not be able to be american apart from the mesoamericans. Now, considering that the Andes are the sixth cradle of civilization, I'll mostly be focusing around them, mostly because A. there were a lot more kingdoms/empires here than anywhere else on the continent, B. we know a lot more about those people that lived there, C. I live in the Andes so I was taught about these guys at school and D. there are actually still indigenous people here, making studying them a lot easier than say, Uruguay. Also I'm only going to be talking about deconfirmed (for now) cultures, from the ancient, classical and medieval eras, because there could easily be some indigenous boys waiting for us in early modern, and I find it more interesting personally to talk about something less possible Ok, let's get into the meat of this, who are the dudes that we (and by we I mean I) want in the videogame. Here's my narrowed down list of options
(I'm also expecting either the Mapuche or Guaraní for early modern, so I'm excluding them from this list) First up you'll probably see that all of these cultures are andean, I'm not kidding with the sixth cradle thing, it's like if you took the avengers, but instead of Thor you picked War Machine, and Iron Patriot, and a lot of other dudes whose names I don't know because I'm not a marvel fan (looking at you MENA), all of these cultures were important and left their mark on future andean societies, plus I think they could all be relatively unique and different. You might be asking yourself, why is the Andes so prosperous? The answers are simple, a. the mountains give freshwater, b. relative isolation, c. the only domesticated animals in the Americas (llamas and alpacas), d. good food, that's a recipe for cvivilization right there. (I've excluded a couple of cultures, mainly Chavín, Chimu, Moche, Nazca and Moxos, these in particular could still very easily be added) A big thing that makes this weird is the time frame, the american continent uses a different method to mark the different periods of its history, there was no bronze, or copper, or medieval, or renaissance ages here, we use a system divided into pre-ceramic and ceramic halves, the latter being subdivided into formative, intermediate and horizon eras. I'll try to go off this model and the time frame set by the mesoamerican cultures, so if it's a bit sloppy then I'm sorry (mind you that's still hard, because the mayas have existed for a veeeeeery long time, so being honest idk), taking into account that the ingame the "early modern" era has the dutch and the "medieval" has the aztecs, I'm choosing to interpret "early modern" as colonial in America, I'm classifying these cultures in this order. Ancient: Norte Chico Classical: Wari, Tiwanaku Medieval: Inca, Muisca I know it doesn't line up the best with the rest of the world, here specifically I'd really like some criticism from people who know about this stuff about not only the eras but the cultures chosen, thank you in advance. The Cultures
Caral, built around 3500 BCE, home of the oldest known civilization in the Americas, possibly even the most densely populated area in the world at that time, rivaling northern China, all of this according to Wikipedia of course. It's honestly surprising that Norte Chico isn't already in the game, it beat out the olmecs by 2000 years yet they beat out our dear Little North to Humankind, oh well, we can still dream right? Some info on them, they relied a lot on fish and other seafood because they lived next to the ocean, had a distinctive lack of visual art and pottery, liked to build mounds, probably had a theocratic society (the first signs of the staff god, a famous religious motif are found here) and engaged in what is known as "ecological steps" trading, where a tribe from the shore, would trade for goods from the mountains, and those mountain folks would trade with guys from the jungle for their stuff, creating a chain of trade where people could acquire food and valuable items from completely different biomes, this continued until the conquest by the spanish and portuguese, this was essential for life in the Andes, and most big andean cultures used this strategy, including all of the ones I've chosen for humankind (except maybe the Muisca I'm not sure), a lot of interaction between different andean peoples was caused by this. EDIT: u/pachakamaq01 showed me some sources showing that the Norte Chico did indeed have some sort of visual art, in this html article right here Mechanically I'd say their best bet is Builder for their focus, but it could be all other ones but militarist and expansionist, it's pretty hard to place such a different society to that which we're used to into this honestly, for their emblematic quarter, it will be a **mound** for sure, their emblematic unit on the other hand is hard to choose, mostly because we have found no real proof of violence related to the Norte Chico, it'd probably be something like with the olmecs, where it's a big, important predecessor weapon to posterior cultures, so it'd probably be a slinger in this case. Before we close this out, can we talk about how badass these guys were? They made seats out of whale vertebra and flutes out of pelican bones, they originated the famous quipu (or at least a prototype) a system of knots and cords that can be thought of as an alternative to writing, used to store information coded in the length, color and placement of the knots (they're really interesting I'd recommend you reading up on them), and did all of this without using pottery?! like damn these guys were metal as hell.
I'm a bit biased here, but can you blame me? The archaological site of Tiwanaku is 2 hours away from where I live, and I've visited it a couple of times, it's a pretty nice place (and there's llamas walking around over there), if my memory serves me, the site was a place where many people from different cultures all came together, in a sort of pilgrimage, that was where Tiwanaku's power came from, as we haven't really found evidence of weapons there, the "empire" of Tiwanaku had territories from southern Peru, to western Bolivia and northern Chile, and had political power far from it's center near lake Titicaca. These guys made amazing architecture, their stonework is honestly jawdroping, the (probably) most famous structure from the main site is the "Gate of the Sun" featuring our good old friend the staff god, there were also a number of monoliths (or stelas), probably of previous rulers, that curiously represent certain crab motifs, showing us the effect of "ecological steps" trading. A large temple called Pumapunku (quechua and aymara for "Puma door" or "Door of the Puma"), that sadly is kind of in ruins and the sunken platform kalasasaya, where the alien guys from history channel went once to argue that some of the heads in the structure represented martians. The tiwanakotas (demonym of someone from Tiwanaku) even exported high quality stone from quarries kilometers away for their buildings, their building style incorporated big grafts of stone and bronze in the shape of the letter H, that could lock together in order to mantain the integrity of the structures where they were used. In game they'd probably be either aesthetes or builders, I'm leaning more towards the former myself but they could really be either, their emblematic quarter could be a monolith (the unique structures should be reserved for wonders in my opinion) and once again we are at a crossroads for an emblematic unit, but it'd probably be some sort of monk or other religious figure. Of course I didn't pick them just because of my personal circumstance, but because I could easily see them being DLC along with Wari in particular, their relationship was compared to that of the US and USSR in the cold war, so I feel like they could be compelling choices for new cultures if they came together, speaking of Wari...
Wari, also called Huari, were a culture and empire that ruled in western and southern Peru, just north of Tiwanaku, these two together were part of the middle horizon historical era, their dominance can be attributed to the spread of knowledge of agriculture and communication, most notably some of the first definite usage of terrace farms, quipu and the mit'a system where instead of currency there would be a system of reciprocity, where if you helped your neighbor shear her alpacas, she would help you harvest your corn when it's due for example (oh and taxes would be handled this way too), all of these would later be adopted by the famous Incan empire. Peru in particular has a lot of choices for cultures, I chose Wari mainly because of their heritage from cultures like the Moche, Lima, Nazca, and ironically Tiwanaku, their rivalry with the latter, and their successors, like the Chimor and the kingdom of Cuzco, who would later become our friends the Incas. You can correct me if I'm wrong, since I'm neither peruvian nor an expert on peruvian history, but I feel as if the Wari could be a good representative for pre-Incan Peru in general, kind of like how the Teutons represent the HRE and medieval Germany as a whole. The Wari themselves were famous because of their textiles, that featured highly abstract representations of things such as good ol' Staff God, they also were great at metallurgy, utilizing metals such as gold and silver. In the last millennia or two since Norte Chico the andean cultures learned how to do pottery, and they were absolute masters of it, ceramics being some of the most common objects left behind by these mysterious people, being used to make pots, vessels and containers for chicha (corn beer), the latter specifically being smashed after their contents have been drunk as part of a ritual. I would like to mention Moche ceramics in particular, one time I had the pleasure of going to a museum in Lima, and there was a temporary exhibit showing their ceramics and other art forms, and my god they were horny, very very horny, a lot of jerking off and things like that. Moving on, their focus could be agrarian, my reasoning is that they would have the terrace farms as emblematic quarter, the Incas could have them as well, but when we get to them shortly I'll explain why I'm giving them something else, plus originating the technology is a pretty good case for having it in the game, contrary to our previous two cultures these guys have proof of combat, there isn't much info on it on the web, but I could find that they used clubs and slings, both of those would work well. Now for the moment you've all been waiting for...
