I Read It So You Don't Have To: Little Kids, Big City (by Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen)
Inspired by the overwhelmingly positive response to my previous 'book report' on Ramona Singer's Life on the Ramona Coaster (seriously, thank you all -- truly supporting other women 🙏🙏), I decided to try my hand at writing up yet another of the embarrassing number of Housewives books in my personal collection: Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen's Little Kids, Big City: Tales from a Real House in New York City with Lessons on Life and Love for Your Own Concrete Jungle. After reading just the title of this book, I'm already exhausted. It's pretentiously long and awkwardly phrased while somehow still managing to be entirely devoid of meaning. In other words, a perfect encapsulation of Simon and Alex. The summary on the back cover describes the pair as the "breakout stars" of RHONY, an assessment that I would charitably call 'debatable,' before going on to inform me that I can look forward to "informative and often hair-raising stories of life in the urban jungle," and that "Alex and Simon use their own hard-won experience as a springboard to discuss a host of parenting topics." I anticipate that this content will be quite useful to me, the guardian of four cats that I spoil endlessly and treat like my actual children. One of the pull-quotes on the back cover allegedly comes from our very own Bethenny Frankel. I say 'allegedly' because I refuse to believe that the following passage would ever come out of Bethenny's mouth (or keyboard or whatever):
Alex and Simon don't take themselves too seriously, which seems to be essential to parenting. Their fresh 'he said, she said' perspective on parenting is both humorous and insightful!
Please, take a moment and do your very best to picture mention-it-all, betting-on-horse-races-at-age-five Bethenny unironically using the phrase "fresh 'he said, she said' perspective." To describe Simon van Kempen and Alex McCord. Right, didn't think so. My experience reading Little Kids, Big City started on an unexpected high note when I opened the front cover to find that my copy (purchased used through Better World Books for the low, low price of $5.31 with shipping) had been signed by Ms. you-are-in-high-school-while-I-am-in-Brooklyn herself, Alex McCord! Truly a gift I do not deserve. Samantha and Debbie (whoever and wherever you may be), thank you for your service. I am forever in your debt. Unfortunately, as would soon become painfully clear to me, after starting off on such a promising note, I would have nowhere to go but down. The book, which is written in alternating passages from Alex and Simon, begins its introduction with a chronicle of Alex's "fashionably nomadic" early adulthood. Ever the proto-edgelord, she recalls, "I did all those things our mothers warned us about and had fun doing them." We switch to Simon's perspective to hear the deeply embarrassing story of the couple meeting through a dating app while Simon was on a business trip in New York City. No, there is absolutely nothing embarrassing about meeting someone on a dating app. But there absolutely is something embarrassing about using the profile name "Yetisrule" to meet someone on a dating app. To clarify, this was apparently Alex's username, and I remain hopeful that we will get a more thorough explanation of her connection to the elusive Yeti as this book continues. Alex tells us that, while she and Simon hadn't initially planned to have children, they eventually started to have "clucky feelings." I have never heard this phrase in my entire twenty-five years of life, but based on context clues and also a Google search, I learned that it means they wanted to have a baby. Don't worry, though! As Alex tells us, "You can be eight months pregnant and wear a leather miniskirt." Personally, this is life-changing news -- I had always believed that I couldn't have kids unless I was willing to compromise my 90s goth aesthetic! Maybe I'll rethink this child-free thing after all. The next bit of advice seems like it actually could potentially be sort of helpful. "No one is a good parent all the time -- nor is anyone a bad parent all the time," they reassure the reader. "You can become a parent without losing yourself." Unfortunately, as soon as I catch myself nodding along, the modicum of goodwill I'd built up is promptly trashed by a gag-worthy line from Simon: "If you take nothing away but a wry smile after reading our little tome, then we've done our job." I immediately vow not to smile until I'm finished reading this book. Excuse me, this little tome. The book starts in earnest with Chapter 1: "Does a German Shepherd Need a Birth Plan?" To be perfectly honest, I was not expecting a riddle at this juncture, but I am nevertheless excited to hear Simon and Alex tell us "why childbirth is not an intellectual activity." First, however, we get a passing reference to "Park Slope, home of the ParkSlopeParents.com message board made famous in 2007 with a so-ridiculous-it-got-headlines discussion on gender-specific baby hats and where feminism can be taken to extremes." And despite the lame alarmist allusion to ~*XTREME feminism*~, this line did manage to lead me down an interesting Internet rabbit hole, so thanks for that, I guess? Jesus Christ, I am on PAGE 4 and I am already so done with Simon. Presented without comment:
With the Park Slope OB-GYN, we had the first sonogram and saw the little blip on the screen -- our child-to-be. They say seeing is believing and as nothing was happening inside me, seeing confirmation on the video monitor that indeed my spermatozoa had penetrated and infiltrated one of Alex's ova made me aware that my days as a footloose and fancy-free guy might be coming to an end.
Y'all, I am currently working on my PhD in Molecular Biology. Which, if you were not previously aware, gives me the authority to decree that Simon is never allowed to use the word "spermatozoa" ever again. And so it is. I was about to say that Alex's passages are at least more tolerable, but it appears I spoke too soon.
The stats they quoted referenced a 40 percent cesarean section rate in the city, and I wonder how that can be acceptable? Are we heading toward Brave New World, where babies are scientifically created in petri dishes and gestated in artificial wombs? Oh wait, we're already there. Are we heading towards a Wall-E existence, where we ride around in carts everywhere and do nothing for ourselves so that our bodies break down and we're all fat, oozy blobs drinking protein from a straw? Somebody slap me, please!!
Truly, Alex, it would be my pleasure. As a Type-A person, just reading the story of Alex's first pregnancy and delivery gave me anxiety. She says that she just never really "felt the need to establish a birth plan" and that she "gave in to any craving [she] felt." Don’t worry, though -- "If I had suddenly craved chalk, ecstasy or Elmer's Glue, I'd have thought twice." I feel like there is some symbolism here to unpack (Could the Elmer's Glue be a metaphor for the childlike spirit of connection and unity???). Simon describes himself as "a learn-on-the-job guy" and tells us that he and Alex "failed to attend the last couple of [birthing] classes as by then we both just wanted to let instinct take over when the time came." As someone who has never trusted my instincts even once in my entire life, I cannot relate. Twelve days after his due date, baby François is born. Except it turns out that he actually was born right on time, but Alex "didn't keep regimented track of [her] periods" and miscalculated. What a bummer that modern medicine hasn't advanced to the point where doctors can guide you about that sort of thing. I don't even know what to say about this next bit, but God help me, I still have 215 more pages of this book to go.
Although the final stages of labor were very, very painful, I [Alex] never used our code word (tin can) for "game over, give me drugs." I definitely recommend using a code word, because it was kind of fun to scream, "I want drugs, give me drugs" through a contraction and have the midwife, nurse and Simon all know I wasn't serious. Once he [François] was finally out of my body, I experienced a tsunami of endorphins that was almost orgasmic, and I understand completely the stories other women have written about ecstatic birth. Simon was sitting behind me at the point of birth, and later when we untangled ourselves he discovered he'd actually ejaculated though hadn't felt any of the normal lead-up to that. It may seem distasteful to some, and definitely neither of us was thinking of sex at the time, but with the rush of emotion and my lower nerve endings going crazy, it's not too far a stretch to say that it's a profound experience.
Johan is born two years later, although it's unclear from the text whether either parent reached orgasm during the event. The chapter ends with a top-ten list entitled "10 Things We'll Remember That Happened During Pregnancy." These include useful tidbits like
Best advice I heard: men's genitals grow and change shape regularly, then go back to the way they were before. Don't worry about your female delicate bits being able to retract.
Which is…a lovely sentiment. But one that is slightly undermined by phrasing the first part in the grossest way possible, as well as by the use of the phrase "female delicate bits." I do like the idea that they "retract," however, because I think it's very cool to imagine the vagina as an SUV sunroof. By the grace of God, Chapter 1 comes to a close. In Chapter 2 (titled "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn, What's My Name Again? and Who is This Alien?" -- seriously, were they padding their word count with chapter titles?), we get more questionable parenting advice from the McCord-van Kempens. They glibly dismiss concerns about co-sleeping ("Simon and I both slept with cats and dogs our whole lives without squishing them"), which I honestly would be more annoyed about if I hadn't immediately gone on to read Simon's account of "the midnight race to the 24-hour pharmacy to buy a breast pump as Alex's breasts were seemingly engorged with too much milk and she thought they were about to explode and fly off her chest." As it stands, I'm truly too defeated to care. Again, just to be perfectly clear: no shade to having issues breastfeeding, all shade to using the word 'engorged.’ And also for giving me the mental image of Alex's breasts desperately struggling to flee from her body (though to be fair, who could blame them?). Proving that she does not inhabit the same world as the rest of us mortals, Alex tells us that she expected that her state of sleep-deprivation as she raised two young children would "spur [her] creativity with graphic design." For some reason, this does not seem to be the case. Alex is puzzled. Finally, we've come to this chapter's top ten list ("Top 10 Memories of Random Things We Did While in the Post-Birth Haze"). While these lists have so far been utterly irredeemable, they also mean the chapter is coming to a close, so I can at least take some solace in that. This particular list ranges from the irritating…
We subversively took sleeping babies to as many non-child-friendly places as possible to prove the point that children can be seen, not heard and not bothersome, such as dinner at the Ritz in London, the Sahara Desert, shopping on Madison Avenue, Underbar in Union Square and film festivals.
…to the truly unnecessary.
While changing François' diaper on day one or two, we both stood mesmerized by the changing pad as meconium oozed out of him. It was really the most bizarre and fascinating thing I'd seen to date.
With the couple's general backstory and credentials now under our belts, Chapter 3 ("The Screaming Kid on the Plane is NOT Mine! (This Time)") focuses on advice for traveling with children, which Alex admits "can be a complete pain in the you-know-what." I cannot describe the rage I feel at the fact that she has -- in no fewer than 50 pages -- forced me to read about both her newborn son's excrement and her husband's ejaculate, but cannot bring herself to use the word "ass." Alex, we're really far beyond that at this point, don't you think? Not to be outdone, Simon shares a conversation he had with François that is remarkable not for its content, but for the fact that one of Simon's nicknames for his son is apparently "F-Boy." Thanks, I hate it. This chapter's list ("Alex's Top 10 Travel Memories") includes the entry:
Both boys charging down Saline Beach in St. Barths like something out of Lord of the Flies.
So, like a horde of primal sadists? I'm wondering if Alex and Simon have inadvertently confused Lord of the Flies with the hit 2007 reality show Kid Nation. I really hope that's what's going on here. Chapter 4 ("'Mommy, Johan is Gone!'") promises to teach us how to handle accidents. I'm not sure how comfortable I feel taking emergency advice from the authors of this particular book, but (in large part due to the fact that I have slept since reading the previous chapter, giving the pain a chance to dull somewhat), I am willing to at least hear them out. After relaying a story of François needing emergency surgery after a foot injury, Alex tells us that at one point, she and Simon realized they had spent "nearly $5000 on Indian takeout" in the past year. For the mathematically averse, this works out to a monthly budget of roughly $100 worth of Indian food per week, making my quarantine Uber Eats habit seem downright quaint by comparison. The chapter-ending list walks us through the "Top 10 Things We Do in a Crisis," and fortunately, the tips seem pretty benign.
Knowing what calms the children down, such as making silly faces or reciting Shel Silverstein poetry backwards.
