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The Current OP Meta is a Result of all of Valorant's Combined Flaws.
Hey guys, I'm a 10 year CS player here. Previously played at Level 9 Faceit and A - ESEA. Have probably 1000+ hours of watching pro games under my belt, and even more spent in KZ and HnS servers. I love Valorant, and I love a lot of what they're trying to do with this game in comparison to CS. But, I think the current OP meta is a result of almost every short coming the game has right now (for the most part). Firstly, I think it's important to preface this by saying that Valorant is 100% by design, made to be easier / more approachable than CS:GO. You can see this in almost every aspect of the game. If it's something that was intimidating to new players in CS, it's been massively simplified here. Spray patterns are far less aggressive. Lineups have been almost entirely eliminated, or completely streamlined. Movement speed has been reduced to allow for easier tracking and aiming. Counter-strafing has been forgotten and replaced by instant momentum. Even the slight advantage you got from good movement (brought along by thousands of hours of practice in CS:GO) has been entirely eliminated by a massive simplification of movement in general, as well as how severe tagging is. I'm not saying these are negative aspects of the game. I understand almost if not all of these changes. Tons of these choices succeed in their desired goal, and it's lead to tons of my friends enjoying this game despite never getting more than 4 games into CS. With all that said tho, lots of these choices indirectly feed into the current OP meta. I don't say this lightly either. If you were to directly compare the AWP and the OP, the AWP is hands down 3x more powerful than the OP currently is. It boasts :
More ammo overall, and more ammo per clip.
Instantaneous ADS, and instantaneous Accuracy after scoping in. (though this is more a trait of all scoped weapons in CS:GO)
Better hip-fire accuracy.
More forgiving movement accuracy
//Thanks to u/IAmNotOnRedditAtWork for pointing some of these out as they escaped me I have a shortish video on this, with some old community server / lower level faceit games. It's presented as more of a frag movie than anything so there's no need to watch it, but I do think it can offer some important context when talking about how insane the AWP actually is for high level players. I've edited it to have specific time stamps in the description so that you can jump between the clips that are actually relevant to this discussion. Turn down volume as there is music and I'm sure its obnoxious. Here you go Despite the obvious advantages the AWP has, we don't really see it being as prevalent and oppressive as we do in Valorant. We do not see double AWP and Triple AWP rounds being NEAR as viable as they are here, with triple AWP rounds being almost nonexistent. I chalk this up to quite a few things :
Movement speed. I think this is discounted quite a bit by nearly everyone. But people fail to realize how big of a deal this really is. I don't think I need to elaborate on this too much. But I think it's important to highlight "punishing" an AWPer. Typically, in CS you're only going to punish an AWPer if they miss their shot. Sure you can smoke them off or flash them, but typically at a high level they'll be playing in a position where it's easy to fall back and avoid being traded if they do get flashed off their angle, that is until you're on site. (Also important to note that not all AWPers play aggressive at lower levels). If it's mathematically easier to hit shots in Valorant, you bet your ass this is having an overall effect on how consistent this weapon can perform. It also (purposefully) eliminates the usefulness of jiggle peeking or baiting shots, which is a massive part of counter-play in CS. I'm not saying they should increase movement speed. I just think pointing this out is healthy for understanding and discussing this topic as a whole.
Movement Speed pt. 2. On top of movement speed in Valorant being much lower, many CS players will probably tell you that the way in which you move in Valorant is instantaneous. There is no counter strafing, and as a result, if you were to stand still, and then start running, you reach your max velocity almost immediately, if not immediately. This is the same in reverse. You lose your momentum the second you let go off WASD, your momentum being what brings about innaccuracy. This allows the OP to be hyper aggressive in situations where it shouldn't be. Period. You can hold an angle, whiff your shot, and then repeek that same angle aggressively all because you have no aim penalty within a time frame where your aggression should be punishable. In CS:GO the max velocity is higher, and the acceleration has a longer time between min and max. This makes it so that repeeking an angle has a window of innaccuracy that is PARAMOUNT in balancing for a weapon like this. The OP in Valorant currently has little counter-play outside of maybe DDoSing your opponent and hoping they miss shots.'