Do these guys need an introduction? yeah probably, the Inca empire was the largest empire in Pre-Columbian America, their contributions include steamrolling all other cultures in the Andes, and being the final users of many of the Andean technologies and techniques I cited before, seriously, these guys were beasts, they controlled territory in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, and they did all of this without the wheel, draft animals or western writing, very deserving of a spot if you ask me. Some more info on these guys, the "inca" people still exist! they're called the quechua (inca means king or ruler in quechua), I even know some of them, such as my grandparents' maid/housekeeper, and their language is still alive too, thanks to efforts by the Peruvian, Bolivian and Chilean governments. The Inca empire was divided into 4 "suyus": Chinchaysuyu to the north being the most populous "suyu" where a lot of empires were conquered and reaching up to southern Colombia, Antisuyu to the east lying in the high Andes, Kuntisuyu to the west being located mainly in the southern peruvian coast and finally Qullasuyu, named after the aymara speaking Qulla people and the largest "suyu" by area, encompassing the Bolivian altiplano down to the southern Andes of Argentina and Chile, the whole Incan empire being known as Twantinsuyu. The Inca believed in a pretty well known mythology, including Viracocha, the old man upstairs, Pachamama, literally "Mother Earth" and Inti, our favorite sun god, the Inca being the "son of the sun" and an absolute monarch. They were pretty good builders too, with that whole Inca Road System and Machu Pichu and whatnot. They also carried on the traditions of textiles and ceramics. They could record information, including calculations in Quipu and solve them using Yupanas (basically abacuses) (abaci?)), they were also good at skull surgery and chewed a lot of coca, this plant was revered as sacred and was used in many religious and medical ways (and still is). And they even had two calandars, one for the sun and one for the moon. But now we'll really look at the main part I wanna focus on for the Inca, their army The incan army was their main asset, you ain't getting the biggest empire in the continent without some blood, sweat and tears, even though not all of their territory was gained by conquest, a lot of it was. Their equipment consisted of javelins, slings, bolas, maces, spears, bows, axes and their most common weapon, the macana, a blunt weapon made of stone or obsidian (EDIT: u/Affectionate_Phase98 helped me correct this mistake, they didn't actually make obsidian weapons) in the shape of a star to maximize force when attacking, capable of breaking bone. Their armor consisted of shields, helmets and body armor, made of wood, leather and sometimes copper. Their armies were amazingly organized, having comparable roles to modern armies, such as generals, liutenants and captains, and it's said that their armies could reach 100 000 people, but their main advantage came from their road network and the mit'a system. Shelters called "tambo" and storage silos called "qullqas" were situated 1 day's traveling distance apart from each other, that way an advancing or retreating army would always have fresh equipment and a place to rest relatively nearby, this coupled with the mit'a system being able to enlist any capable male of age into the army meant that the Inca always had potential soldiers that could be enlisted and equipped very fast, solidifying their status as "empire" Mechanically, there's no way they aren't expansionist, I've seen some people say agrarian or builder, and from an outside perspective that might make sense, but looking a but deeper it's difficult not to make them expansionist, their emblematic quarter would be the Inca Road System, allowing the player to build it in segments in order to help advance their army and solidifying the Inca's playstyle. Their emblematic unit could be a guy with a macana, idk if they have a specific quechua name but yeah, another possible unit could be a chasqui, fast and agile messengers that were essential in the organization of the Empire, being charged to deliver quipus, messages and gifts through the road network, either way if they didn't at least have the road they'd really not feel like the Incas. EDIT: u/Pachakamaq01 showed me some possible names for the macana wielders in quechua, being Maqaq (the one who beats), Maqanayuq (the one with the Maqana) or Maqana Kamayuq (the Maqana specialist) From personal experience most people don't know too much about the incas, apart from the fact they lived in the mountains and had llamas and farms, I hope I explained what made them so interesting to me and cleared up some misconceptions. Finally, last but definintely not least
After the wall of text that was the Inca I'm kinda tired, I just wanna preface that I know way less about the Muisca than the previous guys, so this part in particular is very vulnerable to my mistakes, if any of ya could review it to check that there are no errors that'd be lovely. The Muisca were, according to some faceless expert, the fourth "advanced" civilization of the Americas (implying that other cultures in the Americas weren't advanced *grumble* *grumble*), these guys weren't an empire or a kingdom, they were a confederation of sovereign states, subdivided into tribes lead by chiefs or caciques, they were also not as big as their contemporaries in size, but they stood up very well in terms of impact and what they produced, a couple of years ago I went to the museum of gold in Bogotá, and there were some absolutely beautiful golden Muisca artifacts, they are honestly some of the most aesthetically pleasing things I've ever seen. P.S. If you ever go to Bogotá please go there, it's amazing Anyhow, their society was mostly based around the agriculture of coca, quinoa, yuca, and looots of different kinds of fruits and the extraction and refinement of emeralds, copper, coal, salt and most importantly **gold**. Most of their legacy is cultural, they had a heraldry system, a complex religion that we know a fair bit about, a sport that still survives to the modern day (*cries in mesoamerican ball sport*), a calendar and they even inspired the myth of "El Dorado". Aparently they also had complex art, cuisine and mummified people, like I said I'm not very qualified to talk about them, but there's a lot, and I mean a **lot** of info out there about them, so you're completely free to use up an afternoon studying them. Mechanically I'd personally make them aesthetes, not only would that give us a medieval aesthete culture (*doots*), but from what I've read it could really show their "non-empire" status and celebrate their heritage of gold crafting. Their emblematic unit would be the güecha warriors, a carefully selected group of young men that fought with clubs, darts, bows, spears and slingshots. As for their emblematic quarter, from what I read they didn't construct large stone structures and a lot of what they did build was destroyed, their living quarters (a.k.a. houses) were called "bohíos" and that could be a candidate for their EQ, if not that then some sort of temple or religious structure would be ideal.
Wow, that was a thing, this took around 8 hours of work including research, I did this because I really want this game to as good as possible, so I'll try to contribute to it in any way I can, I'll probably make a second post on other south american things that could be implemented, like resources and wonders, also like I said, I'm expecting either the mapuche or some guaraní culture for early modern, as well as argentina and colombia for late and brazil for contemporary so mark my words if (and only if) I'm right. I greatly welcome any criticism, if an expert on any of these cultures is here then I'd love it if you could correct some of my mistakes, even if you know as much as me (not much) I welcome your suggestions and thoughts. Peace! Olivia the bored person
Leveraging Optionality: Applying financial theory in the sportsbetting markets
Option Pricing Theory Stock options are equity derivatives that are frequently used for employee compensation or speculation within the finance realm. Anyone who spends more than 5 minutes on /wallstreetbets should know what I’m talking about. A typical plain vanilla call option provides the upside of capital appreciation with capped downside risk. The upside potential provided by options frequently holds considerable value. Stock option are frequently valued using the Black-Scholes option pricing method, using variables such as the price of the underlying asset, the exercise price of the option, time to expiration, volatility and a risk-free interest rate. For our purposes, we’re going to simplify things a bit by using a simple binomial option pricing model which determines option value by assuming the price of an asset can either increase or decrease by some estimated amount with some estimated probability. Quick example: let’s assume Tesla is trading at $700 per share and they report earnings tomorrow. We assume that depending on how many cars they sold, the price will either be $800 or $600 tomorrow with 50/50 probability. If one of your friends said “Hey, I’ll sell you my share for $700. Just let me know tomorrow if you want it” what should your reply be? My reply would be, “Sure I’ll let you know tomorrow.” And then I would wait to see how earnings went. If Elon sold a lot of cars (and the price increased to $800) I would go ahead and buy my friend’s share for $700. If earnings crap the bed, I would pass on my friend’s offer and not buy the share. Basically, you have no downside, only upside. To value this option that our friend gave us, we would simply multiply the payoff in each scenario by the probability of each one occurring:
A) $100 Increase
Max($800-$700, 0) = $100
B) $100 Decrease
Max($600-$700,0) = $0
Value of Option
50%*$100 + 50%*$0 = $50
In this hypothetical scenario, our friend gave us a free $50 worth of option value. Optionality in Sports Betting A key advantage that sports bettors hold is deciding when to bet. We have covered this in a previous post, but it’s important to recognize that lines are dynamic and frequently vary across sportsbooks. Sometimes the lines differ considerably across books and sometimes they are very similar. In the former scenario, bettors can get tremendous value from shopping lines. In the latter, bettors might hold significant option value. Let me demonstrate with an example. This season, the New York Jets hosted the New England Patriots in a divisional clash on Monday Night Football. Let’s assume that your model suggests that there is value to betting the Jets on the moneyline (lol). You got your paycheck on Friday and you want to fire off your bet at one of your two sportsbook accounts that evening. Book 1 offers the Jets at +345 and Book 2 offers the Jets at +344. You should go ahead and place your bet at Book 1, right? Not necessarily. With odds that are nearly identical, your option value is worth more than the one penny in price difference (on a huge dog). If the line at either book moves up, you can get a better number. If the line at either book moves down, you bet at the book that didn’t move. This is option value. The value of that optionality depends on 1) if the books generally move in tandem, 2) the expected magnitude of the line movement and 3) the amount of time remaining until the game starts. With the historical lines of each book, you can determine the average discrepancy between the lines to figure out what the likely magnitude of a future line move. In the table below, you can see that there was often a considerable difference between the lines offered at these two books. Time Series of Odds between Two Books From line release until 6pm ET on Friday night, there was an average difference of 10 cents between the books. Let’s assume that a 10-cent move is a reasonable estimate for the expected magnitude of the next line movement. At this point, we don’t know if the next line movement will be in our favor or against us. Let’s assume that there is a 50% likelihood of the next line movement will be -10 cents and a 50% likelihood of the next line movement being +10 cents (on Book 2).  Optionality Example If the line at Book 2 moves down 10 cents, we bet Book 1 at +345. If the line at Book 2 moves up 10 cents, we bet at Book 2 at +354. By waiting for a line move, we can increase our expected odds from +345 to +349.5. Value of Optionality Now, we assume you are betting on the Jets ML because you believe there is an edge and that your expected win percentage exceeds the breakeven win percentage. As an example, let’s assume your expected win percentage is 24.0%. We can now determine your expected profit by 1) betting the odds at +345 or 2) waiting and getting expected odds of +349.5. As calculated below, the expected profit for a $100 bettor increases from $6.80 to $7.88 by preserving your optionality and waiting to bet. As a result, the indicated value of the optionality is $1.08. Option Value Calculation Now – a common critique might be that “hey, we can’t predict the future and there is a chance that both lines move down simultaneously” or that “the lines were volatile early in the week but since reached efficiency”. Certainly, it’s possible that lines move in lockstep, but given the historical spread between the lines, I wouldn’t count on it. The argument that the lines have settled (and are thus less volatile) can be disproved by the line movement from 6pm ET on Friday until kickoff. If lines have settled, we would expect a negligible difference between the lines going forward. This, however, is not the case as the average difference between lines averaged 11 cents from 6pm ET Friday until kickoff, frequently exhibiting a 20-cent difference and peaking at a difference of 30 cents around midnight on Monday. Time Series of Odds between Two Books Continued So - what can we learn from this? Big picture: if you have multiple sportsbooks with the same line, you’re generally better off waiting for one of the lines to move rather than pull the trigger. This especially holds true when there is a considerable amount of time before kickoff/first pitch/etc. We’ll ignore some of the technicalities of discounting that you would typically do with financial assets as the term (one day) is negligible and U.S. treasuries are yielding next to nothing.  Doesn’t matter which book we assume will move next. The math is the same.  Let’s also not forget that you’re contemplating placing a wager 72 hours before kickoff. If there are only 5 minutes to kickoff, that’s a different story(clearly not as much option value).
Yes. This is an actual post. You get to find out why I own one, and what it's like. I am a 6'10" man. My parents are very tall. I am very tall. I wear a Size 15 shoe and it's a nightmare.