Wait, hang on. What?
reciting Shel Silverstein poetry backwards
I'm sorry, please forgive me if I have missed some recent, paradigm-shifting development in the field of early childhood education, but what?? As in, "ends sidewalk the where?" "Sdne klawedis eht erehw?" I am truly befuddled. Maybe the next chapter ("'Is Today a Work Day or a Home Day, Mommy?'") will have some applicable wisdom for me, as I will, in fact, be working from home every other week for the foreseeable future. And, I cannot stress this enough, I am a psychotically overinvested cat mom. Alas, we are instead treated to an unnecessarily detailed breakdown of how important it is to delegate, and specifically that Simon cleans up vomit and Alex cleans up "feces in the various forms that come out of children's bottoms at appropriate and sometimes inappropriate times such as the middle of Thanksgiving festivities." As if we needed another reason to consider Thanksgiving problematic. The chapter takes a brief commercial break…
When an everyday product can do double duty such as Dawn Hand Renewal with Olay Beauty, a dish soap that seals in moisture while I'm tackling cleanup, sure, I'll buy it.
…before closing out with a list of the "Top 10 Things We Do Because We Were Here First." I am happy to confirm your worst suspicions and tell you that item number one is indeed "Have passionate sex." In Chapter 6 ("I Saw Your Nanny…Being Normal?"), I find myself actually sympathizing with Alex for the first time in this book. Which is mostly just because the chapter starts by talking about all of the awful, catty parental competitions that seem endemic to a certain crew of white Manhattan moms, and it makes Alex come off at least slightly less irritating in comparison. That is, at least until a few pages later, when she starts to complain about a previous au pair:
She was sullen, melodramatic and kept a blog about how she hated Americans, hated France, hated us and the children but loved New York. I think she must have thought we were idiots, and when she asked us to leave early we were only too happy to get her out of our home.
I would love to meet this woman. I think we could be great friends. This chapter's list is even more difficult to parse than previous ones, because while it's titled "Top 10 Things Caregivers Have Inadvertently Done to Amuse, Annoy or Thrill Us," it's not at all clear which descriptors apply to which points. When a babysitter "accidentally used a household cleaning wipe when changing a diaper," were the McCord-Van Kempens amused? Annoyed? Thrilled? The world may never know. In Chapter 7 ("'Putting To Death Is Not Nice,' a Duet for Two Boys and A Guitar"), Alex and Simon share some of their hard-earned childrearing wisdom with us. Which basically amounts to Alex telling us that, while normally misbehavior from the kids incurs a warning followed by a time-out, she has also developed an ingenious new strategy where she actually steps in to intervene when the stakes are higher. Let's listen in:
A third permutation is when there's a behavior that has to stop immediately, say if Johan has a big blue indelible marker and is running through a white hotel suite. I swoop in and grab the marker as to risk a three count [warning] would be to risk decoration of the sofa.
Take the marker from the toddler immediately instead of trying to reason with him? Groundbreaking. Side Note: At this point in my reading, I am incredibly satisfied to report that I have discovered my first typo in the book, and in one of Simon's sections no less! ("These toads secret [sic] a poison…"). This is wildly pedantic of me and proof that I am a deeply sick person. We run though a list of "Top 10 Things We Never Thought We Would Have To Explain" ("10. Why hot pizza stones do not like Legos.") before moving right along into Chapter 8, "Don't Listen to the Well-Meaning Morons." Strangely, I have a very vivid memory of Alex saying "I have a chapter in my book called, 'Don't Listen to the Well-Meaning Morons" in some distant RHONY episode or reunion. I guess she was telling the truth. The chapter opens with a series of passages in which Alex and Simon respond to various comments that have been made about their parenting over the years. I think this device is supposed to be a bit of lighthearted snark on overbearing strangers, but instead just comes off as weirdly defensive and passive-aggressive. A few examples:
"My daughter is perfect. Her table manners are excellent, she never speaks unless spoken to and we've always had white sofas at home since she was a child, with no staining." -A woman with one preteen daughter, no sons Your daughter sounds boring. I wouldn't want my sons to date her..
"Why are you outside?" - A bagel seller in Montreal, in February I'm hungry and the stroller is well protected under the plastic cover. Johan is warm and cozy, the others are asleep in the hotel and I'm going stir-crazy. Is that enough, or should I buy my bagel from someone else?
"Excuse me, your baby is crying." -- Someone said to Simon as they peered into the stroller to try and determine the cause of said noise. You don't say! Do you think, you stupid idiot, that I don't hear that? Do you think I think it's just loud music? Do you think I don't want him to stop and that I like it???
Sorry, did I say 'passive-aggressive'? Let's change that to just 'aggressive.' But despite bristling at being the recipient of unwanted advice, far be it from Alex to shy away from giving her opinions on the shortcomings of other parents.
There was a mom at another table who wore all black and told her hyperactive daughter that they had to have a family meeting to decide what to do next. The type of woman who might ask her daughter to "process her feelings" about which color to choose. The type of woman who wanted make [sic] a big huge hairy deal about including her daughter in the decision-making process and "negotiating" the next best step for the family to take in the pottery shop. Pardon me while I shoot myself.
I'm sorry, but I just cannot respect this take coming from a woman who calms her sons by reciting comedic children's poetry backwards. We next learn that there are "many websites out in cyberspace," some of which offer child-rearing advice. Simon summarizes their useless "vitriol" as such:
They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, whereas for the 21st century surely hell no longer hath fury, as it's all been hurled at the belittled and scorned Internet mom.
I'm honestly not entirely sure what this is supposed to mean, and my confusion continues all the way through this chapter's "Top 10 Ways We Make Ourselves Feel Better When It's All Getting To Be Too Much." We begin reasonably enough…
Check to see whether the person offering advice has children. How old are they?
Do they have a point? Are they right? It is entirely possible.
…before quickly losing all sense of self-awareness and flying completely off the rails.
Will we ever see this person again? If not, can we get away with unleashing our fury on them? Note, if you're reading this and decide to try it for yourself, go big or go home.
The last few chapters have been a bit Alex-heavy, but never fear -- Simon pops back up in Chapter 9 ("If I Wouldn't Eat That, My Kid Won't Either") to tell us a charming story about how the family refers to his Bolognese sauce as "Dead Cow Sauce," and this is because his children are incredibly enlightened and understand the circle of life and where food comes from. Or something along those lines. This chapter also provides a lot of really incontrovertible proof that, even though you may swear that your kids say the most hilarious things all the time, you are wrong. I love kids. I can play cool aunt with the best of them. But this "recipe" for "Johan's Concoction" tries so hard to be cute and funny ("whisk violently -- making sure to spill a little out of the top") that I could barely stifle my groans. For anyone who happens to frequent RebornDollCringe, I am strongly and inexplicably reminded of Britton. A list of "Top 10 Things We Don't Like About Children's Restaurants" culminates with
Where would you rather be? A bistro devoted to race-car driving, with 1950s toy cars on the walls, or T.G.I. Friday's?
Excuse me, ma'am, you must be unfamiliar with the concept of Endless Apps®. The title of Chapter 10 is "You'll Give in Before I Do!" and although the subtitle lets me know this is referencing "the art and warfare of bedtime," it's hard not to take it as a personal taunt from the authors. Most of this chapter is just transcriptions of 'cute' things François and Johan have said to try to avoid going to bed, but we do get this gem:
Slaying the dragon is our family euphemism for using the toilet (drowning the dragons that live in the sewer) and is fun for the boys to talk about, though probably not forever.
Before giving us a chance to adequately process this revelation, Alex goes on to reflect:
Hmm, perhaps I should delete this -- I don’t want obnoxious classmates getting hold of this book in 10 years and asking the boys if they need to slay the dragon in the middle of geometry class.
Alex, I assure you, you truly have nothing to worry about. Any self-respecting bully will be far too focused on the fact that Simon ejaculated at the moment of his son's birth to pay this comparatively trivial factoid any attention. The authors shake things up and end this chapter with lists of both "Top 20 Bedtime Stories" and "Top 10 Lullabies," both of which are thankfully inoffensive. In Chapter 11 ("Children Like Shiny Objects"), we follow Alex and Simon as they purchase the townhouse we see them renovating on RHONY. Although other (read: lesser) parents might store breakables out of reach or limit children's toys to playrooms and bedrooms, Alex and Simon were blessed with two boys whose aesthetic sensibilities are already quite developed:
One kind of funny thing that I noticed recently is that the toys the boys tend to leave upstairs in our red and black living room often tend to be red and black as well. I'm not sure whether that's intentional, but it's funny that the room always seems to match regardless of its contents.
The list of "Top 10 Craziest Places We've Found Objects" is mercifully absent of any orifice-related discoveries. After reading just the title of Chapter 12 ("Raising Baby Einsteins"), I'm bracing myself for the self-satisfied smugness to come. This preparation turns out to be duly warranted. Baby sign language is dismissed as "a scheme dreamed up by ASL experts who wanted to sell classes to easily influenced new parents," Mommy and Me classes are "not really for teaching anything," and we learn that Alex and Simon have instituted a bizarre family rule that "if a talking toy came into our house, it had to speak a foreign language or speak English in an accent other than American." We learn that Simon apparently does not know what antonyms are (for the record, Simon, the word you're looking for is homophones) and that New York City is replete with "wailing, nocturnal, type-A obsessed harridans willing to sleep with persons not their spouse if they think it will help their child get into THE RIGHT SCHOOL." Uh, yikes. After a tediously long description of François' pre-school admissions process, Alex informs us:
As a former actor, I've always gotten into play-acting and dressing up with my children. Perhaps a little too much. But I've taken the opportunity to show off a few old monologues, complete with bounding around like a puppy. If you have knowledge, why not share it? If you happen to know Puck's speeches from a Midsummer Night's Dream by ear with tumbling and staged sword play, why the heck don’t you share that with your boisterous boys, who love it and run around shouting, "Thou speakest aright!"
I am suddenly compelled to call my mother and thank her profusely for never making me put up with anything like this. Maybe I'll also get her thoughts on one of the tips listed in "Top 10 Favorite 'Developmental' Things To Do": "if they want something that you want to delay giving them, make them ask in every language they can before giving in." To me, this seems like an effective way to encourage your children to learn how to say "Fuck you, mom" in French as early as possible. In Chapter 13 ("Urban Wonderland"), Alex and Simon promise to share their unique perspective on "taking advantage of raising a child in the urban jungle." But mostly, we just get a rant about how everyone thinks their kids have weird names, and that makes Simon mad. This chapter's "Top 10 Reasons New York is the Center of the Universe to a Kid" list reminds us what truly matters: "there are more songs with NYC in their titles than any other city." Immediately after telling us how great it is to live in a city (excuse me, urban jungle), Alex and Simon switch tack and spend Chapter 14 ("'Daddy, a Cow! And It's Not in a Zoo!") expounding on the importance of exposing kids to nature. Sounds great, I'm on board. Unfortunately, we almost immediately take a hard left turn into a story from Simon's childhood where he and his brother are "befriended by this old guy, Dick, who lived on the outskirts of town in a small tin shed." We hear that Dick "occasionally pulled out an early Playboy magazine back from the days when the lower regions were airbrushed out," and that "there had been pretty strong rumors of pedophilia," before promptly returning to the main narrative with no further explanation. I can only describe the transition as 'jarring.' I can tell how exhausted I am at this point in the book by how hurriedly I skimmed the list of "Top 10 Differences We've Noticed Between City Kids and Country Kids." To be honest, I'm almost annoyed when a particularly bizarre quote manages to catch my attention, because that means I have to think about it for the full amount of time it takes me to transcribe from the page. I'm beginning to think that my initial hope that I could glean some useful cat-rearing advice from this experience may have been overzealous. Chapter 15 ("You're Such a Great Parent, You Should Be on TV (LOL)") is the only chapter to directly address the family's time on RHONY. It starts with this (attempted) comedy bit in which Alex and Simon pretend to be hilariously self-aware and self-effacing (Alex: "Look up 'Mommylicious' in the dictionary and you will see a photo of me in a ball gown, breast-feeding an infant while making Osso Buco and directing carpenters to build a bookcase for my Dickens and Shakespeare."). This posture would be infinitely more believable if I hadn't spent the previous 205 pages watching these two take themselves deadly seriously. But rather than share any juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits (or, indeed, convey anything of substance at all), Alex and Simon spend exactly 3.5 pages blustering about how it wasn't harmful for their children to be on TV before giving us a list of "Top 10 Hilarious Things The Boys Have Done While Filming or at Photo Shoots." Spoiler alert: none of them are 'hilarious.' Chapter 16 is literally titled "The Light at the End of the Tunnel," which makes me feel like this whole experience may have just been Alex and Simon playing some sort of twisted game with me. Alex tells us this is "the chapter of hope," but given that she then tells us about a time when she "spent one full hour discussing why magic markers cannot be carried around with the caps off, particularly in a hotel suite with white couches and walls," I'm not sure exactly where this hope is coming from. Also it seems like this markers-in-a-hotel-room thing happens weirdly frequently. We are then treated to Alex and Simon's "Top 10 Moments of Getting It,'" which includes
Apropos of nothing, Johan said, "You give us time-outs because you are teaching us to be good grown-ups."