Utility. This isn't a secret. Most the player-base is probably aware in some form that this is having an effect on the meta. On top of there being very little vision limiting utility (smokes), I think the lack of counter play regarding flashes is also an issue. In CS, it's usually quite easy to see a flash coming, and depending on your weapon and/or position, either turn and avoid the flash, or to turn and run entirely. Sometimes if it's a pop flash you'll tank it and pray you don't die. But in Valorant, the flashes are very very quick to pop, and they last almost no time at all. You can't act off your own flash at all on most angles, and ton's of choke points require you to walk a distance where the flash is entirely negated anyway. For instance, Ascent A site. If you flash from main the distance between main and site is large enough that most people holding close aren't going to be flashed by the time you're pushed up. So maybe you get the AWPer off the long angle they're holding, and then you start pushing only for the person holding close to take contact and have the AWPer peek back out. This is why we see Phoenix being so viable in TSM's lineup. Flashing out smokes gives the entire team the biggest possible window in order to act on that utility. It's basically equivalent to a pop flash in CS, and also allows you to have more control over where you're flashing onto a site. So you can flash and pop out of the smoke much quicker than if you were around a corner, and you can also flash much deeper into a choke point then you'd normally be able to. That said, this is not a direct counter to OP meta. It's just an issue with flashes I've noticed, and a sort of "work around" I've seen take center stage.
And this kinda brings me to my next issue. And probably the one we all should have expected.
Map design. Outside of most the maps feeling incredibly linear, and despite them feeling like Hallway simulator 2020. I think there's another issue in relation to thoughtful map design. One of the things I mentioned above was how certain elements were streamlined, in relation to utility mainly. This, in my opinion, also relates to the map design.
CS has very tried and true bits of utility at play. Smokes, Mollies, and Flashes. When you play CS at a level where executes are necessary, it's actually quite fascinating to learn how each map has been designed with utility constantly in mind. Cache B site for instance, there's a window directly above site meant for throwing utility. Mirage A has a massive area above ramp for throwing util. Inferno Apts even has fucking windows on the opposite side of site, with a chimney adjacent to them in order for you to bank utility off of. Dust 2 recently underwent a change in B tuns to allow for more utility and site executes given how hard the site was too take control of. Whether it be on attacks or retakes. Valorant has streamlined "utility" so much, that they've forgotten the exact reason why it was implemented in the way that it was in CS:GO, and why it worked so well. Valorant has thrown thoughtful map design out the window in favor of meaningless gimmicks that fall flat after your 5th game on the map. Guess what Riot, I don't care about opening and closing destructible doors, or ropes that give you a surprising amount of velocity and accuracy while attached, and definitely not 3 fucking sites. I play ranked games where my opponents go 3-14 and then start fragging out when they decide to whip out the OP. The gun is too easy to use and it sports almost zero counter-play. IT IS AN ISSUE. I understand not jumping the gun and rushing towards some half ass balancing decision, but you've been so quick to address smaller issues that didn't actively suck the fun out of the game and reward players for using an obvious crutch. // People have pointed out some poor phrasing on my part here, would just like to iterate that I'm not against these kinds of gimmicks, they have a place and I don't mean to undermine anyone who enjoys them. I just think these gimmicks are being used in place of good map design. Sort of a "sure ascent is a terrible map but here are some doors you can open and close, this one has ropes!" Ascent is the closest map to CS design we currently have in Valorant in my opinion, and it still ignores most of what made those maps work in the first place. Scrap the gimmicks. Nobody wants this random shit. I want maps with intelligent design choices, meaningful spots for fair trades at the beginning of rounds, I want maps designed with rotates in mind and counter-play at heart. You can tell CS maps are designed with all the games utility in mind. I'm constantly reminded that I can't say the same about any of Valorant's maps. With that being said, what are some ways to fix these issues?
Add a slight time frame with the OP that adds inaccuracy after moving, keep this outside of movement speed, have it be its own value. For instance, if you scope in with the OP, then strafe to the side and stop moving, add an extra .5 or whatever amount of time where there is still an innaccuracy debuff applied. OPs are meant for holding angles, they are already ridiculously good at that in this game. Punish them for playing aggressive.
Phoenix's flash needs a slight "rework" to come more into line with vision blocking utility in relation to cutting off angles. Phoenix's flash shouldn't pop so quickly. I think it sports niche usability with little counter-play. When throwing out Phoenix's flash, have it hover in air at the very end of it's duration while giving it an obvious "charge-up" animation, give a larger (but still small) window in order to either back off an angle, or to turn your back too it, and then have it pop, and increase the time frame in which you're flashed slightly. I also considered having Phoenix be invulnerable to his flash, as a way to give Phoenix a way to more reliably entry, while still forcing him to play slightly outside of his team in these situations, (or risk flashing them). This promotes playing anti flash and/or less predictable and maybe even more dangerous positions in order to deny Phoenix this ground when he attempts to entry. I think it adds a reasonable amount of counter play in a game that severely lacks it currently, I think it gives Phoenix some needed independence and room to make these types of solo plays, while also letting an agent specifically gain ground around OPers. I think a good way to envision this is Ascension A site. Instead of OPing heaven when you know Phoenix likes to flash in from main and push you off your angle, you can play on site to the left, and play anti flash in order to kill him when he attempts to entry. Diagram Here
LET YOUR COMMUNITY DESIGN MAPS FOR YOU. For the love of god the fact that I even have to say this makes me angry. Community interaction has lead to CS being the powerhouse of an E-sport it is today. Volcano's involvement is proof of this. No one is saying you have to add them as actual competitive maps, but acting like you can produce better content than your entire community is ridiculously naive when you've already shown that's NOT the case. Add some kind of community tool for your players to design maps, and have some kind of game mode that rotates these featured community maps every couple of months or something. Even if it's just to give the team at Riot ideas and inspiration. I was worried months ago when you said you weren't going to allow even the most basic of community creativity in this regard. It's okay to be wrong Riot. Valve was smart enough to realize the community could carry some of that workload, while also teaching them and giving them inspiration. Volcano is on your dev team because of this reality.