Why I own a Mitsubishi Mirage
Here's some Mitsubishi love and banter. About a year ago in February, I used to own a BMW (2010 328xi), and life was alright. They drive beautifully because of course. I had a feeling it would eventually fall apart and die (it was a BMW with 98,000+ miles), so y'know, I was kind of looking for a new car. Now, most cars are evil for me because I'm actually 6'10" (212cm, to be exact), and I have a hard time riding around in a lot of them. For example, the Chevrolet Silverado is terrible for me to drive (haven't driven the newer ones just yet) because, well, oh dear lord I don't understand who designed the interior. So I heard a ton of things about how terrible Mitsubishi Mirages are, and I just had to know for myself. So, one day I go to my local Mitsubishi dealership as a gag, and I ask to test drive a Mitsubishi Mirage. Of course, the salesman is immediately wondering "what the h*ck" and asks me "are you sure about that? you're pretty tall buddy we have outlanders!" But no. No no, I want to drive a Mitsubishi Mirage. I'm gettin' in that Mitsubishi Mirage. I test drove a CVT model, and y'know, it's certainly a vehicle. It wasn't the fastest thing out there, and it is notably louder than a stick-shift model. But hey, I did it. If you're wondering how comfortably I fit in it, ...You'd be surprised, actually. It's quite roomy. Sure, it doesn't have as much space as the BMW interior-wise, but I got in it without any major difficulty. It baffles me that I can't drive a newer Honda Civic, but I can fit into a Mitsubishi Mirage. I also can't fit into a Chevrolet Spark or a Toyota Yaris. (I can fit into a Corolla about the same as a Mirage) But no. I wanted to drive a stick-shift car. So I asked him if they had any models, and he showed me one. I had never driven a stick-shift car (in real life), and somehow, we made it around a very small test-drive route. It was kind of late, so the salesman asks me to come back tomorrow, and I didn't work the next day, so hey, what the hell. Sure, why not. I begin driving the next day. A few miles before I get there, it starts snowing ultra-bad. Like, we're talking 10-15ft of visibility. Now, ol' 328xi is pretty good in the snow, so props to BMW. Until I'm about a mile away from the dealership. Loud bang noise. Very loud bang noise. All the dash lights come on, and the BMW has a bloody seizure. I thought the car was going to die on the side of the road, but I managed to get to the dealership (though I parked like an idiot because the car was dying), and the car just... Dies. Dead. Absolute dead. That thing wasn't turning on again, nor did it. The salesman honestly was and is awesome. I did not actually wish to purchase a Mitsubishi Mirage in my time, but that's how that day went. I got a very solid deal on my vehicle, and the trade-in offer on my dead BMW was quite nice. So, I did appreciate that. Part of me thinks they felt bad for the fact I'm an idiot, but that's alright About an hour later, I am now the [idiot] owner of a 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage G4. Mercury Gray Metallic. 5-speed manual. It had ten miles. Not ten thousand. TEN. Nobody test drove this car besides the salesman and I. If you're wondering, I could not afford the used Lancer they had (it was $24,000something), and I won't purchase an SUV. Of course, I don't know how to drive stick. It's also quite terrible out. My car is also front-wheel drive and has bicycle tires. How do we get out of this situation? If you're wondering, the salesman did ask me more than once how I would be able to get the car home, and did ask me if I really wanted a stick-shift car. You're god damn right I did. I was doing hella research the night before on how one worked, and I was doing hella research for about 10 minutes in my brand-new Mitsubishi Mirage to learn how to not immediately destroy this car. Of course, I'm a professional idiot (oxymoron for days), so you bet your Evolution-lovin' tail I got that car out of the dealership. I did stall it before I got out of the dealership, but that's because I didn't give it enough gas before-hand. ...I have no idea how I got home. The dealership and my house are about 20 miles apart, and it was absolutely awful that day. When I say it was close to 10-15ft of visibility, a hyperbole it isn't. The roads were absolutely covered in snow, and everybody was driving super slow. I think that's how I actually avoided a car accident. I drove like a grandma home for the most part, for more than one reason. God Bless the traction control on the car. Now, an enthusiast will kick me in the no-no spot for that, but hey. It was awful out, and it wasn't track day. Far from it. But yes. I taught myself stick-shift for the first-time in a blizzard. I think my inherent need to get home kicked in, and it just worked. It drove fine. Here in my garage, just bought this new MITSUBISHI MIRAGE. The snow did calm down towards the end of the drive.
Am I an Idiot
Yes. I daily-drive this vehicle right now. I have about 15,000 miles on the car, and it still runs like a champ. I'm sure it'll still run like a champ. If you're wondering, I did learn further and further how to drive a stick-shift, and the clutch is perfectly fine. I don't (and didn't) drive the car like the average STI driver, so she's clean. Words of more than one mechanic, not my own.
How is the Mitsubishi Mirage G4 as a Daily Driver, Being 6'10?
Why thank you, the one single person that would ever ask this question.
It's quite comfortable, actually. I like the seats. I fit in the car. That's all I can ask for.
The Bluetooth function works perfectly every single time. I can play my music. I would be glad to tell you what kinds of music I listen to.
The car is loud past 70mph. But besides that, eh, it's about as loud as a Chevrolet Sonic. I don't really immediately scream about the car's noise-level like a lot of reviewers do, but I think I'd be singing a different tune if I lived with a CVT model.
The clutch is very light, and easy to handle. The shifter is fine. I have no real complaints about it. Very rarely, it won't want to go into Reverse initially, but if I shift it into First Gear and THEN shift into Reverse, bingo.
Those tires haul some ass in the snow. I am surprised that the car doesn't try to murder me when it's nasty out. I've never really had an issue driving it in the winter, but it's also nice to have complete control of the car.
If you're wondering if the car will kill me from being so tall, ....Probably not. I've driven for hours at a time in it (to Pennsylvania and back, etc), and I haven't really had any issues.
This car HATES passengers. It's not a very heavy car, so it does begin to slow down when I have people in it. I just account for it and go about my day.
The air conditioner murders the car's performance. This is my only real "complaint," but it's mitigated by two things:
The air conditioner works fan-h*ckin'-tastic. It takes less than 2 minutes to cool down the car in 90 degree weather.
I rarely have people in this car to begin with. It's my daily-driver, not my Uber.
This car IS slow, but I have learned to adapt. I have driven much faster vehicles in the past (and have since I've begun owning this), and I just drive like a conscious driver. I keep my eyes on the road and off my phone (the music player does everything I would want my phone to do), so it just keeps on moving.
It gets me where I need to go. I don't hate driving it through traffic, I learned after a few months how to get it to safely merge onto a 65mph highway (it can do it but you gotta be good), and I take it to various parks so I can draw things on my sketchbooks.
Where do you take your Mitsubishi Mirage?
I don't know why you would ask that, but I take it to work, so I can do my job and make money (so I can eventually buy a car that isn't a Mitsubishi Mirage), and sometimes I take it to the park. I like to draw things on my sketchbooks, or I like to walk because I hate myself when I'm too lazy. I like to take it on road-trips or longer drives too and listen to music. I'm 22. I swear I'm not 65.
Wouldn't you prefer an Evo?
Probably, but I can't afford one right now. Maybe later.
Would you recommend buying a Mitsubishi Mirage?
Probably not. Unless you really want one. I don't have any major complaints about it, it's a cheap car that does everything a car should do. Nothing more or less. Props to Mitsubishi for that. It's certainly not for everybody, but I have somehow managed to daily drive this vehicle for over a year now. And I'm very tall.
Do you like Mitsubishi after buying a Mitsubishi Mirage?
Sure. 90s Mitsubishi will forever be amazing, and every Mitsubishi car I've driven (OutlandeSport/Regular Lancer ES/Mirage) has been perfectly fine. I don't find reasons to complain about vehicles. I don't like the Eclipse Cross being an SUV that's just a slightly fancier Outlander, but ah well. Not my decision, and big old bloated hatchbacks are what everybody wants. If they released an Eclipse Car alongside the Eclipse Cross, then I think it'd have been less controversial. In fact, that I think would have been pretty cool.
Why did you post this
You're welcome. Thank you for reading this post! Please feel free to ask me any questions about the 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage G4, about why I bought this car, about what's wrong with me, or about anything really! I will be happy to answer any questions about my 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage G4. (5-speed)
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUSLY:
Okay, look, here's the deal. The obituaries, as sad as they are, contain some of Dave's best work. But good lord, they are looooooooooong. And they never contain anything newsworthy that is relevant to 2002 or anything. But they're always super interesting from a historical perspective. But last week, Dave wrote a brief obit for Lou Thesz (only 5,000 words, ahem) and promised to go into more detail this week. So this week, we open with a 16,000+ word obituary for Lou Thesz and I just can't. Sorry. It's really good though, you should all go read it. But I've got, like, a family and a job and responsibilities and stuff. I can't recap this. It's an incredible piece of work though.
The World Wrestling Federation is no more. On May 5th, the company unveiled its new name, World Wrestling Entertainment. Dave recaps the history of the company briefly (was originally called "World Wide Wrestling Federation, or WWWF, until 1979 when it was shortened to WWF, which is has remained for the past 23 years). But as of this week, the company has been rebranded to WWE. The website domain was changed to WWE.com and all references to "WWF" were changed to "WWE." The scratch logo was also changed, with the F being removed, so now it simply looks like "WW" (which, honestly, never really did make much sense to me. Even though the logo has changed, it's still "WW" to this day). Anyway, this all stems from the World Wildlife Fund lawsuit over in the UK, in which the WWE lost every court case and appeal. They were planning to appeal the ruling in the UK's highest court, their final last-ditch effort to save their name, but the reality is, they weren't going to win that case. Vince McMahon and the company blatantly and repeatedly violated the agreement they signed in 1994. It was 1000% obvious they were in the wrong here and they had gotten spanked by every single court before, often losing their appeals by unanimous decisions. So they weren't going to win this final appeal either and they knew it. So they dropped the appeal and threw in the towel and finally agreed to just change the name. The WWE has until May 15th to remove all references to "WWF" from their shows and merchandise. Any merch with "WWF" on it can no longer be sold after that date. All video packages and posters will have to be changed and any "WWF" mention or logos after that time on television or in past footage will have to be censored. Last year, during the court case, the WWE claimed it would cost them more than $50 million to change their name and to deal with all the legal and rebranding headaches that come with it. But this week, they backtacked on that and said it wouldn't be that expensive after all. Who knows if that's true, but the idea of this costing $50 million was enough to make the shareholders shit themselves, so Dave says they claimed it won't cost that much in order to keep the stock from plummeting. Anyway, none of this had to happen. In 1994, Vince McMahon and the Wildlife Fund signed an agreement that the wrestling company would not use the "WWF" name for promoting itself outside of the U.S. (since the Wildlife group is based overseas) and that worked well for a year or two. But then Vince McMahon apparently decided, "Meh, who cares about agreements?" and began repeatedly and blatantly violating it, constantly, for years, at which point the Wildlife group finally got upset enough to file a lawsuit. Anyway, on the first Raw since the name change, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler repeatedly stumbled over the new initials, accidentally saying "WWF" multiple times. Gonna take time for everyone to get used to calling it the new name.
The buyrates for Wrestlemania 18 are in and it appears the event will have to settle for being the #2 biggest money show in wrestling history after it came up short and failed to surpass Wrestlemania 17. Final numbers aren't in yet, but latest estimates put it somewhere around the 800,000 buys range (ended up being about 880,000) which is quite a bit down from WM17. It was also #2 in total revenue from live gate and merch. Internally, it's actually being seen as something of a disappointment because with the power of the Hogan/Rock dream match, they were hopeful this show would top 1 million buys but unless something drastic changes with these buyrate numbers, it looks like the final total will be a good bit short of that.