This is a thing I'm sure Johan said completely organically and not in response to hearing his parents say "we're giving you a time-out so that you learn to be a good grown-up" approximately seven zillion times. This brings us to the book's Epilogue (a mercifully short two pages) featuring the line "If you made it to the end of this book, we salute you." Honored to accept this hard-earned accolade, I can finally close the book and start figuring out a way to erase the memory of Simon busting a mid-childbirth nut from my aching brain. Wish me luck!
Assuming a crash is imminent, what are you picking up to long hold?
Currently holding: https://pasteboard.co/Jd3j9qL.png With the internet assuming a crash is coming, I am going to be hoarding value stocks that I wish I bought during the crash months ago. My goal is to make enough weekly off of covered calls to live off of, I would need to net $2,000/wk off of premiums to feel comfortable enough quitting my job, and I would wait for the market to be more stable before doing so. This past week I net $259 off RCL $125 off AMD I definitely want to get 100 NKLA. I understand the company is likely a sham, but their call premiums are absolutely insane percentage wise and if a market crash IS going to happen, I want to hoard NKLA weekly premiums on the way down to fund buying other stocks. I plan on buying 100 DIS, 100 BA, 100 MSFT, 100 APPL, 100 TSLA (if it drops to $400/share again.) What are some other solid companies that I should invest in long term which have decent call premiums and/or dividends? Edit: I wasn’t expecting this to receive the traction it did. Yes, I made a suicide joke. Yes, it was funny. That’s WSB, obviously people behave differently there. Get off your high horse and stop being sensitive pussies. Downvotes don’t mean shit, this is literally a meme account, my name is u/JPowellsPrinter. The thread has the word “assuming” in the title. The market will PROBABLY not crash, this thread is asking what you would buy in the off chance it did. This is not a dumb question, I would argue that YOU are dumb if that’s all you came here to say. This is stocks, not WallStreetBets It wouldn’t be called a crash if everyone saw it coming. 6:35 edit: Lol. Futures red as fuck. Good luck everybody! Hopefully you all remember this thread if we crash and burn. SPY 298.6 from 303.7 EOD friday. $5 📉
GTA Online Casino Inside Track Horse Racing glitch SOLO works for PC (maybe XBOX AND PS4 as well?)
Go to Diamond Casino
Walk up to the cashier and exchange for chips if you don't have any
Go to Inside Track Horse Racing
Click on Place Bet (Single Event)
Check horse odds
Disable internet connection
Bet any amount on any horse and it will say unable to establish connection to rockstar servers
Enable internet connection and bet max on your horse
Repeat until you have enough money
This is reviving the reset horse odds glitch that used to exist before this was patched. Picture guide here: https://imgur.com/gallery/fuGSpfW Instructions are pretty simple. Use any method to disable/enable your internet connection whether it is pulling the plug or using a 3rd party program it is up to you. Just repeat step 5/6/7 until you get your desired odds. Make sure to reenable your internet connection before betting when your horse is favorable. Note: You need to disable your internet when you are about to refresh the race (horse list). Reenable your internet when you have the horse you want to bet on. DO NOT have your internet disconnected for too long or it will kick you from the game. It shouldn't take too long to cycle through the line ups. Just do it quick and use a macro or a script. For example if you see double evens (which is considered the worst lineup) bet any amount on any horse (provided that you have already disabled your internet). Cycle through the list until you find a good lineup and before placing a bet, reenable your internet. DISCLAIMER: I am only posting this as a guide and I bear no responsibility if you lose money betting. This glitch works as is and does not guarantee you a win in any way. You are just pushing the odds into your favor easier. Use this link for how to disable/reenable your internet connection: https://www.reddit.com/gtaglitches/comments/gt3vgm/pcimproved_apartment_glitch_improvement_bette If you don't know which horse to bet use this guide: https://www.reddit.com/gtaonline/comments/ekp8na/gta_online_inside_track_odd_calculato EDIT: Easiest way to block connection is through Windows Defender Firewall. If you are not tech savvy enough I or someone can create a batch file to do this all at once or even an AHK file but here are the steps to do this.
Open Windows Defender Firewall by pressing start menu and typing "Windows Defender Firewall" (without quotes) and it should be the first option.
On the left side click Advanced Settings
On the left side click Outbound Rules
On the right side click New Rule...
Select your GTA5.exe in Steam folder or Epic Games folder
Select Block the Connection
Profile can be all checked
Type in the name such as GTA block
On the right side Enable/Disable the rule to connect/disconnect
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. 🙏🏼
Why have raid matchmaking? It probably won't change YOUR mind, but it may help you understand.
Right away, this is just a discussion post, just to try to offer something to quell the many angry "back and forth" arguments I see whenever this comes up. TL;DR - Different people have different priorities when they sit down to game. Whether you personally use one option or the other, matchmaking often plays well into one set of priorities, and Discord/LFG plays well into a different set. Neither is without its downfalls (or its idiots), so maybe if we can recognize that, while understanding each other's priorities are valid, we can at least throw some baking soda on this occasional oil fire. I've participated in quite a few discussions around why some people are upset that matchmaking isn't included with raids in TD2. I do support matchmaking being included, and have gotten lots of upvotes and downvotes for saying so in different threads. I understand how far I've fallen short in explaining my stance in the past, and why I got downvoted, though I've been able to articulate it with better clarity of late. Today I thought about this after another post asked "Why would people want matchmaking?", taking more of the anti-MM stance. When the first raid was introduced, a lot of the upset about the lack of matchmaking was due to a pretty clear statement from the studios that ALL TD2 content would feature matchmaking, so that explains a lot of the heat around the decision last year. We're used to the idea now since it's been quite some time since Operation Dark Hours was introduced without matchmaking. It's been formally announced that Operation Iron Horse won't have matchmaking either, and the conversations going back and forth on MM are flying around again. Before I go any further, I do want to clarify - LFG got me my first clear on ODH, and I've finally started using Discord. I don't personally have an aversion to these things any more like I definitely did in the past. I also, however, want to be clear that if matchmaking existed for raids, I'm not sure I would ever have set foot in Discord OR LFG for the purpose of raiding. I can only really speak for myself here, but I did stumble upon an analogy that helps explain my stance, and I'm betting it applies for a lot of folks in the "pro-MM" crowd. I've been a musician my whole life, and finding a group to jam with is a process I've gone through many, many times. I'll start with a quote from one of the biggest names in rock and roll music: "Musicians should go to a yard sale and buy an old f****** drum set and get in their garage and just suck. And get their friends to come in and they'll suck, too. And then they'll f******* start playing and they'll have the best time they've ever had in their lives and then all of a sudden they'll become Nirvana. Because that's exactly what happened with Nirvana. Just a bunch of guys that had some s***** old instruments and they got together and started playing some noisy-a** s***, and they became the biggest band in the world. That can happen again! You don't need a f****** computer or the Internet or The Voice or American Idol ." - Dave Grohl The "old f****** drum set" is our first, crappy attempt at a build. We show up with some rainbow rolls, some 5- and 6-piece Striker sets, some Badger backpacks with max CHC and CHD rolls and Safeguard...you get the point. We show up with the best we've got and...yeah, it's an objective fact that these builds suck, they're at a fraction of the ideal damage output, and if everyone on the team is equipped that way, there's no chance in hell you're getting through...just like that garage band ain't getting a record deal any time soon. There's a pretty obvious issue with Mr. Grohl's logic here, if we apply the analogy to raiding - that matchmade group has a 1:1,000,000 chance of ever making a speedrun leaderboard, just like there are a million garage bands out there that will never become Nirvana. But I'll get to that later. Sometimes bands turn to LFG too, and it's not some magical answer. With my band, we tried putting a couple ads out on Craigslist to see if we could get someone to join. Sometimes the bassist that answers your ad, well, he's played hundreds of gigs with such-and-such band and knows 20 venue bookers, but when he shows up to your band practice to try things out, he's stoned off his ass and is a dick to everyone. Or, like my experience was, he shows up, he immediately busts out Flea's opening riff to RHCP's cover of Higher Ground like a badass, then never shows up to practice ever again. Or shows up and immediately appoints himself "band leader" and starts mocking everyone's rig and issuing orders after knowing everyone for all of 5 minutes, bringing a popular quote from The Big Lebowski to mind: "You're not wrong, Walter, you're just an asshole." Some people's priorities look like this, listed in a rough, somewhat fluid order of "highest to lowest" priority:
Number of clears
The friends you make along the way
...and for these people, Discord is undoubtedly the best answer. In music terms, some of these people are the folks looking for the million-dollar record deal. And I'll happily stand up for them - there ain't a damn thing wrong with wanting to be the best, and to be recognized for it on leaderboards. Some of these folks just don't want to waste time on a single wipe on their way to getting to the box inside the plane for their chance at an Eagle Bearer. Ain't a damn thing wrong with that either! In music terms, these are the dedicated gig musicians that want to "get theirs" for their time playing good-paying gigs at city-wide parties and jazz charts at charity gigs. They want to know the group they're playing with isn't just jamming - they want to know everybody knows their part, has their charts memorized, and keeps shit on time, so that everyone gets paid for a job well done. I get that too. Some people's priorities look like this, though:
The friends you make along the way
Trying out all the content you get for purchasing the game and helping randos do the same
Number of clears with your friends
The simplest and most accurate way of thinking about matchmaking is this: When someone hits that button, they're saying "I wanna play." And...holy shit! I love this game and I wanna play too! And we want that "open jam" kind of experience for the raid too. Again - we knowww that when you do an "open jam" you're liable to get that one guy that just stands in the corner and shrieks while furiously shaking a tambourine. It's all part of the experience, part of the stories you'll tell your buddies for the rest of your life. If we want that part of the experience for the raid, well...we're just shit outta luck, because apparently Massive thinks we can't handle it (even though some of us have been "handling it" just fine since TD1). But if you want to avoid that experience, you have your Discord and your LFGs. I've been playing music with the same bassist for 3/4ths of a decade, and the same guitarist for almost 20 years. We're each other's best friends. We've stood with each other for weddings, through births, through the best and worst of times. We've played the city-wide gigs, the dank dive bars, house parties, and even a military base once. We can't do any of that in a quarantine, and even with lockdowns being eased, my wife's a nurse that's out there treating the highest-of-high-risk patients that literally might die if my wife gets sick, so we still feel it's best to limit our exposure and only go out when we really need to. Still texting these guys every day, sharing jokes, swapping new music recommendations, and "keeping each other company" however we can. I'd trade a million-dollar record deal and being in a famous band easily for all the times I've been so low, I could barely get off the floor, and yet looking forward to the next jam, writing session, or gig gave me a reason to do a single pushup and get going again. These are guys I met by chance, just "rolling the dice" like you do with matchmaking by just being willing to jam with anyone, any time. If we sucked, we just laughed, tuned some things up and tightened some screws, and tried again. And again. And again. And if we ran out of time to jam, whether we "won" or not, we just looked forward to the next one, because win or lose, we were guaranteed a good time among friends. Did we meet, and have to kick, some assholes and idiots along the way? You bet. It's all part of the experience of finding people you really sync with, and when you do, it's pretty fucking amazing. You may never be Nirvana, but that's never the point. Our priorities aren't better, or worse, or more wrong, or more right, than the speedrunners and the "hundred clears club". The point for us "matchmakers" is to have fun doing something you love, and enjoying the moment when you find some honest, friendly player that's willing to work it out with you, no matter how many times it takes, and the groups where people actually listen because they're humble enough to learn...because there's a lot of life to be lived, and to remember, in that moment. I did this in TD1 and I'm still friends with those players too. We never wanted a glossy, perfect group that hit #1 on the Billboard charts (though again, there's nothing wrong with wanting that) and we don't have any delusions about how long it takes to build that group from scratch...or the fact that there are assholes and idiots everywhere you go, no matter what. Nobody has to "teach" me that you're going to find yourself in some clusterfuck groups of rainbow builds sometimes in matchmaking. Thanks for trying, but I already knew :) We just want to find whoever wants to jam, no matter what gear they bring or how good they are, so we can at least help, support, and be welcoming to them, and hopefully make some long-lasting friendships in the process. There's no sweeter song to me than the ones I wrote with the people who started from scratch with me. Even though I've done the raid a dozen times, flown through it with Discord and LFG groups, and hit that crate at the end nearly every time...win or lose, I never have more fun in this game than I do when I'm playing with the people in my tiny little clan of good buddies. And there ain't a damn thing wrong with that, either. Thanks for reading. -Saul, out-
By request: My Recap of the Leaked Tell-All video.