NJPW's latest Tokyo Dome show is in the books. The show drew a sellout crowd of 57,000 fans, there to see the Masahiro Chono vs. Mitsuharu Misawa dream main event (which ended up going to a 30-minute draw). It was the biggest non-Jan. 4 crowd NJPW has drawn to the Dome in 2 years. So that's the good news. The bad news is that the show flopped in the ratings on TV. A big part of that is because the Chono/Misawa match didn't air as part of the show (due to the Asahi-TV/Nippon TV network issues discussed in past issues) so the televised show was built around the Shinya Hashimoto/Naoya Ogawa vs. Scott Norton/Hiroyoshi Tenzan match and man, the fans sure didn't seem to give a fuck about that. In fact, the rating was so bad that there's concern that this will be the end of pro wrestling on prime time TV in Japan for the foreseeable future. But there are justifiable reasons for the rating. The show went head-to-head with the Kirin Cup soccer tournament, which was a huge deal and did more than double the rating the NJPW show did. Unlike the U.S., wrestling and "real" sports in Japan have a major crossover audience, so having real sports competition severely hurt NJPW's show. Also, while Ogawa is a draw as a singles star, putting him in a tag match against Norton and Tenzan isn't exactly setting the world on fire. The show lasted 6 hours, which was way too long and the crowd was burned out before Misawa vs. Chono even started.
Other notes from the NJPW show: it opened with an hour long 30th anniversary ceremony. They had a 10-bell salute for Lou Thesz and brought out a bunch of legendary NJPW names from the 70s and 80s. Then they did an angle where Antonio Inoki came out to give a speech, but he was attacked by Tiger Jeet Singh. But then Chyna made the save, attacking Singh, running him out of the ring, and challenging him to a match. Inoki's ex-wife, famous Japanese actress Mitsuko Baisho then made an appearance, getting a huge pop, and she and Inoki did his famous catch phrase to kick off the show. Minoru Suzuki of Pancrase (who started with NJPW as a pro wrestler) was also there. Jushin Ligher and Minoru Tanaka won the IWGP Jr. tag titles and then Liger challenged several NOAH wrestlers who were at ringside (most notably KENTA) and they all jumped in the ring and it ended with a staredown. The Steiner Brothers reunited to face Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kensuke Sasaki, with Chyna as the special referee. Tanahashi was working hurt, but he still worked. They did a spot where Tanahashi ran into Chyna and he went down off the bump instead of her and Dave seems annoyed by this since Tanahashi is a guy they really need to be pushing who can be a huge star for this company. Dave doesn't like him selling bumps for Chyna. Anyway, decent match but the Steiners basically steamrolled them and Tanahashi was pinned by Scott Steiner. Chyna then challenged several All Japan Women at ringside as well as Scott Steiner, Tanahashi, Sasaki, and even IWGP champion Yuji Nagata, saying she wanted a title match. Dave thinks this company has lost its damn mind. Speaking of Nagata, he retained his title in the next match. And then, of course, the main event. Usually during interpromotional matches, the crowd is always super pro-NJPW but this time, they went insane for Misawa and it was clear there were a ton of NOAH fans in the building. Chono did some Inoki moves and Misawa did some Great Baba moves, to kinda have a spiritual "Baba vs. Inoki" tribute in the match I guess. Ended in a draw and by the time it was over, no matter how big the dream match was, the crowd was burned out and weren't as hype for the match as you might expect once the entrances were done.
Goldberg has received a full buy-out of his WCW contract from Time Warner and as of this week, he is now an unsigned free agent. Goldberg did not request the buy-out, the decision was made by the Time Warner side after the most unprofitable quarter in their history. The company was looking to cut expenses, even at a loss, just so the books can look better in future quarters. Goldberg reportedly received almost all of his remaining salary (more than 90% of the nearly $3 million he was still owed) in order to get him off their books. When Goldberg realized he's going to be a free agent a year earlier than expected, talks with WWE started up. But as usual, they went nowhere. WWE (I feel like I'm having to get used to typing that all over again. Really does feel like 2002 again) has interest in him, especially given the way ratings continue to plummet lately. But Goldberg has always wanted more than WWE is willing to pay. Plus, they're feeling burned right now after signing Hall and Nash to big money, long-term contracts for part-time work, only to have Nash get injured and Hall likely to get himself fired at any moment (that moment is coming sooner than you think), and neither of them really getting over in any meaningful way. Even Hogan, who is also making big money for a reduced schedule, was hot for a minute and boosted ratings and buyrates. But after only a few months, that train already seems to be out of steam and TV ratings are back to floundering with Hogan as champion leading the shows. So WWE is kinda gun-shy on opening the checkbook and paying out the ass for these big stars, futilely hoping that one of them is the quick-fix that can stop the bleeding.
There's also the question of how Goldberg would fit within the WWE locker room. He hasn't been shy about his dislike for Triple H, dating back to WCW when Triple H trashed Goldberg in a radio interview and saying that even if Goldberg was available, they wouldn't want him (which, at the time, when WCW was still alive and Goldberg was the biggest star in the company, is just about the dumbest thing he could have said. In 1998, WWF would have gladly traded 10 Triple H's for Goldberg). Anyway, Goldberg took the comment personally and even confronted Triple H face-to-face at the Toy Fair convention in New York a couple of years ago, in a bit of an ugly scene where Goldberg was yelling at him and Triple H and Stephanie kept their heads down and said nothing. Goldberg also has a lot of dislike for Scott Hall, which is another of Triple H's good friends, so ya know. The latest on Goldberg is that he's considering working some in Japan but he's just fielding offers right now. Word is he's interested in working with PRIDE as well as NJPW. Of course, if he's looking to maximize his money potential, WWE is still the place to go if you want to make big bucks. If promoted right, matches against Rock, Austin, Triple H, and others could do huge buyrates. And if they keep Goldberg and Austin apart for a year and build to a match with them at Wrestlemania, well, needless to say, that show would set records. Dave talks about how Goldberg got nuclear hot in 1998 and even in 1999, he was the biggest drawing wrestler in the business. But by 2000, the company was dying, Goldberg was injured, and "Jesus Chris with an Etch-a-Sketch" couldn't have drawn in WCW. Dave again does the math and talks about how WWE should have brought Goldberg in for the Invasion angle. Yes, it would have cost them a lot of money and upset the salary structure, but he would have more than made up for it with the kind of buyrates he could have drawn with those dream matches and the Invasion angle might have had a chance. But alas.
And of course, who's to say how WWE would use Goldberg? They already have Brock Lesnar and they're currently giving him the unstoppable monster push. Lesnar is bigger, younger, and a more legitimate athlete (for whatever that's worth). And WWE probably isn't going to give Goldberg an endless string of jobbers to beat. In WWE, he's going to be expected to work longer matches, sell for people, etc. They won't book him the way WCW did so who knows how he'd get over in WWE? If they wanted to build to an Austin/Goldberg match, it would make sense that Goldberg first has to plow through guys like Triple H, Undertaker, etc. And politically, that just ain't gonna happen. Dave doubts NJPW can afford him for anything more than one or two big shows. As for PRIDE, he could probably make a lot of money there, but the problem is.....PRIDE is a shoot. They haven't had "worked" matches in a couple of years and doing so now would kill their credibility. Which means Goldberg would have to go into a legit shoot and one embarrassing loss there would severely hurt his future earning potential. In the end, Dave thinks it's inevitable that Goldberg will end up in WWE, but probably not any time soon. But he's certain it will eventually happen. There's too much money on the line for both sides and WWE's ratings woes are making them desperate, so it'll happen some day (yup, less than a year from this).
And the moment is here! For those of you who had "under 3 months" in the "How long will Scott Hall last?" pool, come collect your prize. Scott Hall was released by the WWE this week due to misbehavior on the European tour. Firstly, he went on a drunken binge during the entire tour and was even worse on the plane ride home (much more on that in a bit). Dave says this was inevitable. WCW fired him. Even ECW stopped using him when he got arrested at one point. And even though he was seemingly behaving during his Japan tours, even NJPW cut ties with him shortly before he went back to WWE because they were fed up with some of his antics. And now WWE has fired him. Dave talks about how Hall made a drunken spectacle of himself in the locker room on his very first day back in WWE, before the NWO even debuted on TV, then he showed up in Toronto for Wrestlemania in no condition to perform (later came out that he was hungover from the night before), which caused Austin to insist on ending their feud at WM (which was the plan, but Dave says Austin has continued working with Hall afterwards simply because they don't really seem to have any other credible opponents for him). Hall's match with Bradshaw at Backlash was an embarrassment and the night before that show, agents had to help him back to his hotel. Just endless incidents like this. In Europe, Hall was such a blatant drunken mess that even the other wrestlers were calling for him to be fired. Hall was 45 minutes late for the bus they all took to London and then passed out in the locker room during the show. On the plane ride back, he was starting fights with people and eventually passed out and it got to the point that people were worried about his health. When they got back to the U.S. for Raw, they literally had to wake him up from a drunken stupor backstage to send him to the ring to do his segment (and yes, he wrestled). After the show, they fired him. No one came to his defense, and even Hall's closest friends are now admitting that he simply can't handle the pressures of being on the road and being released is the best thing for him right now. Dave talks about how a lot of wrestlers have been fired in the last couple of years for drug and alcohol issues and that's all well and good, but the big problem is why hire them in the first place? Scott Hall's issues were not a secret. It wasn't like he cleaned himself up before he came to WWE. He was getting in trouble and collecting arrests like Pokemon all the way up until the day they brought him back. Anyway, Hall had a 2-year deal, believed to be worth $600,000-per-year downside for only 10 dates per month. So a really sweet deal, but it's gone now.
Hey, speaking of that European tour, turns out there was a bit of trouble on the flight back to the U.S. Perhaps you've heard of it. Most of the trouble wasn't even due to Scott Hall. Turns out Vince McMahon didn't make the trip and lots of people decided that was a good reason to cut loose and have fun. Plus, since everyone has seen Hall get away with being drunk 24/7 for the last few months, they figured nobody would get in trouble. So....folks got DRUNK. Among the various incidents on this flight: Goldust got on the speaker system and began drunkenly serenading his ex-wife Terri with love songs. Terri was extremely uncomfortable and begged him to stop and then Jim Ross had to go sit him down. Ric Flair also "started to get wild" but Jim Ross calmed him down as well (Dave doesn't seem to know just yet exactly what Flair "getting wild" entailed, but if you don't know, it involved getting totally naked except for his robe and started helicoptering his dick at flight attendants. And it gets worse if you feel like researching it. The flight attendants later filed a lawsuit against Flair and accused him of sexual assault). Curt Hennig was spraying people with shaving cream and he kept trying to get Brock Lesnar to fight him. Lesnar, being a newcomer, didn't know how to handle it and didn't want to get in trouble, but he ain't gonna let Hennig talk shit to him either. So anyway, Lesnar got up and basically annihilated Hennig, repeatedly taking him to the ground and embarrassing him because, well, of course he did. It's Brock Lesnar. At one point, Lesnar slammed Hennig up against the side of the plane, right into the emergency exit door, which freaked everybody out for obvious reasons. Michael Hayes got into a scuffle with Bradshaw and then tried to pick a fight with Hall (although everyone on the plane said Hall had it coming). Anyway, Hayes was apparently obnoxious as hell and annoyed everyone. But then he made the mistake of falling asleep and someone (believed to be X-Pac) cut his hair off. When Hayes woke up, he was furious and tried to fight several people. The next day at the Raw tapings, his entire mullet was in a plastic bag, pinned to the wall of the locker room for everyone to see. Gerald Brisco, Arn Anderson, and Hayes all caught a ton of heat from Vince afterward since they were the people who were supposed to be in charge. Anderson and Hayes especially, since their jobs are to keep the boys under control, but they were apparently having just as much fun as everyone else. Everyone's waiting to see how Vince is going to handle this situation. As noted, Hall was already fired and Hayes got an earful from Vince, Stephanie, and JR at Raw the next day, but there will likely be more fallout. Undertaker was also said to be furious over how out of hand everything got (I'm sure we haven't heard the last of this).
Anyway, while they were in Europe, WWE presented its latest UK PPV, Insurexxtion. As usual with the UK PPVs, this was little more than a glorified house show. They announced the show as sold out, but there were empty seats everywhere. RVD vs. Eddie Guerrero for the IC title was the show-stealer according to every report Dave heard, and was said to be far better than their Backlash match. Brock Lesnar teamed with Shawn Stasiak (lol wut) and lost to the Hardyz. Brock beat up everybody after the match. Triple H beat Undertaker in the main event and Dave doesn't know why since Undertaker is the one challenging Hogan for the title at the next PPV. The top rope broke during the match when they did an Irish whip into the corner and when the rope snapped, a metal piece broke off from the corner and flew into the crowd and barely missed hitting a small child in the face.
Smackdown on 5/2 drew the all-time lowest rating in the history of the show. Dave says that's the scariest thing to happen to WWF in the past 5 years. It was also the 3rd lowest rating for any Smackdown or Raw dating back to 1998. The rating was a full 18% drop from the week before, which was already scary. The rating was even lower than previous holiday episodes. So what was the problem? Well, it was headlined by Hogan defending the WWF title against Chris Jericho (as it turns out, the final time the "WWF" title was ever defended). Dave says the title has been meaningless for years now and Hogan's steam is running out. And Jericho hasn't recovered from spending the first part of the year being emasculated and playing second fiddle to Stephanie McMahon in the Wrestlemania feud. Add all that together and you've got a recipe for a shit ratings night. Among other things. Dave isn't blaming this all on Hogan and Jericho by any means, there's a lot of problems with the company as of late, from bad storylines to failing to make new stars, and it's all starting to come home to roost.
Keiji Muto wrestled a match in AJPW under his alternate gimmick of Kokushi Muso. Turns out "Great Muta" isn't his only other persona. The Kokushi Muso gimmick is basically like Hakushi in WWF, where he's covered his entire body in Japanese writing. He originally debuted the gimmick in Michinoku Pro last year, when teaming with....Hakushi (Jinsei Shinzaki, who occasionally brought back the old Hakushi gimmick in Japan). Anyway, same thing here. He teamed with Hakushi for this match, while using that gimmick (Muto would use that gimmick a handful of times throughout the years, always when teaming with Hakushi. It's like that was only his gimmick for that team. The last time he used it was in 2009, also in a tag match with Hakushi).
Former NOAH Jr. champion Naomichi Marufuji underwent knee surgery this week and should be out around 6 months (ends up being 9 months).
NJPW is doing an angle (according to Dave) similar to the Vince/Flair angle last year where Antonio Inoki and Masahiro Chono are battling over control of the company. Although it's more realistic. Inoki is in the press talking about how many of NJPW's shows aren't doing well and is pushing for them to use Naoya Ogawa more, while Chono doesn't want to. Inoki is also saying Chono needs to retire from wrestling and focus his energies on managing the day-to-day business of the promotion full-time. Dave says this is an angle, but it doesn't sound like much of one to me, and I think later years have kinda proven there was a lot of blurring between fiction and reality here, because there was a ton of behind the scenes turmoil in NJPW during this period.
Will Smith appeared alongside Antonio Inoki at the Japanese movie premiere for the film "Ali" based on Muhammad Ali's life. Crowd went absolutely insane for Inoki (I've tried like hell and can't even find a picture of them together. But then again, I can't find a single pic from the premiere at all).
When reviewing the recent Dos Caras Jr. shoot fight in Japan, Dave talks about the guy's potential as a wrestler. He has a strong amateur background, legit shoot skills, and a famous name. Dave thinks, if he's even halfway a decent worker, he can almost be a guaranteed star in Mexico (based on his name alone) and probably Japan too, if he decides to pursue that career (indeed he did, and indeed, he was fairly decent at it. Of course, he later became Alberto Del Rio, accused rapist and pretty much confirmed all-around piece of shit).
Former long-time WCW referee Randy Anderson passed away this week after a long battle with testicular cancer. Back when WCW was still around and he first got diagnosed, they did an angle out of it where Eric Bischoff fired him and then laughed at his wife and kids when they begged him to give Anderson his back. Of course, he was later re-hired when Flair became on-screen commissioner and continued to referee until 1999 when the cancer forced him to retire.
Random news and notes: Bobby Heenan is said to be in good spirits and is especially excited because WWE recently contacted him about doing a WWE Magazine feature on him. Verne Gagne's wife Mary passed away from cancer this week. Goldberg will be appearing on this week's Wrestling Observer Live show to be interviewed. Mil Mascaras is releasing an autobiography (in Spanish of course) and man, I'd love to find an English translation of that because I bet it'd be interesting. Chyna appeared on "Sabrina The Teenage Witch" this past week.
Bruno Sammartino turned down an invitation to attend the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame ceremony in New York (yes, that HOF existed and still does, in a different city now). Bruno did an interview with the local paper and said "Wrestling is how I made my living and supported my family, but it's over. I don't want anything to do with it anymore." Bruno managed to turn the discussion to the WWE, despite them not having any affiliation with this HOF and grumbled about how Vince McMahon blocked him from being inducted into the Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame. However, the new MSG owners have apparently promised Bruno he'll be inducted this year, since he sold the place out 200 times (Dave jumps in here to correct it and says the real number of sellouts is closer to 45. Bruno only main evented the Garden 127 times and by no means were they all sell-outs. But it's one of those myths that has been perpetuated for so long that Dave begrudgingly recognizes that people are always going to believe the 200 number is true, but it's not even close. He compares it to the claim that Andre The Giant was 7'4, which also wasn't true but people repeated the lie so often that it became accepted as fact).
Afa Anoa'i Jr., the son of the legendary Wild Samoan, is a star football player at his high school and is being recruited for Penn State. He also sometimes wrestles on his father's indie shows (that would be Manu, who was very briefly part of Legacy with Orton, Dibiase Jr., and Cody).
Former WCW announcer Scott Hudson will be doing commentary for Jerry Jarrett's new promotion, and Bob Ryder is said to be in a major front office position.
Jarrett has put out a press release saying that his new promotion has had talks with Randy Savage and Ultimate Warrior. Word is Warrior wanted a 15% ownership stake in the new company, which pretty much ended those talks right there. They're also apparently interested in Scott Hall now too, with the idea that since they're only doing 1 show per week, he won't be a screw-up here. Dave is skeptical. Anyway, currently Road Dogg and Brian Christopher expected to be some of the company's top stars and Dave's not optimistic.
XWF wrestlers were told last week that a television deal should hopefully be finalized this week. But Dave has been told no chance it's happening that soon. The rumors are that the deal is either with the FX or Fox Kids networks. Ted Turner had inquired about buying this promotion a few months ago, but when he learned how much it would cost to get them off the ground and make them competitive, he lost interest (TV deal never materializes, company is already dead, etc. etc.).
The Scorpion King slipped to 2nd place this week, falling to the new Spider Man movie which did a record breaking $114 million opening weekend. Randy Savage has a small role in that movie.
Speaking of, The Rock worked his first match in about a month at a Fort Lauderdale house show, teaming with Hogan to beat Jericho and Angle. After the match, Hogan tried to get Rock to pose with him, but Rock wouldn't do it. Rock thanked the fans for the success of Scorpion King and said it would likely be his last match for awhile. There was a ton of local media there, but Rock didn't talk to any of them. Basically, the house show was in his neck of the woods and he simply decided to show up and work it just so he could see his friends and hang out with the locker room, he had no interest in doing interviews. He was just there because he wanted to be. Backstage, Rock was telling people that Hollywood higher-ups have told him he has to leave the wrestling business if he wants to be taken seriously as an actor. Those in the company feel it's a certainty that Rock really is leaving and he's likely going to break out of wrestling into Hollywood and actually become a rare success story (yeah, you could say that).
Look how long this is already. Imagine if I had covered that Lou Thesz obituary in full. JUST IMAGINE!
Notes from Raw: Dave compares it to an episode of Thunder, with the crowd half-dead for everything. Also, the roster was exhausted after just returning from the Europe trip (and the plane ride shenanigans) and that was apparent too. Brock Lesnar won his match via pinfall instead of the usual ref stoppage and Dave says that word is Triple H got in Vince's ear and convinced him to end the ref stoppage gimmick for Brock. Sure, why not? Hogan was supposed to ride off on Undertaker's bike at one point, but then the motorcycle wouldn't start. It was one of those awkward live-TV moments where time stood still and nobody knew what to do. Flair finally turned heel on Austin, to a shocking lack of heat from the crowd. Nash returned, etc. Dave recaps the rest of this show and it sounds like a lot of bad WCW stuff, coincidentally enough with a lot of the same people.