A slow descent into madness: an exhaustive recap of the tell all leak Supposedly the leaked video (clocking in at 10+ hours) was the second day filming. I watched the entire thing. This is a rambling list of the thoughts going through my mind while watching, and a fairly comprehensive timeline / summary of events, or at least the juiciest parts. I believe it becomes fairly obvious when my mental state started to decline - I was well into the 5th hour by then. Part 1: David The show begins an hour into the video. A lot of time was spent on David. Asking David the same questions, hoping he’d get a clue. Instead he doubled down on his delusion. David started in this endeavor by going on two trips with a friend over 20 years ago. He states he did not like it - 25 guys meeting 400 women in a big bar. He said it was horrible - he called the women aggressive and professional daters. He went on another trip with 10 guys meeting maybe 40 women in different cities. He describes receiving catalogs of women and selecting specific ones to meet on the trip. A friend he met on one of these trips introduced him to a web site in 2007. Lana does not work for the web site or get paid. According to David, the web sites are US sites, they contract through the agency that vets the “girls”. He insists Lana derives no income from the web site or agency. It’s illegal for him to contact her directly? He pays in order to not be scammed. He has known Lana for 7 years. She was too young at the start - he won’t “date” anyone under 25. He wasn’t talking to Lana for 2.5 years. He’s “dated” 30 girls in Ukraine when he wasn’t talking to Lana. He’s been to Ukraine 20 times. He’s been engaged twice to women over there (and twice in America.) David says Lana is very poor. Has very few clothes and possessions. She only has five pairs of shoes and gets a new pair of sneakers every 3 years or so. She doesn’t speak English. He bought her an iPhone to talk directly but she doesn’t like the keyboard because of her long fingernails. She can’t talk directly to him on the computer because the agency owns the laptop and monitors activity. He’s spent $250,000 to $300,000 on “dating” on these sites. He claims he’s a millionaire so the money is no object. Friends of David appear, say their piece, then disappear. Cesar appears. David had talked to Maria years ago. Said she was high maintenance. Yolanda and Usman join in. Usman has poor connection. Usman leaves. A wild Tom appears. Tom compliments Yolanda’s weight loss. Says he’s not hitting on her, just complimenting her. Tom doesn’t watch much of the show. Says David is his “fast forward couple”. Cesar says he visited Maria. Maria wasn’t happy he showed up. But she met him, they took photos, she asked to see his phone and he realized later she deleted the photos. They spent 10 days together, he got a couple of pecks on the cheek and lips? But no intimacy. Specified no tongue. Maria was “pissed off” that he showed up, refused to meet Cesar if the cameras were there. Wanted him to buy her a $500 pair of shoes and $300 dinner. Tom asks if he packed the chocolate panties. Cesar said he took the beaded candy ones. Yolanda said Cesar DMd her and left his phone number. Cesar says Yolanda is beautiful and that he “loves chocolate” with a Pervy laugh. But he says he was just reaching out as friends. Shaun asks Cesar if he DMs Tom. Tom confirms that he did, and that the alumni reach out to each other. Shaun asks Yolanda if she would date Cesar, she replies with an emphatic no. David went back to Ukraine and met Lana. They kissed, no other intimacy. He proposed, she accepted (they show clips.) Lana is still on the dating sites. David is still on the dating sites because Lana is. Lana is still on the site because that’s where her only friends are, David basically describes her as a shut in with no friends. At one point later in the show he drops the bombshell “love has nothing to do with it.” Ed appears. He’s holding Teddy (against the dog’s will) on his lap. Ed shouts into his mic. He yells repeatedly about David being scammed for the better part of 18 minutes. David gets excitable. Yells about this being bullshit. Yells at Tom that Darcey was still talking to other guys. The current status of the relationship? David thinks they’re not together. He hasn’t communicated with Lana in 6 days. But their engagement hasn’t been broken. So they’re engaged but no longer together? Lana refuses to participate because she’s getting hate mail from guys who have seen the show accusing her of being a scammer. Stephanie appears. Stephanie says she thinks it’s disgusting that Lana is being discussed like she’s a commodity. Points out that their relationship is transactional. David and Ed are screaming at each other over her. Stephanie Commends David for not worrying about spending $100,000 while Ed freaked out about spending $2. A clip of David proposing to Lana with a prop fake ring shows. David says the jeweler advises not buying a real diamond because he didn’t know her ring size. Says she wants to choose her own ring. Return to Ed and David arguing. Usman appears. David is getting heated. Bottom Line: David’s retiring to move to Ukraine, but started the K1 process. Shaun wraps the segment with David still arguing at the 3-hour mark. Shaun leaves (possibly to drink heavily - I would be if I was her.) I forgot to note that at some point Tom made a remark to Ed about him not being able to see his toes. It was a joke, but went completely missed by everyone else. David, Ed, Stephanie and Usman chit chat. Usman sings a bit. Part 2: Yolanda We resume at 3:30 with Yolanda. Yolanda had the flu at the beginning of December. She was in a coma for a month and was on a ventilator for 3 weeks. Her kidneys and liver were failing. Her doctor now believes she had Covid-19. She did not hear from Williams during that time. She heard from him just a couple of months ago. She didn’t tell him about her coma, he was talking about his aunt dying so it “didn’t come up.” He didn’t reach out directly, he went through “sweetberry” (?) on Instagram to ask if he could contact her again. Yolanda’s daughter and a PI the daughter hired join in. PI says the accounts have ties to Nigerian scammers. Usman joins. He knows nothing about Nigerian scammers, doubts they’re Nigerian. Usman leaves. Darcey joins. She’s wearing a platinum blonde wig, primping a bit, trying to center herself on the bed she’s sitting on. She’s nodding along to absolutely nothing, shaking her head and smiling periodically like she’s involved in a totally different conversation than we are seeing. Daughter and PI leave. Shaun asks Darcey what she thinks about Yolanda and Williams. Darcey goes into a spiel about being a target and people on IG preying on her. Starts talking about Jesse and Tom. Says she spent a lot of money on Jesse, says she helped Tom financially and bought him clothes and gifts. Goes into a tangent of non-specific items, won’t provide a direct answer on how much she spent but finally claims she spent $2000 on Tom. Erika appears. Shaun tries to get back on the topic of Yolanda and Willams. Shaun asks Erika about her opinion on The Williams mystery IG account and the blackmail. Darcey uses that opportunity to talk about being targeted by a “network of people” that was calculated by “people in different countries to target certain people around the world.” “Maybe Nigeria was a part of it, Maybe England was a part of it”. After Tom, Darcey says she met someone who targeted her, says it was a couple she knew and Tom was a part of it, says IP addresses traced to Nottingham and there’s a network of people targeting women around the world. Darcey claims her second time in Amsterdam she was robbed while shopping after Jesse told her to leave her passport if she was going out shopping. Later says pickpocketed. Implies that the robbery was a setup by Jesse. Shaun tries to redirect the subject back to Yolanda and Williams. Lisa appears. Lisa jumps right in with her expertise about Yahoo Boys, G-Men and grooming people. Darcey drops off and Usman reappears. Lisa’s gravelly voice takes on a fake Nigerian accent as they yell “baby love” at each other. Lisa goes on about her social media expertise. Explains the three different cultures of Nigeria. She tells Yolanda to join the Facebook Group SSA: Scamming Scammers Action that Lisa is a big part of. They convince Yolanda to try to call Williams on speakerphone. No answer. Lisa is also an expert in African and Nigerian accents FYI. Erika leaves. David reappears. Lisa dominates the conversation. Keeps recounting conversations and events of hackings and stuff. Lisa starts talking about Blood Rituals. Sacrifices. Money rituals. Voodoo dolls. Kidnappings. Killing people to bring luck in scamming people. They believe in black magic and juju. Lisa and Usman keep interrupting each other. Usman has never heard of this. Lisa insists this is real. Go to SSA on Facebook, all the proof is there. Yolanda, David and Shaun are stunned silent. Usman is trying to fact check Lisa’s completely far-fetched theories. Lisa purses her beak. Finally, Shaun redirects. Yolanda says she’s done. If she hears from Williams again she’s done. Yolanda is getting DMs all the time offering to FaceTime her. David tells her to go get her Groove back in Jamaica. Yolanda and David both get DMs encouraging them to hook up since they’re both in Vegas. We are 5 hours 10 minutes in. Let’s see a clip! We see Lana before she met David. She’s at the gym. She’s walking around Kiev in a silver puffer jacket and Nikes. She using her iPhone (with her short nails) to take pictures. She’s shopping for makeup. She’s sipping a latte in a cafe while typing on her laptop. She’s talking to a friend on her iPhone. She talks about America. She knows that you can get married quickly in Las Vegas. She tells her friend she has an exciting day tomorrow “I’m meeting an American.” Her friend asks if he’s wealthy. Shaun points out the inconsistencies in Lana’s apparent poverty and David’s understanding of her circumstances. David says “that’s not real”. We spent the next 10 minutes or so with Yolanda, Usman, Lisa and Shaun trying to talk some sense into David. It doesn’t work. Shaun leaves for a break. Ash appears. We spend the next while discussing quarantine. Ash hadn’t heard about Yolanda being sick, his eyes get wide when he hears her coma tale. They’re talking about lockdowns and restrictions and being able to go where you want. David thinks they’re talking about Ash being able to visit the US on his Australian passport. Lisa’s ex-husband just got out of prison. David lives in a rental house that’s being sold in a month. Yolanda asks if people read their tweets. Lisa has a stalker with 25 accounts. Lisa now has her phone number and address. She’s going to have her arrested and “put charges against her”. David gets death threats. Back to Yolanda and the Covid. David leaves. Tom returns. He asks how many bottles of lube Lisa and Usman used raw dogging it. She said none - I’m guessing she just peed on him a la Dinyell. More R-rated banter. Lisa tells Tom to ask about Usman refusing to join the mile high club. Ash looks stunned into silence. Maybe a bit frightened. He’s retreated to his nothing box. Usman tries to explain about the 70%, that it’s a B and a compliment. Tom asks why she paid twice the going rate for a goat. Lots of goat talk. Peeing goat talk. Showering the goat. Walking in sandals through mud and goat shit. Tom makes a crack about not being the only cast members showering with animals. Ash asks about Ed showering with Rosemarie’s father? Then his feed goes out. Lisa starts talking about gross food. Tom are goat brain in Albania. Lisa starts everything with “Usman, tell them about the time...” then just talks over him to tell the story herself. Stephanie appears. Ed appears. Usman leaves. Lisa tells them about the armed convoy everywhere they went. Ed wants to know about the goat. More goat tales. 