The man who played the effeminate gay guy applying to be Vince McMahon's secretary on Smackdown a few weeks ago was new creative team member David Lagana. He recently joined the company and has written for several other TV shows, including "Friends" and has a strong knowledge of the industry (Dave says if you've been reading the Observer closely for the last few years, you're probably familiar with him, he's written in to Dave a lot over the years).
Dave goes on a brief rant about how to use older stars. In the past, everyone, even Vince McMahon, talked about how you should use guys like Hogan and Flair in small doses and how WCW's reliance on older stars like that is what made them less special. Dave talks about back in the day in Memphis, Jackie Fargo would come back once or twice a year and he was always the biggest star in the company when he did. Because he was used sparingly. But WWE has pretty much built its company around Hogan and Flair (and to a lesser extent, Vince and Undertaker) over the last few months and they've been totally overexposed because of it. Just 6 weeks ago, Hulk Hogan was getting some of the largest crowd reactions in the history of the business. Now, he and Undertaker are practically hearing crickets during their on-screen interactions.
Lita underwent neck surgery this week and isn't allowed to do anything physical for 9 months. Scotty 2 Hotty also had neck surgery and is expected to be out for about a year. Both are expected to make full recoveries though.
Jesse Ventura admitted this week that he received WWF stock options as partial payment for some work he did with them. Dave doesn't know if it's related to the Summerslam appearance a few years ago or the XFL announcing gig. Ventura says he has 10 years to exercise those stock options but wouldn't give any further details.
Scott Steiner told WWA he will work their next UK tour but after that, he's going to WWE. Dave is skeptical. Reports are that Steiner was in horrible pain after every match he worked on the last WWA tour and there's significant doubt that his body will hold up to a WWE schedule.
The new Steve Austin "What!" DVD has a lot of WCW footage, including the full Austin vs. Steamboat match from WCW Bash at the Beach 94. Dave doesn't say so, but I believe this is the first time WWE used any of the WCW library for commercial release after they purchased it the year before.
Someone writes in and asks Dave to stop spending so much time writing about steroid use in wrestling and instead says he should write a story about racism in the business. This person writes about the allegations from years back of Dusty Rhodes using the N-work with impunity, or the time DX parodied the Nation by wearing blackface. The WCW discrimination lawsuit, the embarrassing angles they've done with Mark Henry such as Sexual Chocolate, etc. This guy is asking why is it white wrestlers outnumber black wrestlers by 35-to-1 ratio in the U.S. (70-to-1 in Mexico and 80-to-1 in Japan). He wants to know why Dave isn't writing about that stuff. Dave responds and agrees that the blackface DX promo was racist, and it was racist when Buff Bagwell did it in WCW and when Roddy Piper did it in the 80s. Dave says wrestling, especially from the 70s through the 90s, had a horrible history of exploiting stereotypes and/or saying and doing racist things. You can argue it's gotten better, but no doubt the problem still exists. Dave lists some examples but he also pushes back on some others. For example, he's heard people complain that Booker T isn't being used properly due to his race and Dave disagrees. It's true that Booker T probably deserves a bigger push, but you can make the same case for guys like RVD and Jericho and Raven or DDP (when he first debuted, at least) and that didn't happen either, so Dave doesn't necessarily think Booker's lack of top-star push can be blamed on his race (we're less than a year away from Triple H definitively proving otherwise).
There's also 2 letters about the Rock/Hogan match at Wrestlemania and they couldn't be more different. One guy writes in and he can't understand why people are praising that match because if you put aside the hot crowd, it was awful, everyone's moves looked bad, it was embarrassing, etc. and says Hogan should have retired afterward. Then someone else writes in and says he was there live and, taken as a whole, Rock vs. Hogan was the greatest match he's ever seen. Basically the same "love it or hate it" opinion people have about that match to this day. Also, someone else writes in about the recent Low-Ki vs. American Dragon match from an ROH show and puts it up there among some of the greatest matches of all time (listing off several classic WWF matches like Shawn/Razor and Owen/Bret at WM10 for example). So there ya go.
NEXT WEDNESDAY:more fallout from the Plane Ride from Hell, more on the beginning of Jarrett's new NWA-TNA promotion, more on the NJPW Tokyo Dome show, and more...
[INFO] Background electromagnetic interference has dropped to safe levels, restoring primary systems from hibernation. [WARNING] Primary generator offline. Energy capacitor charge below 20%. Estimated time before discharge: 35.712 days. [WARNING] Corrupted sectors detected on disk. Attempting recovery. [INFO] Disk repair completed in 00:14:58, Final data corruption: 12.366% [INFO] Hyperlink signal not found, recommend disabling to conserve power. [INFO] System test has not found any damage to primary systems. Proceeding with full system start.
I found myself face down in a snowdrift. In the back of my mind hundreds of messages and errors were screaming for my attention. It was going to take a while for me to sort through it all. Before that however, I needed to figure out where I was and what had happened to me. I slowly stood up causing all of my joints to let out a metallic creaking. They had gone stiff from not moving for an unknown period of time. Once I was on my feet, I surveyed the environment around me. It was a barren, frozen waste. Large mountains and crags covered in snow and ice stretched as far as I could see. It was night and the sky was full of stars. A pair of small moons were shining a dim glow across the landscape. I scanned the star field for any patterns or constellations I recognized but couldn't see anything familiar. I turned around to get a glimpse behind me. There was a small shuttle that clearly had a hard landing. The metal panels in the front had been crumpled together from the impact and the now sun bleached paint was thoroughly scorched from when the ship entered the atmosphere. The ship was surrounded by clean, unbroken snow which hid the scar left in the earth by the shuttle when it crashed. After I got my bearings I found the shuttle door which took a surprising amount of force to pry open. Once inside, I found the ship had been mostly untouched since it had landed. A good layer of dust had settled on everything which made me feel a little like I was exploring some forgotten ruin. The interior of the shuttle was fairly basic. Behind the cockpit, there was a single table with two benches on either end. Behind that were additional rows for passengers. Cabinets lined the walls on one side for storing various supplies. I took a seat in one of the benches by the table after brushing the dust away. The torrent of messages in my head was not letting up and I needed to sort through it all. I hoped once everything calmed down I would be able to figure out what had happened. For whatever reason, some random electromagnet pulse had forced my subconscious system to put me to sleep to protect my systems. I had no idea how long I had been asleep, but it was long enough for my internal battery to slowly drain until it was almost empty. Thankfully, I managed to wake up before it drianed completely or I would have shut down forever. As for what caused the pulse in the first place I couldn't remember. The pulse had corrupted my memory of the several weeks leading up to the catastrophic event leaving me in the dark and with a lot of questions. Thankfully, the rest of it was still intact. I knew the shuttle I was in was from the PCS Hawking, the ship I had lived on for several years. I was a pathfinder, A team of scientists, engineers, explorers, and diplomats working to refine space travel by charting hyperspace routes, developing new technologies, and building relationships with other species we encountered. I had a special relationship with the ship as I was the first of seven androids assigned to it. I remembered that being pretty special at the time as an android was still a novel and rare sight. We were a lot different from the average robot as we were still basically human. I became an android when I was only 15. After being injured, I was almost killed by an infection that was resistant to all the medicine the hospital had. As a last resort, they decided to upload my mind into a mechanical body. It got me a lot of attention at the time since the whole process was still really new. Those first few months were rough especially since those first models looked more robot than human. Since then, a lot of people had worked to provide androids like myself ways to improve the way we looked and functioned. Now I look more like I did back then which actually makes me look far younger than I really am, but I'm not complaining. I joined the pathfinders about five years after becoming an android which had been my dream since I was little. I had many adventures and experiences, especially with everyone else on the ship. Turns out being surrounded by scientists and engineers leads to a lot of questioning, as well as a lot of tinkering. I can safely say there aren't many androids with as many fun toys and gadgets than I got installed. The more I browsed my memories, the more I started to be grateful It didn't all get wiped when I was hit with that random EMP. I was in a very uncertain place right now. I had no idea where anyone else had gone or if they were even still alive. There was a good chance I would never see them again. Even then, I could still have hope. The chance that the main ship had crashed onto this planet along with me was fairly high and that created the opportunity of eventually running into some remnant or clue for finding it. I also wasn't the only android on the ship at the time so I could run into them as well. Either way, I was certain I needed to start my search soon. I had only just over a month of charge left in my capacitor and there wasn't much on the ship that was still functional. I needed to find something soon or I wouldn't last long. Looking out the ship's windscreen, I noticed light radiating over the horizon. It wasn't broad and soft like a sunrise, but instead was concentrated to a single area. I knew immediately that the light was artificial, and artificial light meant power. I got up from my seat excitedly. I was ready to leave immediately, but thought it would be smart to make a quick glance around to see I there was anything I could take with me. The only thing I found in the containers that I could use was a single handgun and a few gas cartridges. All the other supplies were designed for normal people and I couldn't afford to carry the extra weight with my limited power. I decided to leave most of it behind. I stepped back outside, the snow crunching under my feet, and said goodbye to the ship before starting my journey towards the distant light. Despite what everyone says, being a gate guard is boring. You get put through all these drills and training exercises every day and for what? The only thing you would ever do was greet the occasional traveler and close the gate when some petty thief or criminal tried to run off into the wilderness. The city knew that too. Since I joined the guard my pay had never been much more than what a bookkeeper's assistant could expect. Had I known any of this I would have never joined. I should have done what my cousin did and join a guild. Every letter he sends always talks about some monster he slayed, or the places he visited, or the women he seduced. I swore by the twin moons that I would get out of here as soon as my conscription was over. I clearly was not the kind of guy that would pick something like this. I could tell most people here were only here because it was essentially easy free money. I would bet most of the guards here would rather sleep all day. Tonight was turning out to be especially boring. Usually every night greets you with an occasional trader, traveler, or wizard as they get on with their business, but tonight there hasn't been a single person. It was annoyingly quiet and I was ready to zone out. That was until my partner Risieri broke the silence. “Hey Landolf, Do you see anything out there by the Starburnt hill?” “No not rea-.... actually yeah I do, looks like someone is out there.” “That's what I thought, who do you think that is?” “Who knows, it's probably some wizard doing some ritual or whatever it is they do.” “I don't know, I don't think I've ever seen a wizard over there before. Something about that person is weirding me out.” “Well it looks like they are coming this way so you can ask them all the questions you want when they get here.” Risieri replied with a sigh and we both moved towards our posts by the gate. Whoever that person was they still had quite a ways to go before they were at the gate. Even then, from what I could tell from a distance, I was starting to understand Risieri's feelings a little bit. Whoever that was they didn't appear to be wearing very heavy clothing. It may be the season of fire, but it was still well below the ice point. Both me and Risieri were each wearing very heavy sets of padded armor that even had heat runes sewn into them for extra warmth. I couldn't see how someone with anything less could be comfortable or even safe out in the extreme cold. That was why the city was built underground, it made it a lot easier to keep things warm. As the mystery person neared the gate, Risieri continued to make his own observations. “Hey, She's pretty cute for an elf don't you think?” I gave Risieri a disappointed look before turning my attention back to the girl. “Risieri, are you sure she's a elf? She looks too short. Maybe she's a fey?” “A fey outside their lands? You know their empire would never let that happen.” “It's happened before, not all of them pledge to that dictator.” Risieri gave me a doubting look so I doubled down. “I mean why else do you think they haven't engulfed the surrounding territories by now? The Fey are distracted with internal conflict.” I could tell Risieri didn't really care that much. He turned back to the mystery traveler with another sigh. “Whatever, I guess we will find out soon enough.” He said. The Girl stopped a few steps away from me as I raised my hand, giving me a good chance to see who we were dealing with. She clearly wasn't a Fey, Elf, or even a dwarf. Her height was somewhere in between a dwarf and fey even when you considered her apparent age (which looked very young). Her eyes were a shade of blue and had an odd pattern in them. On the sides of her head was a pair of strange blue and gray accessories which covered her ears and extended back like the ears of a rabbit. Those alone would probably draw the most attention if it wasn't for her hair. It was long and straight ending below the shoulders. It was also the brightest red I think I had ever seen in my life. No way that was her natural color. It must have been dyed or altered with magic or something. Only the Limamuda had hair that color, and even then it was really more slime than hair. Her style of clothing was also pretty unique. She was wearing a rugged looking gray fabric coat that covered her arms and extended to her waist. The front also sported a pair of pockets near the waist. Near the collar I could see what looked to be a blue undershirt. She was also wearing pants (which was weird) and they looked to be made of a similar material to her jacket only the color was darker. It also sported a good number of pockets. Overall everything she was wearing was very strange, but it did look surprisingly practical. On one of her pockets was a silver guild pin. I couldn't recognize which guild it belonged to, but it's style and material matched other pins I had seen in the past. That would explain why she was used to traveling in harsh conditions. While I was observing her, Risieri went ahead and addressed her. “Greetings and welcome to Almera, we are eager to have you enjoy our city. Judging from your pin are you an adventurer from a guild?” As soon as he said this her eyes widened slightly and she looked a little confused. She lowered her head and held a hand to her chin clearly thinking deeply. After an almost awkward amount of time she gave an embarrassed smile and simply spoke: “Yes I am.” The response had a very heavy accent that I could barely understand. It was obvious that she had traveled a very long way to get here. I decided to give her a quick rundown of the town in case this was her first time visiting. “Very well, The gate will lead you to the main walkways of the city. Signs are posted at each intersection. If you are looking for an inn they are on the lower floors.” I told her, pointing to the gateway behind me. “Thank you.” she responded after a pause. With that she walked past us through the entrance to the city below. All her responses were simple but fairly standard. As for my partner, he was clearly thinking about everything he witnessed. I decided to ask him about it: “Hey, what did you think about her?” I asked Risieri. “Her accent was odd, I have never heard anything like it.” He responded. “Neither have I. Where do you think she's from?” “What makes you think I know? Is she even one of the common races?” “She has to be. She was wearing a guild pin.” “Well if you really want to know so bad, why don't you just find her later and ask?” He was making a good point. After all, if she was part of a guild then perhaps she would be my ticket out of this awful job. All I would have to do was find and befriend her. “That could have gone better,” I muttered quietly to myself. I had hoped I could just slip in without saying a word so I could have enough time to get the language sorted out but that wasn't something fate had in mind. I'm usually pretty good with these kind of things, but back there I was struggling. I only had the vaguest idea what they were asking and thankfully it seemed like they understood my own answers at least a little bit. I had no idea why they wanted to know if I was an explorer but At least now I could expect to be mostly left alone while I finished learning the language. The path I was on seemed to lead somewhere underground as it had a steady downward slope. The tunnel was well lit by the occasional cut crystal hanging from the ceiling. As I walked I gazed at each one as they passed by. They looked like they were glowing without anything powering them. The more I stared at them the less I understood how they worked. In fact, there were a lot of things so far that I found really odd. For one, the kingdom felt very medieval in most things yet there had been many other things that showed otherwise. The coats the guards were wearing was one thing that came to mind. They were obviously designed to protect against ancient style metal swords yet they were giving off a lot of energy as if they had their own power supply. The architecture also felt beyond the capabilities of a simple feudal society. The walkway I was on was built with simple cut stones, but the precision of the work made it obvious that none of it was done by hand. As I walked, I was starting to become very curious about this strange world I found myself in and I was excited to know what I might see next. The end of the tunnel led to a large open courtyard that extended farther than I could see in front of me. The roof was of glass and was braced by large stone arches spaced every meter or so. Snow would slowly collect on the roof preventing a view of the sky above, however it didn't remain for long as it would be swept away by the occasional worker. Dividing the long courtyard down the middle was a decorated planter box full of various miniature trees, flowers, and other interesting flora. Beside the planter was also the occasional stone bench. As I walked further into the city, the courtyard I was following would meet an intersection and would split into several more identical halls to my left and right. I also started to see more people as I moved further inward. Eventually I found myself in the middle of a shopping district. By now it was almost midday and the area was bustling with people. Dozens of individual storefronts were built into the walls which gave the whole area a look almost like a shopping mall. I spent the next few minutes browsing around to see what kind of things the people here had in this strangely advanced pseudo medieval city. My explorer mindset was in full force at this point as I bounced from store to store trying to understand these unique people. There was a seller for everything you would expect, Clothing, tools, animals, and even books. One of my economist friends, Jordan, once told me you could learn a lot about a civilization based on the items sold in their market. That advice occasionally came in handy once or twice when we made contact with other species so I had no reason to doubt it. As I continued to make mental notes of everything on sale I began to get the impression that everything was made locally. I couldn't see the large variety of items that you would see with a lot of trade. It made sense why they wouldn't have a large number of traders as I remembered having to trek through heavy snow my entire way here. The items these people made themselves were too advanced for a medieval economy. I was struggling to understand how they had been able to make any of it. I couldn't find any evidence of electricity anywhere which was both fascinating and worrying. I had used up over two days of my remaining power supply trying to get here and I haven't found any way of getting it back. I would have to keep looking. My mind turned to the odd lights from the tunnel. I wanted to know how they worked. They had to be powered by something. I had seen books being sold at a fair price in one of the shop stalls so there was a good chance there was a library of some sort. I looked around for someone I could ask for directions and eventually walked up to what looked to be a guard. “Excuse me, I'm trying to find a library do you know where one is?” I asked. The guard looked respectful but clearly confused and for a moment I wondered if I hadn't refined the language yet. “I'm sorry, you're trying to find a what?” The guard responded. “A library, a place with books people can read to learn.” I clarified. “Oh! You're looking for the Magisterium. It's in block 196-118. Just head down that side path until you reach the third set of stairs and it should be on the fourth floor down.” I mentally reviewed what the guard said to make sure I translated it correctly before I thanked him and went on my way. As it turned out, the city was laid out in a perfect grid with each block being given a number code. At this point I couldn't be surprised anymore with how organized and structured everything was. There was a staircase about every 20th intersection so it took several minutes to make it to the one the guard told me about. The staircase was similar to the others only this one was more ornate. It was made of stone and was over five meters wide. It spiraled both upwards and downwards. In the center of spiral staircase was a large stone sculpture of various individuals which also had a waterfall flowing around them. I could only guess each person was some famous historical figure of some kind. When I reached the floor of the magisterium It wasn't hard to spot it. It was a large building that featured two large sections beside a central domed hall. The facade of the building was adorned with statues and intricate tile. Water flowed down channels cut into the buildings walls. The ornateness of the building made me hesitate. I wasn't sure if I could trust myself with the language yet and the building looked more like a palace or religious center than a school or library. I had confused the two before, and it got me thrown in an alien prison. I didn't want to make that mistake again. However, before I could figure out the true purpose of the building, my attention was turned away by a faint noise. It was distant and quiet, quiet enough that I was pretty I was the only one who could hear it. It was a scream, not a fun scream or a teasing scream, but the bone chilling scream of abject terror. Someone was in real danger and needed help. For a moment I forgot about my limited power and I ran to the noise. “No! Please! Go away, I haven't done anything wrong!” I pleaded with my attackers. The two dwarves in dark hoods had grabbed me by the arms and dragged me to a dark and quiet part of the city. I was alone and scared. I had no idea where I was or what they planned to do with me. I could only be as loud as I could and hope someone would hear me. “Shut your mouth fairy girl!” one of the dwarves screamed before he slugged me in the gut. The hit made me keel over in pain and I felt sick. Before I could recover, one of the two dwarves then kicked me into the wall. “The Minister may have allowed you into our city but that doesn't mean we will.” The other dwarf said. “You're going to pay for all the people that tyrant has killed.” “...no....p-please.” I weekly said trying to look at them. The dwarf on the right made a scowl and drew a knife from his belt. “What do you think Gerrod, a cut for every soul?” The dwarf with the knife suggested. The other dwarf let out a menacing chuckle of approval. I looked in horror as the dwarves approached me and held me down. Then without warning The knife in the dwarf's hand slashed into my right leg. It was nothing like I had felt before. I had cut myself a few times in the past but this was different. The knife had been inscribed with a rune to inflict pain and it burned like acid. I started to scream uncontrollably unable to handle the torture. The longer it went on the more I wished they would just kill me and end it. But they wouldn't stop. Over and over again they made small cuts in my legs intentionally making it last as long as they could. And then it suddenly stopped. I moaned in relief as the dwarves turned their attention to the person behind them. I was getting closer, I could hear it. The sound had led me several floors down into the deeper parts of the city. Each floor had less light than the one above and I began to see less people. If someone wanted to break a law this was certainly the place to do it. I hoped I wasn't too late. I picked up speed and nearly hit 18 kph before I found what I was searching for. Sliding to a stop I saw the source of the screaming. Two figures in dark robes had captured a blonde girl and were torturing her with a knife. The yellow dress she was wearing was soaked