7 hour 10 minute mark. Part 3: Lisa and Usman Shaun is back with Lisa and Usman. We lose Usman. Lisa had surgery. She hurt her baby toe before going to Nigeria. Ruptured a blood vessel. It swelled up in Africa. Returned to the US with a dead/dying toe. Got infected, went gangrenous, was amputated. Usman returns. The next segment is insufferable. Usman says Lisa calls him a N***** frequently. Lisa screams about opening a can of worms. Usman asks if American women are all like this. Lisa and Usman are married but keep blocking each other. Lisa is Usman’s first serious relationship. Lisa freaks out about women on Usman’s comments and in his DMs. Says she’s seen the other girls Usman dated, they’re “3 times my size”. They fight about Trish Playtas. Lisa talks over Usman. Yells, curses, threatens. Enter Giant and Aba (?) after 25 minutes of toxic bullshit. Lisa talks about getting “gangbanged”. (I think she means ganged up on, but she’s so cringe who can tell.) Lisa has a screaming match. Hangs up because she was “mistreated and disrespected”. Enter Lisa’s friend Nikki. Nikki screams about disrespect for the next forever. Lisa returns. There’s endless raspy screeching about bitches, clowns, motherfuckers and more disrespect. Fuck you. Fuck outta here. Shaun loses all control. Aba and Nikki scream at each other some more. Shaun gives up. She is writing something just below the screen. I suspect it’s her resignation letter. Finally Shaun redirects the conversation. She brings up the polygamy. If Lisa has an egg and can tote it, Usman doesn’t want another wife. If Lisa can’t squat and hatch Usman’s offspring, he will take another wife. Cue Lisa’s expertise on polygamy. Clip Roll: the night before the wedding, Lisa storms off and disrespects Usman’s brothers the night before the wedding. Lisa cackles. Avery and Ed appear. Usman and Lisa keep arguing. Shaun asks Avery’s perception. Avery asks “where is the love?” All she sees is them screaming over each other and assert themselves. Before Lisa can respond Ed jumps in. Lisa calls the kettle black and says Avery and Ed aren’t portrayed well. Ed started to watch the show after he decided to be on it. Ed compliments Usman for being calm and respectful and not using any foul words. Lisa Cackles. Ed calls her a bull in a china shop “no disrespect”. Says he thought she was the definition of a narcissist, but says she’s actually the definition of delusional. Lisa interrupts. Usman starts singing. Lisa and Ed scream over each other. Lisa tells Avery to shut up, says she went on Ed’s live drunk and making an ass of herself. Ed keeps screaming “delusional”. Lisa calls Avery a drunk. Avery tells Usman “not all American women are like that”, Lisa rebounds with “that’s why Ash dumped your ass.” Ed tells Usman there are many more nicer women. Ed: she treated you like a piece of shit. She treated you like a slave. Lisa: you are a piece of shit! Ed: you made America Sick! Lisa: Ed Fuck You! Fuck You! Lisa: you abused Rose to go on this show because no fucking other woman would! You fucking used her (x 5). Shut the fuck up. More screaming over each other. Usman begs Ed to calm down. Lisa: you’re going to let this fucking pervert who’s got charges for sexual harassment... you’re going to let this idiot come at me with the fucking charges he’s got? This fucking pervert has been grooming women. The women are coming out of the woodwork saying Ed has molested them, he’s groomed them, and god only knows what the fuck else he did to them. More screaming. Ed: the internet is fake! Lisa: Harry (producer) remove these two right now! Lisa calls them Thing 1 and Thing 2 and demands Harry remove them. Ed gets cut. Lisa continues to scream at Avery about glass houses. Tom appears. Usman is yelling now. Shaun tries to gain control. Tom: I was nervous delivering that letter to Darcey but coming in to this conversation is wild! Shaun brings up the polygamy subject again. Lisa might move to Nigeria for The Other Way. Shaun disappears. Avery drops. Lisa says “Tom, this is all for show. It’s a dog and horse, pony show I call it.” Tom blows smoke up her ass. His idea of love is apparently jealousy, anger and disrespect. He says it’s obvious they love each other because apparently only people truly in love can be that hateful and vicious and angry to each other. Shaun is back. Darcey appears. Usman is singing. Darcey is swaying to Soja Boy, slurring, “do it big! Lisa, Be the queen!” Darcey’s been in the sauce. Usman tells Lisa to cover her bra. More second wife talk. Tom asks a question about what kind of second wife Usman would have. Darcey says something. Shaun asks Lisa a question. Usman freaks out and screams “Tom asked me a question, let me answer the question”. This leads to Lisa screaming at Shaun about disrespecting Usman, screams at the producer “you better tell this hostess to shut her mouth” shut up! Shut up!” Usman keeps yelling. Shaun trying to calm everyone. Lisa: Barb! Barb! Barb! Do you hear me? It’s time to cut her now! Barb! Cut her now! Barb! Cut the fucking thing, cut it now! She’s disrespecting Usman! Fucking stop it! Stop it barb! Fuck off! Darcey looks like a confused bobble head. Lisa hangs up. Usman and Darcey talk about Trish Playtas. Darcey: things are don’t differently in America, I’ve been in the entertainment industry way before Tom, way before Jesse. Usman starts to explain going live with Trish. Lisa returns. Part 4: Wrap Ups and “where does your relationship stand?” Shaun turns to Darcey and Tom, asks where the future of their relationship is. Lisa and Usman respond loudly, not letting them talk. Finally, Lisa and Usman are gone. Tom: friends maybe blah blah blah great mom, good person, wish you the best. Darcey: my journey, my daughters, my brother who passed blah blah blah don’t want toxic negativity Ash and Avery return: same question Ash is worried about his hair being cut off on the screen. Ash started the journey with the intent to propose. Says he loves her. Breaking up was the hardest thing. Future is going to be looking after his family. Ash answers the question in a concise, straight forward manner. Just kidding. He uses a lot of words to absolutely avoid answering anything. Avery says this is a hard question to ask someone who just separated. She trails off. I think... I don’t... I wanted... honestly... Erika and Stephanie return: where do you stand? Not even friends. Can they ever be friends? Stephanie says best case is friends from afar. Erika says they’ve been friends and fought many many times. She came in today wanting to speak and wasn’t able to do that, but doesn’t hold any hate. It’s going to be hard to see any of this in a positive light. Erika didn’t get a change to express that she took a big step coming out to her parents then Stephanie dumped her the next morning. Stephanie came out to her mom too apparently, but it wasn’t like Erika’s coming out (receptive and kind). Pick up lines: Asking what they’ve been doing during the quarantine, will air at the beginning of the show. (Erika makes earrings!) Shaun has to rephrase the question to Stephanie to ask specifically about... HER ILLNESS! Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Yolanda wrap up: no more online dating. She’s going to meet men at the market or the casino. Old school. Ed wrap up: who cares. Ok. I guess we do. Shaun asks about the shower. I just can’t listen to him anymore. Then she asks about the first night they were intimate. I’m going to barf. Ed takes full responsibility for “not the things I did, but the way I did them”. Rose is mad at him right now. She wanted to reconcile February 9. Ed is taking a break from dating (sorry ladies!) but Rose taught him to love again and “she didn’t destroy me like my first marriage did.” His mom is moving in with him. But she’s a nurse so hasn’t moved in yet. Ed’s mom is a nurse caring for a young child with a tracheostomy. Ed sucks, but a round of applause for Mother Ed is deserved. David wrap up: David is going to retire earlier than planned because of the recession resulting from the quarantine. Shaun asks about the first kiss. David says something about bowling. He bowls 4 strikes with Lana. The girls in Ukraine love bowling but don’t get to do that. So he takes them. He bets kisses for every strike he bowls. Lana is upset over the publicity from the show. Gets physically ill in front of the camera. If she won’t come to the US or dumps him, he will live part time in the Ukraine - 3 months at a time - to continue dating women there. It’s over. Thank God.
Is part of this mess due to widely distributed media and news?
So until about 20 years ago most people watched the same shows and news. If you talk to anyone in their 30's or 40's or 50's chances are each group watched the same television shows, listened to the same music, watched the same news programs, read the same magazines, etc. Ask any person who was a kid or teen in the 80's and chances are they watched the same Saturday morning cartoons or same primetime programs. This ended with the Internet... now people young and old have an unlimited collection of media to watch, and with so many sources comes such a variety of validity. People now instead of getting their news and information from people like Walter Cronkite or programs like 60 Minutes they find media that validates whatever they believe. If someone's hard conservative or liberal they watch the media that leans so far to either side they're seeing a very filtered or just a wrong view of the world. In general this isn't a huge issue other than on the political front -- but now what I'm seeing are people who are making decisions about Covid based on very flawed information. If someone doesn't want to wear masks they'll find a zillion sources to prove to themselves why they shouldn't wear it. If this hit 20-30 years ago though if all 3 major networks and the few news networks blitzed the airwaves saying masks should be worn and if the numbers were put front and center showing people fighting and loosing the fight I'm betting many would have a more urgent way of looking at the situation. Instead people watch the news that aligns with their out of sync beliefs and they never see the true, accurate state of things. Not sure if there's any solution, you can't bring a horse to water... I wish more politicians would stress the urgency of this since that seems to be the root of much of this.
In order of importance: Big Board: Click for Big Board Ratings sheets will be sent out to everyone soon, check your messages so we can get some ratings up! Captains: Bamboozler - The Big Board Lord relinquished his big board duties to focus on getting another NFTL championship. Betting markets are high after a dark horse run in the MLTP S21 playoffs. Scouts say he's been preparing by dedicating his time to writing essays detailing the fundamentals of Neutral Flag gameplay in a competitive setting. RacgiMan - Probably should have retired after winning the TagPro Monopoly Championship, but he's back for another run to defend his previous nFTL title. Scouts say he's been preparing by honing his mechanics on Minecraft parkour maps. SpaceTiger - The man himself hopes to build on past success and relive the glory days of NFTL S1. Even the commissioner is afraid of the Sex Gang power. Scouts say he's preparing for the season by watching archival footage from NFTL S1 to find the special spark again. Vader - Leader of the only team who still has an archived team channel on the comp discord, Vader's back to get another NFTL championship. Scouts say he's preparing by making a weapon to cripple the internet of his opponents. refined - He's already got a championship in each tier of NFTL, but scouts say he's going through at least ten mock drafts a day to ensure he can secure a third championship. Poeticalto - some random guy picked off the street to be a captain. Scouts say he's secretly been training with TToC_BOT to get into form for NFTL but is still entertaining offers for NPC. I'd like to get 8-10 teams for the season, so if you're interested in captaining, let me know please. c: Draft: Draft is still this Sunday. If you're interested in streaming, let me know. Time will be finalized with the captains soon. To expedite the draft, we'll be doing four rounds of Vickrey auction followed by a snake draft to fill out the rest of the spots. Team servers will be finalized after the draft to allow captains to be more flexible in their draft plans. We will be following the NLTP server chart this season in regards to team servers. If you haven't already, sign up for NFTL using the directions here!