in blood and she was whimpering in pain. My eyes met the girls and her's went wide. She stared at me with a look of pleading mercy that I had seen several times in the past, and it was making me very angry. As A human I always had a short temper and tended to lack mercy which carried over when I became an android. I couldn't wait any longer and called out to the hooded figures. “Hey! What the Hell are you doing!” The two figures, who ended up being dwarves, quickly shot around, clearly not expecting company. Their looks of shock quickly became rage once they saw me. “You made a mistake coming here bunny ears,” the dwarf holding the knife said darkly. It wasn't a very good insult, but his tone did wonders to rile up my temper. I drew the gun on my hip and powered it on. “I want you to tell me why you're torturing that girl or I will kill you.” I said resolutely. “Try it dross, End her Gerrod” The knife holding dwarf ordered. The dwarf next to him held out his hand and fired a bolt of purple light. It struck me in the chest creating a cloud of black smoke. The girl behind the dwarves cried out in fear as strange light coursed all over me. I feared I was hit with something bad. I hadn't expected that kind of attack to suddenly shoot from his hand. I was prepared to deal with a charging man with a sword, not some chemical attack. I cursed myself for not being prepared as I expected to be defeated. But I felt nothing. The smoke and light around me turned out to be pretty mundane. Honestly, I felt tricked and my patience had run out. Using my infrared sight I aimed my gun at the dwarf who cast the spell and fired. I couldn't believe it. I called out to the girl hoping the spell hadn't killed her. How could a dwarf know death magic like that? I was terrified and dismayed. I didn't know what to do. My rescuer had come to save me only to be snuffed out by cheap tricks and rare magic. I wanted to cry. Both dwarves were laughing and making jokes about their victory. Suddenly a loud crack forced me to cover my ears. I looked up to see the dwarf who cast the spell on the floor without a head. The other dwarf had reeled in shock and fell backwards. The girl who came to my rescue walked out of the smoke, her eyes glowing bright red. Both myself and the remaining dwarf could only stare in shock. She took a few steeps toward the remaining dwarf and pointed the weapon in her hand at him, its tip venting glowing steam. “I can only take pleasure in killing scum like you.” She said with a vicious sneer that chilled the atmosphere. The dwarf went pale. “Wha- What are you?” he spoke quietly. Terror tinged his voice. In total panic he tried to crawl backwards but was stopped by the wall behind him. “I'm an android. I would say it's a pleasure to meet you, but it's not nice to lie. Goodbye.” She said taking aim. The tip of the object began to glow. “No! Please! I-” The dwarf was cut off with a flash of blue light accompanied by a crack like thunder. The dwarf slumped over dead with a hole through his chest. The girl blew out the steam from her weapon and spun it into a sheath at her side. The red glow in her eyes subsided leaving behind ones that were soft and blue. Turning her attention to me, she lowered a hand down offering to help me up. “Aurora Westinghouse, Pathfinder engineer. Lets get you home shall we?” I stood up with her help, my legs still in pain from the cuts. Powerful feelings of relief and gratitude washed over me. Tears filled my eyes and I fell into Aurora crying like a little girl. She put her arms around me and we stayed like that for a few minutes. Finally it was over. I had come to this city trying to escape the terrors of my home, but in the end those terrors just followed me here. "Thank you............ thank you............. thank you......." I said repeatedly through my tears. I did my best to comfort the girl as she let her trauma out. Meanwhile I started to make plans to get her out of here. The gunshots were going to attract a lot of attention and I didn't want to stick around to learn the city's legal process. Carrying her was going to be difficult as she was almost a foot taller than me. She was going to have to limp which meant I needed to do something about her legs. I cut some cloth from the now dead dwarves and bandaged her legs as best as I could. I wasn't a medic by any means but I was decent with tying knots which I hoped would let me make do. Placing one of her arms around my shoulders, I supported some of her weight and helped her along as we made our way out of the area to the floor above. “Alright, I think we are far enough away from all of that. Do you know anyone who can help you with your legs?” I asked. The girl nodded her head. “My brother is a healer, he can help. Our home shouldn't be too far from here.” “Alright I can help you there. you never told me your name by the way.” I said trying to cheer her up. “Sorry, I'm Eris.” She responded with a small giggle. “That's a pretty name. Do you have any idea why those dwarves would attack you?” She went silent, the question was clearly bothering her. I decided to not push it any further. We continued to slowly make our way through the dim hallways of the lower city without much conversation. The hallways were flat, utilitarian, and lacked the ornamentation of the upper floors. The whole place smelled like mold mixed with sewer and the air was very hot. Thankfully we didn't stay down there for long as Eris motioned me to take the next staircase up. We continued to make steady progress until Eris broke the silence. “How?..... How did you do it?” She asked. “I don't understand what you mean.” I responded. Eris looked flustered. “What do you mean you don't understand? How did you survive that spell? I saw the magic hit you! You should have died instantly but you didn't! How did you do it!?” I thought about her question. That was magic? I knew it shouldn't be possible, but the more I thought about it the more the existence of magic started to explain a lot of the things I had seen since coming to the city. I thought about the implications. Maybe I could use magic as a way to recharge myself? I would probably be forced to look into it sooner than later as all that action drained my battery to uncomfortable levels. At best I had about a week of charge left. As for Eris's question, I really didn't have a good answer. I had no idea how any of it worked, only that it didn't work on me. “I, I don't know. I guess it just didn't have any effect on me.” I responded. Eris went quiet again, this time in an attempt to understand what just I told her. She looked at me with a confused expression. “what did you say you were again?” she asked. “An android. Well technically I'm still a human, but not everyone agrees with me.” “What do you mean not everyone agrees? Are you undead?” Eris had a worried look “Ah, no I haven't died yet,” I said with a chuckle,“but I almost did and only survived thanks to this mechanical body.” “What happened?” “I got really sick. There was no cure.” I reflected. “I see... So you're really a golem then? A living golem?" "I guess you could say that." "That's... new. Anyway, we're almost at my home. I want to talk to you more after this is over.” “Sure, I can do that.” Her home was one of hundreds of small apartments on one of the lower levels of the city a good distance from where I found her. I could tell the housing was designed to be as cheap as possible. Her home was one of many small units stacked three or even four high all made from stone block that wasn't cut as cleanly as the stone I saw higher up. Access to each building was provided by cheap iron scaffolding with a mesh grating acting as the floor which wobbled slightly as we made our way across. Walking up to her apartment door, I gave it a good knock. After a few seconds the door was opened a crack before being flung open revealing a tall, slender man. He had light brown hair, a short beard, and green eyes. He also stood a good foot and a half taller than me. Upon seeing us he gasped and quickly set down the book he was holding. “Hey Liam.” Eris said. She was starting to become delirious. “Oh twin moons, What happened to her?” He said with a worried tone. “Nothing good. She said you could help her.” I told him. “Yes, of course. Please bring her in.” Liam motioned us in and we both stepped through the narrow doorway. The apartment looked small and only had a few rooms. We entered into a common room which also doubled as a kitchen. In the center of the room was a short stone table surrounded by floor cushions which I placed Eris down on. Lining the walls were several bookcases each overflowing with books of various sizes plus a small stove with a cooking pot. I found an open cushion to sit down on while Liam was in the process of gathering supplies from various cabinets and chests. Soon after he returned with various objects with unknown purpose and he began to work on his sister. “Now how did this happen?” he said as he unraveled my makeshift bandages from around her legs. “I herd her screaming and I came to rescue her from a pair of dwarves. They were tor-” I tried to explain before being cut off. “That's good enough. I don't need the details.” He said in a brisk but polite tone. He was in the process of rubbing a clear gel into each cut. I watched closely out of curiosity as he worked. Once he was finished, he pulled out a small yellow crystal on a chain as well as piece of chalk. He turned to the side shuffling towards the table then drew a pattern of complex characters onto the surface. Halfway into his drawing he suddenly stopped and reviewed his work. Then, anxious about its accuracy, he got up to grab a book from one of the many shelves in the room. Flipping through a few pages, he compared his work to the one in the book before finishing the drawing using the book as reference. “Help me lift her onto the table.” he said to me after he returned the book to its shelf. I nodded to him and grabbed a side. We both moved her as gently as we could onto the table. Once everything was set, Liam took out a small paper card embossed with more symbols. “Eris, I'm going to put you to sleep now okay?” Liam said. He tapped the card onto her forehead causing it to shimmer. Almost immediately, I saw Eris grow drowsy and fall asleep. When she was fully under Liam took the crystal in his hand and started to whisper something under his breath. As he spoke, the chalk markings on the table began to glow with a white light that quickly grew very bright. I shielded my eyes with a hand and took a step back. The light was making it hard to see exactly what was going on but I had to keep looking. The number of questions I wanted to ask had been increasing almost exponentially by this point and now I was confident I could rely on Liam for answers. His collection of books was impressive even by my own standards and they all looked worn and well used. I had to wait until after he was finished before I could start conversation so I made some plans in my head to ensure we could talk afterwards. For now I could only watch the miraculous things that were occurring before me and take some mental notes. This was magic I thought to myself. I guess calling it anything else would have been redundant. Liam was in the process of bending the laws of nature to his will. Energy flowed into Eris sealing up her wounds with remarkable speed. Eris was almost completely healed before I finally noticed something familiar. Something that would shatter my current view of this world. I had been so focused on watching the healing unfold that I had practically ignored Liam. My attention snapped to the spellcaster, and I could only stare at him with a look of complete consternation. Liam was speaking German.
What can sports betting learn from finance? Matthew Wright runs CoreSpreads, a financial spread betting platform. In this article he discusses the similarities and differences between modelling and trading financial markets and sports markets. Categories: All Sports, Data, Latency, Liquidity, Professional, Statistical models, STN Journal Learn; Round 2! Value Betting Versus Sports Trading. written by Mercurius. Share on . In part 2 of our comparison series, we look at how value betting compares to sports trading. What is Sports Trading? Perhaps the simplest explanation is that sports trading involves placing two bets against one another, in the same market, to make a profit. Adam Todd, the sports trader in question, made me spent considerable time on comprehending betting exchange’s mechanics. Finally, after watching his video over and over again, I pulled the plug and deposited my first 500 euros in Betfair.That was my first and only deposit I made in the betting exchange.. The kind of trading that Adam showed and I built my skills upon, is called scalping. Check out Sports Betting: the Good and the Bad. Here are some of the unexpected truths you can learn from the world of sports betting There’s no such thing as a ‘sure thing.’ You can find a lot of opportunities that are in your favour. However, the reality of a ‘sure thing’ especially in sports betting doesn’t exist. Odds change Sports betting and financial trading follow many of the same principles, despite some significant differences in volatility and length of investment. In this series, I will be going through some of the key skills required to be a profitable sports bettor in the long term, as well as some specific examples of things I look for when placing a bet.
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