Larry correia on people asking why gun owners aren't jumping in to fight.
Larry Correia speaks the truth. A friend of mine posted about seeing this: “Where are all you gun owners now that the federal government and police are attacking citizens in the streets?? Now that the National Guard is out oppressing citizens? I thought this was the moment you’re waiting for? So why aren’t you out there fighting them with your guns? You’re nothing but a bunch of fucking cowards!” My response was the GIF of Nelson Muntz going HA HA. 😀 But I’ve seen this sentiment a lot too over the last few days, so please if you are so incredibly fucking dumb that you are actually wondering why America’s gun culture aren’t commuting into the democrat cities you have banned us from in order to get into gun fights with the National Guard on your behalf, allow me to elaborate. Hypothetical Liberal “Ally” Who Lives in the Suburbs Which Aren’t On Fire – “Hey, gun owners! Here is some civil unrest! Why won’t you come and help us?” Snort. Fuck off. 😀 “Pussies! Why not?” Well, every single gun nut in America has spent their entire adult life being continually mocked, insulted, and belittled by the left. You’ve done nothing but paint us as the bad guys. In Hollywood, we’re always evil, stupid, violent, malicious, redneck, racist, murderers. That’s so ingrained in the liberal religion that when “ally” Harvey Weinstein was trying to get out of being a sleazy rapist, his repentance consisted of promising to make more movies about how the NRA is bad. In the news, everything is always our fault. If there is a mass murder, we can always count on the vultures to swoop in and blame America’s gun culture. They flog it for weeks on end, 24/7 coverage, hoping for gun control. And if the identity of the shooter doesn’t fit the narrative, it drops off the news in mere hours. And then at the local, state, and federal level, legally speaking, the left fucks us at every opportunity. You ban everything you can get away with. You ban things that literally make no sense. You ban shit just out of spite. When we fight back against gun control laws, you declare we are stupid because only the police should have guns (hey, aren’t those the guys you are protesting right now?) “Stupid racist rednecks! We live in a civilized society! Don’t you realize the police will protect us?” until when your democrat cities are on fire, and you call 911 and the operator tells you sorry, the police can’t come to your house right now, please try not to get murdered… How is that strict gun control working out for you? Then you did everything in your power to chase gun owners out of your sainted liberal strongholds. You passed laws. You banned everything we like. Forced all the shooting ranges to close. Forced most of the gun stores to close. And just generally let us know that our kind is not welcome there. But now you’ve started some shit, YOU want US to go into democrat cities, with democrat mayors, and democrat police chiefs enforcing democrat policies which cause strife among democrats, in order to get into gun fights on your behalf? How fucking gullible do you think we are? 😀 Like holy shit. Damn dude! Because we all know that literally 30 seconds after a gun nut blows away a government employee on your behalf, then all the national media coverage of the riots will instantly cease (sorta like the Corona Virus coverage did) and it’ll be back to the news breathlessly reporting about right wing extremist gun nuts, and all you useless fucks would go back to whining for more dumb ass gun control. You’ve already thrown the black community under the bus, cheering as their neighborhoods get burned and yours are safe. Seriously, white liberals are the shittiest “allies” in history, and your moral foundation has the consistency of Play-Doh. Your moral compass is a wind sock. Just a little while ago, gun nuts had a massive peaceful protest in Virginia. Tens of thousands of people turned out to protest gun control proposals from a democrat with a penchant for wearing black face (he still considers himself an “ally” though!) They didn’t break any windows. They didn’t kill any puppies. They didn’t burn any horses. They didn’t flip any police cars or murder any security guards. They were downright boring. They were polite, and even cleaned up their litter. Except then you called them domestic terrorists, and were super sad that they didn’t get massacred by the government (said government you are now mad at for killing people, because again, you fuckers ain’t exactly consistent) Liberal “allies” are quick to call gun nuts the bad guys, but we’re not trying to disarm people. We want everybody to be able to defend themselves. It’s a common thing to see some meme on the internet, showing a black family shooting or posing with their guns, with some caption like “bet this offends the NRA”, which is liberal projection, because in reality in my social circles everybody is like, “fuck yeah, good for them”. And the harshest complaints I’ve seen have been about trigger finger discipline or lack of eye protection. My side isn’t the one that wants the state to have a monopoly on force. We know the 2nd is for everybody, regardless of skin color or where you live. You fuckers are the ones who keep declaring we can’t fight the government with AR-15s because they have tanks and nukes, but then you bumbling fuckheads try it by throwing rocks? So not only no, but hell no. tl;dr: liberals have constantly fought against gun rights, called gun owners dumb rednecks etc, and now are demanding that gun owners stand up for them. the answer is NO
[SocJus] Equestria Daily: "On Racism in the Fandom, and Equestria Daily Going Forward"
So Equestria Daily, the largest site for the My Little Pony fandom, has just issued a statement about the recent news article of Nazis in the MLP fandom. Now, normally I'd just link to the story and move on, but we've reach a point in the current moral panic where I can no longer contain my screams at how everyone is abandoning rationality in their haste to demonstrate that they're not bad-thinkers, lest the censors and moral scourges bring the wrath of the self-righteous mob down on them. Because if nuance and reason are nothing but fig leaves for moral corruption, then I'm sorry but the price for whatever "better world" these fuckers want to build is starting to look too damn high.
As most of you have probably heard by now, The Atlantic did a piece on the fandom a few days ago about a underground movement of Nazis and general alt-right pony fans who lurk in the shadows of our little online pony world here. This has sparked a lot of justified outrage, with many demanding that imagery involving their movement be removed from the biggest sites in the fandom.
What exactly is it that makes this outrage "justified"? There's necessarily more to it than simply disliking, disagreeing with, or disapproving of some particular content. No, to demand that some content be removed (even if you try and preface that with "(only from) the biggest sites in the fandom," that's a bit of pretension that pretends that these people will be fine with it being posted elsewhere, which we know is false), necessarily transcends mere personal feelings of "it's not for me." This level of "justified outrage" requires that the work in question be deemed immoral in nature. That is, that it's held to intrinsically damage the fabric of (some segment of) a society, and therefore allows for said society to suppress, expel, or destroy said work in order to maintain its social integrity. Which sounds understandable on its face until you remember that we're talking about art. Yes, you can say that cartoon pony bullshit doesn't live up to the title of being "art," but that's a half-witted attempt at deflection. "Art" is not limited to those creative works that have been decided by society at large to have cultural value. Rather, it's the recognition that any creative endeavor has the potential to be reevaluated at any time in our future history and found to possess value that previous generations might not have recognized. And so we hold it to be self-evident that the suppression of art is wrong, even when it's simply pushed out of a society instead of being outright destroyed. But fuck it, that means standing up for shit that's not only childish, embarrassing, disgusting, and even "racist," which means that the only people who'd do that are clearly degenerates, disguising their corruption behind a wall of appeals to pseudo-conceptual higher morals, right?
Stuff that has slipped through the cracks over the years as parody or just generally lost in the flood of content that happens due to our humongous creative side.
How do you know it's not parody?! Do you have some sort of superpower that lets you break Poe's law at will? Or are you just so pants-shittingly scared of people thinking that you're in league with the Nazi League of Evil that you're afraid to allow for anything that could be construed as "racist"?
For the sake of not bumping regular pony stuff off the front page, I'm throwing the break in here. If you want nothing to do with this, I understand. For many in our fandom, pony is an escape from the troubles of real life, and keeping it pure is important. Know that while we will continue to post art and celebrate content that champions good causes, the site itself will not be turning into a world news site. We post ponies, and that will always be the focus.
Yeah, the disclaimer here would be a lot easier to believe if it didn't simply take one half-assed article to make you fold like a cheap card table. Seriously, did any notable segment of the fandom itself think that this was a real problem? While I have no doubt that there were a few dissidents complaining that shit that they didn't like was allowed to exist on the websites they visited, the hammer of social disapproval was thrown down by someone who quite clearly wasn't part of your community. Why are you bending over backwards to accommodate people who aren't part of your subculture?
So... evils in the Brony fandom.
Oh fuck you for granting the premise, you fucking coward.
I personally completely flopped with the initial Atlantic article about it. I spend a large amount of time every day digging into the actual content being created to post here on the site and keep you all informed on what is going on with the official show and fandom projects, but when it comes to exploring the discussions, causes, and mumbling going on behind the scenes I haven't ever been very attentive.
This sounds suspiciously like a mea culpa, which is exactly what you don't want to do. Just because you run a fandom website doesn't require that you police what's being posted there for anything except shit that's blatantly illegal. You should in no way feel responsible for culling "evil" content!
I'm not involved in much on that side of things. I have my tight artist communities and the like, but we rarely discuss what is actually happening in the fandom in favor of sticking to just sharing cool content and critiquing that. Politics in particular are something I never cross my pony streams with, but this has moved on past the world of simple politics.
Why? Because some hack of a jackass wrote an article condemning your community for not living up to their standards? Why are you accepting their take on what's going on in a tiny amount of what's already a fairly niche subculture? Why not just say "go fuck yourself, the existence of this stuff in no way evidences moral degeneracy on our part, and we reject your labeling us that way"?
Needless to say, I never realized the actual racism was so prevalent.
FUCKING HELL!!! What makes you think that it is?! Even leaving aside quantitative definitions of what constitutes "prevalent," what makes you so sure that it's "actual racism"?! At what point is shitposting, irreverance, and yes, even "edgy" content taken to be evidence of actual beliefs?! Most people that I know of enjoy blowing off steam by engaging in symbolic rejections of social norms, even when they believe in those norms themselves! People who would never seriously hurt someone like to play violent video games (oh, excuse me, "murder simulators"). People who respect women will enjoy porn that features all sorts of degrading sex-play. And people who are committed to judging others by the content of their character will engage in politically incorrect expressions. This is a healthy way of relieving themselves of stress, NOT some secret expression of actual antipathy toward people who are different from them!
That the jokey World War 2 OC's that occasionally pop up on my Deviant Art subscriptions had gone from parody to actual shoutouts to fellow like-minded racists. I knew there were some people that took it too far, but it has evolved into a disturbing little movement that we obviously want no part of here on EQD.
Fuck you! How do you know that it's become some sort of "dog-whistle" (a term that's been inflated to mean that anything and everything has become "coded language" now)? Maybe the shout-outs are to other people who aren't interested in having their down-time policed, and simply want to meet other like-minded individuals who are interested in not being judged for enjoying harmless displays of counterculture? Why is that presumption rejected outright?
Even I, back in the early days, got a kick out of "Aryanne", an OC Nazi pony that was used more as a slapstick Inglourious Basterds or Jojo Rabbit style parody than anything. Looking back, it is definitely a black mark on my overall fandom record and something I regret. Especially now that she has essentially become a mascot to the current hate breeding in our community.
NO NO NO NO NO!!! You're doing it again! Stop presuming that the judgment of the moral scolds is necessarily true and correct! Give people the benefit of the doubt before you decide that they're simply trying to find a paper-thin covering for being evil! So some people made a blonde-haired blue-eyed white pony with a swastika cutie mark. Just typing that sentence should make it fucking clear that this isn't meant to be taken seriously! You'd have think people figured that out once we had people unironically reporting that a cartoon frog was a Nazi symbol, but apparently the hysteria is alive and well. And you know what? Even if these things are being co-opted by actual neo-Nazis, guess what? The proper thing to do is to take them back! Instead of saying "well, this is tainted now, better abandon it like a French line of defense," you dig in and say "No! These things are OURS, and we won't let them be redefined!"
While the wild west that is 4chan tends to be the place stuff like this is assumed to be coming from, it's not entirely to blame this time. We've received numerous reports that there are entire alt-right Brony Discord groups that regularly share and promote racist ideologies.
What the fuck do you mean you've received "reports" that these groups exist? Are people under the impression that you're some sort of authority position in the fandom, instead of just being a news and content repository? Because if so, you've clearly swallowed the hype, and it's not helping you. That's not even getting into these groups themselves, which might be actual racist groups or might just be people who enjoy the ironic nature of taking a show and presenting it as something completely opposite to its original nature. For fuck's sake, fandoms tend to love reimagining, reinterpreting, and reworking shit as a rule! Yeah, a lot of it is Rule 34 porn, most of it is shit, and some of it is porn involving shit, but that doesn't mean that this is somehow reflective of the reality that the people involved want to see! Do those reports of "groups that post racist ideologies" include the "zebradom" fans? For those who don't know, this is another sub-niche in the brony fandom that involves zebras (after people decided that the show's one canon zebra character character represented black people) taking over the pony nation of Equestria, typically involving forced sexual subjugation. Why is there no moral hand-wringing going on over that? The selective nature of this outrage showcases just how unreliable it is.
Convention parties with Hitler flags and Nazi salutes, which sounds like the most bizarre thing ever coming from a fandom about colorful talking horses of all shapes and shades. Here we are though, and it's something that we need to grapple with going forward.
What the fuck? Did that ever even actually happen? Did it happen with any sort of regularity, or is this like people dressing up as Imperial officers from Star Wars? Because right now this sounds like an urban legend right up there with rainbow parties.
For Equestria Daily, we already stopped posting Aryanne and the various other nazi ponies ages ago, and I want to assure you all they won't be coming back. While I have always been a champion of free speech especially in art, due to how much pain these characters cause people, we simply don't feel it worth promoting in any way shape or form. There are places to explore that art if you want it. They aren't welcome here though. She has slipped through with her butt symbol hidden a few times due to the sheer flood of art we get, but if it ever happens in the future, know that I or any of the others on the site are just an email away for quick removal.
You can do what you want on your own website, buddy. But you don't get to call yourself a champion of free speech in the arts if you start taking down content just because of some so-called "pain" that it causes some people. It's one thing to be violently assaulted on the street, it's another to experience some sort of existential crisis because a drawing triggered you. Saying that people are free to do it somewhere else is your way of trying to say "I'm not really suppressing speech." Yes, you are. You might have a legal right to do so, but in terms of actual moral actions, this is you compromising and trying to make a surrender seem like a win.
As for the people involved in this, they are out there. Your best bet is to avoid supporting them in any way. In the end, these types will always find a hole to conduct their business from. The internet has millions of them. Enjoy the pone, and keep supporting good causes and good creators.
And you had to go completely over the edge right at the end there, didn't you? "Avoid supporting them in any way"? So you want these people marginalized? Ostracized? Exiled from society completely? Because in my experience, that's the quickest way to radicalize someone. People who are invested in society don't try to undermine it, but when you push them out of a society then they're quick to realize that they don't have much left to lose. When you tell people that they're already part of a dangerous fringe group, it doesn't elicit some sort of panicked reaction where they try and dissociate themselves from them. It makes them wonder if that fringe really isn't so bad after all, since they're apparently already part of it. You claim to be against racism, but you keep surrendering intellectual territory to racists, and portraying them as being simultaneously a group of pathetic, disgusting people who are somehow also an existential threat to contemporary society. Posts like this one inflate the presence of the very thing they claim to stand against, because they've surrendered rational thought for panic, joining the mob in order to avoid being targeted by it. No good can come of such things, and I mourn for what will be lost before the unsustainable push for greater and greater moral purity finally collapses in on itself. EDIT: So Quillette has posted a rebuttal article, which Equestria Daily has signal-boosted, albeit with far less enthusiasm.
In most cases, speaking multiple languages is really not that impressive.
There is a common trope online which goes like this: - Someone says something in broken English. - Some rude person replies with a snarky comment about it. - Some other person replies with 'Oh get off your high horse I bet you only speak one language this person is infinitely more intelligent than you because they are multilingual" Just to be clear and not cause any confusion, I wholeheartedly agree with the third person's sentiment: you should never make fun of someone for speaking broken english. But on the other hand, speaking multiple languages is really not that much of a feat. I say that as someone who speaks arabic, french and english fluently. It is impressive if you learn to speak a language later on in life, but the vast majority of multilingual people are not multilingual by choice. Bilingualism is the norm outside of the english speaking world, people just learn to speak english at school or are subjected to english media and they naturally learn to speak it. In my country bilingualism is expected (arabic/english or arabic/french) and about a third of the population is trilingual. I think on the english speaking internet, since monolingualism is the norm, people imagine us spending endless nights trying to learn multiple languages while really speaking multiple languages is just a fact of life in other parts of the world. As I said before some people do learn to speak a language later on in life and those people should be congratulated since it's not an easy thing to do, but for most people that's not how it is.
Fort Elmond Valley: Session 1 (Vaults and Vertibirds)
Lately, I've been giving another look at a game called Vaults and Vertibirds, hosted at VnV. It's a pretty nifty conversion of Fallout mechanics into D&D 5e, while still doing its own thing. I'd pondered converting my Apocalypse Fox game over to the system, but wanted to give it a test drive. Thus, I decided to run its prewritten adventure, Fort Elmond Valley, in a solitaire session. While Apoc-Fox is my own setting, I wanted to give a Fallout vibe to the setting. This adventure isn't exactly canon to my game, but is a mish-mash of the FO canon used with my own. Also needed a reason for Dana to travel all the way to Ohio from New York, heh. If interested, here are my slap-dash stats for Dana's beastly race, the Moreau: MOREAU
AGI +2, Speed: 40 ft, HD d6, Rad Resist 50
Natural Weapons: Can claw or bite for d4 damage when unarmed
Critter Spook: Disadvantage to interact with animals (mutated or otherwise), but -2 damage on their attacks against you (min. 1 dmg)
Will be using the "Survival Mode" rules in the Overseer's Operations Handbook (the game's Dungeon Master Guide). If interested in Dana's stats, as always, here's an Imgur upload. Also, I'm providing a link to an oracle I'm using, as I forgot where I grabbed it from. Still using a basic d6 oracle for the all-caps stuff, (1 = NO, AND; 2 = NO; 3 = NO, BUT; etc) Session 1: Varmint Among Hayseed “It ended when you said, goodbye...” The song finished on Dana's smartphone, tuned into the Ohio radio station known as W-RQN. It had been a long trip on her collapsible bicycle, but her contacts had made traveling to Fort Elmond Valley from Lock City much, much less grueling. And made it take less than a week's travel by herself! The tech cult in New York, the Scholars of the Super-Highway, had contact with an even greater one. This hermetic faction, calling itself the Brotherhood of Steel, made the Scholars an offer they couldn't refuse. In the valley, the locals had a tough time giving their dues to the Brotherhood, in exchange for their protection. Because Dana was a freelance adventurer and deniable (some would say disposable) asset, the Scholars offered her up as a bargaining chip on behalf of the settlers of Fort Elmond. If Dana could known and understand their plight, and find a way for them to compensate the Brotherhood once more, she could save them. And also not be on their dissection table. Despite the paranormal apocalypse, the Brotherhood knew little of the so-called Moreau race, of which Dana was a member. Other names abound for such animal-like people, including “parahuman” or “furry”. This was, of course, when people didn't try to shoot them, whether or not they are mistaken for monsters. Finally arriving at the abandoned cabin (Area 1) where she'd spend her time, the vixen entered and crashed on the cot. Her legs were aching, and the pedals had dug into her unshod feet by now. Some spare pre-fall food, preserved with amazing technology and fresh even decades later, lazily sat all about the cabin. Would the foodstuffs last at least a week? NO, AND nothing was as good as it seemed – anything of real nutritional value was breached and spoiled by now. “Fuck. Off to a lovely start,” Dana grumbled to herself. According to the d6 oracle, it'd been sunny and warm all day, and night was starting to fall. This early in the evening, the vixen's instincts to hunt bothered her. With only some oversized rat meat left in her pack, she'd need more nourishment than Ever-Puft marshmallows or Judah-brand graham crackers. Was there even any chocolate left? NO, BUT there was a jar of peanut butter. Maybe it'd last a day or two? If her intel was correct, the two closest spots were an old farm (Area 2), and some kind of camp site (Area 3). Intel didn't give any info on the camp, but they didn't get close. Even if Ohio had a fair amount of its technology working, due to the nuclear plant within the Fort Elmond region, dangerous individuals were always eager to take it by force. Perhaps Dana could get some extra food from the farm? Surely, somehow had to maintain it. She gets up, stowing her Mole Rat Chunks and two bottles of Dirty Water, and sets out to investigate the farm. As a house rule, I'll roll Survival to see if Dana remains undisturbed while en route. Her Survival roll is 88, which is pretty low compared to her skill rank of 45, but not terrible. So I ask: does Dana run into a combat encounter? NO, AND she doesn't encounter anything, to be honest. It's eerily quiet when she arrives at Hofmann Farm, actually. Not even a candlelight in the farmhouse. Seems they grow some kind of sharp-looking grain, and an odd-looking red-brown fruit with leaves of deadly nightshade. Unsuccessfully, Dana's Survival comes up 59 – it has to be edible, right? Surely, they wouldn't notice a single fruit missing? Snatching and chomping into the thing, Dana wretches. “Damn!” Whatever this fruit is, it tastes awful and its flesh is hard as a potato! She lets it drop to the dirt. Even with her spitting out the alleged crop loudly, not a sound. With a DC 10 Perception check, Dana rolls a Natural 20! There's no way this place is abandoned, and not even recently. The plants aren't picked clean, and the fields were tended recently. She decides to slip past the fields of razorgrain and... whatever the hell she tried to eat... and approaches the homestead. Unsure of what to expect, she turns on her plasma pistol in her pocket, the energy weapon warming up at the flick of a switch. And she knocks... ...and she's greeted by an older fellow, carrying an old candlestick in one hand, and a hunting rifle in the other. Though startled at first by her appearance, the weathered redneck blinks. “...hey, Cecile? We've got quite the guest, ma.” A glance toward the pistol grip, and he wearily takes the longarm in both hands. “You're, uh, not here to raid us, are you?” Dana shakes her head. “If I was, you'd be a puddle by now. Your home seemed abandoned, so I assumed the worst. Name's Dana. Surprised you didn't cap me on sight, sir.” “Sir? Aw, don't need to call me that, now. I work for a livin', don't I? You can call me Aaron. Dana, huh? I haven't seen a mutant like you in... well, ever! No offense, mind.” “None taken.” Dana shrugs. “If you're winding down for bed, don't mean to disturb you--” By now, the wife Cecile pokes her head through the crack of the door. “Egad! Aaron, what in the hell is this... this freak doin' here?!” Dana's ears fold. “Freak? Excuse me, but who the fu—” “Cecile! Come now,” Aaron diffuses. “Lookit that. It's a genuine plasma defender in her pocket. One of them science-y folk, I'd bet. She could help us, if you shut yer piehole.” “Help us?” Cecile scoffs. “A monster like her? She'd sooner eat our son than save him!” “Hold your horses,” Dana blinks. “The hell's going on with your son?” Aaron shrugs, “The hell's a horse? But c'mon, you ornery woman. Let the fox inside. Let her talk. She might be Peter's only hope.” Cecile concedes. “I'm keeping my eye on her. Don't you forget it, varmint.” “Well, fuck you too,” Dana grunts at Cecile. “Hey now,” Aaron grimaces. “My wife didn't start all nice with you, but no need to have a bug in yer ass, too.” He sighs, lowering his gun. “But yes, c'mon in, stranger. Don't suppose you'd care for some tato soup?” “...'tato soup?” Dana cants her head. “I didn't see any potatoes in your field. Did I miss 'em?” “Nah, not potato. Tato. Some kinda mix of two veggies,” Aaron explains. “Ain't any kind of delicious, but makes up for bein' real nutritious.” “Uh. Maybe,” Dana shrugs. “Any kind of seasonings in that soup?” “Nope!” “Uh. I'll pass, then. But what about your son?” Cecile chimes in. “Then, are you some kind of scientist? Or even a doctor? Or is my husband as big a fool as I think?” Dana shrugs again. “Look. I've hacked some computers, own a blaster, and treated some illness. Might be better than some out there, but I'm no egghead, nor a sawbones. If there's a kid's life at stake, I'll hazard a chance.” Cecile grimaces. “Then, it'll have to do. A weirdo or not, if you can help our boy...” The fox rubs the bridge of her snout. “So, what symptoms does he have?” Aaron frowns. “We don't know. He was fine the other day, but now he's all kinds of sick. It's been warm lately, but ain't the sun makin' him clammy and pale at the same time. At least he ain't dyin' of thirst, but he can barely keep food down. And he's been eatin' tato his whole life, mind!” Dana looks over the farm boy, who tosses and turns in his sleep. Gingerly touching her furred hand to the back of his forehead, she shakes her head. “You're right. Can't be heat stroke. He's cold as a corpse. I might be able to narrow down what's wrong, if I can get a good internet connection out here...” Though not as reliable as a Pip-Boy, Dana's smartphone might help her Medicine check. Is there reception out this way? YES, AND Dana remembers the code given for the Brotherhood's mainframe. Not only does she get Advantage on the Medicine check, but she also forwards information to an informant of hers from the Scholars. If she can't figure it out, Gwen could, back home. Her first attempt is a 41 – so close, her Medicine rank is 35! Getting frustrated, her second attempt is a 98. She was onto something, but the illness doesn't match up with what little she could find on the remnants of the internet. “Dammit,” she growls. “Nothing the old world knew of. Might be something new. I can't even think of something to buy him time.” Hearing this, Aaron grows quiet. “...oh.” Cecile becomes fierce. “That's it? Your off-brand Pip-Boy couldn't find anything?!” Dana shakes her head. “I'm a slayer, not a miracle worker. There's gotta be something. I sent what I found to a contact of mine. She'll figure it out. She has to.” The wife isn't pleased. “Then go. Never wanted you around, anyway, you damned mutt!” “Watch your mouth, y'ungrateful bitch!” Dana growls. “Are you the kind of asshole your Brotherhood looks after?” “The Brotherhood?” Aaron livens up. “You're from the Brotherhood o' Steel, then? With that raygun and your handheld gadget, why didn't I realize that?” “I'm not,” Dana sighs. “But they've hired me to look into your problems. They want to know what's wrong, because there's been trouble out here lately.” Dana's vague words, coupled with pressure from the Brotherhood for compensation, draws some suspicion from even Aaron. At a 57, Dana's Speech skill doesn't work. “Shucks,” Aaron grumbles. “I bet they're just hankerin' for more food, now.” Dana grimaces. “Maybe. They've got my own tech cult in their back pocket, and I'm the last chance to negotiate with Fort Elmond. If there's nothing out here for me to fix, well... might be time to move onto greener pastures, and soon.” Cecile groans. “More bad news. A real lucky charm, aren't you?” “Yeah. I know,” Dana replies, “You hated me the minute your husband opened the door for me. I'mma piss off. But if I learn a cure for your kid, I'm coming back. With or without a warm welcome.” With that, the vixen trudges back outside, and off into the evening with a chip on her shoulder. Without any insight to alleviate Peter's mysterious malady, and no idea of a cure, there's nothing to be gained of Area 2 for now. On the hex grid, Area 3 is to the east. Due south of the farm, a chain gas station (Area 4) of the old world sat, rusting away. There was no way to get deeper into the valley beyond that station, or by crossing into the camp's territory. Perhaps there was salvage to be found there. Chances are that, whoever was camping out in Area 3, they would not welcome Dana's kind in to tell ghost stories...
I think I've finally figured out Postie's "Circles" music video.
So, first off, this is going to be an INCREDIBLY subjective post. I'll be reading into things, sometimes way too much. If you don't like it, that's okay. You'll still understand the story sequence of the video, which looks very, very confusing and that might clear things up a bit. Colin Tilley, the director of the whole thing, has already directed Anaconda, M.I.L.F. $ and other successes. So when I started looking for elements in the videoclip that integrated to the meaning of the lyrics, I was in for a ride. I used Dream Moods and AuntyFlo for the interpretation and other websites also. Take a look. 00:02 MY KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR <3 00:03 So we see a bunch of red arrows. Being hit by an arrow can be related to the Cupid's ability to make someone fall in love, hence the red fletching. It might also be talking about how dangerous it is to fall in love. Pay close attention to the shield. It is round, probably with a bronze sheet over it. That might be a Greek shield, so if it's really Greek, the soldiers were Greek too. That makes me think this is somewhere before Christ. 00:54 Ok A LOT to explain here... This woman is mouthless. So I googled mouthless people, and guess what: ASTOMI, a certain kind of people the GREEK historian Megasthenes described. They had no mouth, were hairy and didn't feed on regular food...they fed on flowers. They could also cast spells with them. Bear with me here, I'll get to it. Also, do you see she has a magical mirror? dream language: the magic mirror may also mean that you are looking for reassurance or reaffirmation from others. In this case, Postie's. ANOTHER THING: She's got a broken arm, her left one. To dream that your arm has been injured signifies your inability to care for yourself or your helplessness in reaching out to others. She can't reach out and save Postie right now, there's nothing she can do. Also, your left arm signifies your supportive or nurturing nature and is associated with feminine qualities. Let's remember that. 00:59 and we have moving trees, everybody. I bet you never saw this many details in that video, did you? Dream moods tell me: " To see bare trees in your dream indicate used up energy. You have put your all into some relationship or project and now you are exhausted." Then I thought "mfs moving, imma google moving trees now". Auntyflo told me: "The branches show your ability to develop new relationships with other people, and the fact that they move in different directions means that there will be an opportunity of many new friendships." I mean, for that split second, Colin told a guy to make the branches of the tree move to opposite ways. That's gotta mean something. It is also the only moving tree in the video. Exactly when he says "I couldn't be there/ even when I tried" 01:05 we see our dear postie passing by a stake in the ground. Literally, someone put a stake in the ground. Postie's out to get some, we just don't know what. 01:09 that fucking cell could be anywhere, but it's right there on a tree. Dream moods on tree house: you are trying to escape from your waking problems. You are blocking off the harsh reality of daily life. 01:15 guy with no right arm. And the right arm signifies your outgoing nature and boundary-setting abilities. Exactly when "feed the flame 'cause we can't let go" is being sung. Postie and his lady have failed to set boundaries for the relationship, and that's why they are running in circles. 01:16 a dwarf on the left. "A dwarf may mean an aspect of yourself that is not fully developed or has been repressed. You may be feeling inferior or insignificant." I mean, "it's only me, what you got to lose?" Whats more self depricating than THAT? 01:17 Pig's foot hanging on the line. This could be random medieval food or it could mean pregnancy. just putting this here so you guys see I'm taking this *quite seriously* . 01:35 "To see a black or dark horse in your dream signifies mystery, wildness, and the unknown. You are taking a chance or a gamble at some unknown situation." They should run away, but the whole thing is hard because their relationship stays the same. But as I said, POSTIE'S OUT TO GET SOME. 01:39 the guy in the front has a red beard, just like the girl's hair. Might be her dad or something. It's the only guy with red beard and he's up front. This might be a hint the Astomi people are ready to put up a fight for the princess, and if Postie fails, he'll surely die. 02:02 "To see a whirlpool in your dream signifies emotional turmoil." But in my view it shows how you can't get something you really want unless you're ready to fucking fight for it. The girl's red dress signifies desire, what postie feels when he walks into the whirlpool. 02:06 the water is perfectly still, no movement. It's all in Postie's mind. Just like this whole interpretation is in mine lol. 02:14 this is where we skip ahead to the timeline. Postie went and tried to save the princess and miserably failed, being burnt in a big fire. Antyesti is the name of the Hindi cremation ritual. When did they start doing it? First millenium before Christ or so, according to Wikipedia.) 02:17 All of a sudden, guy with a fucking mask on. Why would an Astomi person wear that? - I asked myself. So I read an article called "The Roots of the Astomi and the Monocoli in Ctesias and Megasthenes". Turns out they die by FUCKING BAD SMELL. Apart from Postie's flesh up in flames, there's also the rotten undead walking around. BTW, dream moods on zombies: "the dream represents your fears of being helpless and overpowered." Which he just was. Greeks were known to use sponges as gas masks way before the first millenium bc. Maybe this video suggests Greeks learned to make gas masks with the Astomi? Idk that part doesn't quite fit in the timeline. Bothers me a bit. Also, reversed fire. Foreshadowing here. 02:37 Dream moods on long hair: "Dreaming that you have hair so long that it gets in your way suggests that your thoughts and/or ideas are preventing you from moving forward. Perhaps you are doing too much thinking and not taking any action." Astomi were describedly hairy people... Maybe the princess would be too ugly looking like Chewbacca or something so Colin went with long hair instead, maybe a lil nudge to Rapunzel locked in a tower. 02:43 as Postie's body is grabbed and pulled downwards, we see water taking over the grave. "If you are immersed in muddy water, then it indicates that you are in over your head in a situation and are overwhelmed by your emotions." Alternatively, " Dreaming about fire and water together symbolizes a polarizing issue in your waking life. You are going through an emotional conflict and it is pulling you in two directions." Run away or run in circles? 02:52 Princess holds a blue rose. The color blue is hard to come by in nature... that's why blue roses don't actually extist! For hundreds of years the blue rose has been mentioned in literature as a symbol of unattainableness. I mean, c'mon, she's locked in a cell up in a tree, how unattainable is their relationship? A LOT. Also, MOUTHLESS GIRL DOING MAGIC WITH FLOWERS: SURELY AN ASTOMI! 03:02 RIDE ON, HANDSOME GUY. The spell the princess cast on him not only sent him back to the past, but also REVERSED time. Now there's no way the Astomi can guard the tower. The time reversing spell is confirmed in... 03:11 fire in reverse. Time is in reverse. Can't fight a motherfucker if said motherfucker is going BACK in time. 03:16 Just... this. 03:23 the spell wore off, given the fire is not reversed anymore. 03:37 Trees up in flames? Lets see what AuntyFlo has to say about it... well, would you look at that! " To dream of burning trees or a wood fire indicates that you are feeling pain, and that you need to hide away (!!!!!!!!) to get yourself better." THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THEY'RE DOING! Running away to feel better. TL;DR: Colin Tilley thinks EVERYTHING through. Every. Little. Thing. Thank you for your attention, please let me know in the comments if I let anything slip or any relevant information on the video. I really like this song and found no one on the internet explaining it. Well, not until now. u/amigodojaspion out.
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