The final fallacy: Nalt, Suppression, and the Unreliable Narrator.
TL;DR: The fallacy Kvothe calls Nalt is the fallacy of suppressed evidence. Suppression of evidence is a recurring theme in the series. Kvothe is an unreliable narrator who suppresses relevant information in the retelling of his life story. Suppression of evidence is a major theme in the series Two of the biggest questions in the series are who are the Chandrian (or why do the Chandrian) and where are the Amyr. Kvothe searches the archives for these answers and concludes during a conversation with Maer Alveron that the Amyr themselves are suppressing evidence about their own existence.
“I found the same thing at the University,” I said. “It seemed as if someone had removed information about the Amyr from the Archives there. Not everything, of course. But there were scarce few solid details.” I could see the Maer’s own conclusions sparking to life behind his clever grey eyes. “And who would do such a thing?” he prompted. “Who would have better reason than the Amyr themselves?” I said. “Which means they are still around, somewhere.”
Similarly, information about the Chandrian is being suppressed.
More important, one of the few things I knew about the Chandrian was that they worked to viciously repress any knowledge of their own existence. They’d killed my troupe because my father had been writing a song about them. In Trebon they’d destroyed an entire wedding party because some of the guests had seen pictures of them on a piece of ancient pottery. Given these facts, talking about the Chandrian didn’t seem like the wisest course of action. So I did my own searching. After days, I abandoned hope of finding anything so helpful as a book about the Chandrian, or even anything so substantial as a monograph. Still, I read on, hoping to find a scrap of truth hidden somewhere. A single fact. A hint. Anything.
Lorren makes an effort to suppress Kvothe’s curiosity about the Amyr.
“I am not accusing you of engaging in boyish fancy. I am advising you to avoid the appearance of boyish fancy.” He gave me a level look, his face as calm as always.
Lorren brought out a pen and drew a series of hashes through my single line of writing in the ledger book. “I have a great respect for curiosity,” he said. “But others do not think as I do.
So not only does Lorren stymie Kvothe’s search, he warns against further inquiry and crosses out the evidence that shows Kvothe made the search in the first place. This is suppression, not just of questions, but of evidence that the inquiry ever existed. Kvothe glosses over his trial in Imre and his shipwreck. This may be evidence that as a narrator he is suppressing relevant information. These events are clearly missing. Why? Are they just unimportant or are they inconsistent with the argument Kvothe is making about himself and thus intentionally left out by Kvothe. Chronicler thinks the trial at Imre is relevant. When he pushes Kvothe to include it, Kvothe teaches him a lesson by telling the Waystone crowd the story of the Chronicler. When Kvothe skips over the shipwreck and it’s aftermath, Chronicler doesn’t push again. Ultimately, it would take more information to be certain if these events are relevant, but at 25:55 in an interview, Pat has hinted that readers should be asking why certain events are left out. Special thanks to u/BioLogin whose work makes media references easily accessible.
People assume that I wrote it and then I took it out, and it is simply not true. I didn’t write it. So then why did I put something like that in, implying that there was a story and then not giving you the story therefore making you want something you are not gonna get? Why would I do that? And that’s a good question.
This supports the notion that parts of the story are left out to a purpose, or in other words, intentionally suppressed. If entire events are suppressed, perhaps there are more minute details that are suppressed. Inconsistency may be an indicator of a suppressed detail. One inconsistency is Kvothe amazing memory and his purported inability to recall the the formal name of the ninth prime fallacy during his first admissions interview. Kvothe claims to have an excellent memory.
“Ben’s training has given me a memory so clean and sharp I have to be careful not to cut myself sometimes.”
And when attending Hemme’s class
I was a jangling mass of excitement as I watched other students slowly trickle into the room. Everyone was older than me by at least a few years. I reviewed the first thirty sympathetic bindings in my head as the theater filled with anxious students. There were perhaps fifty of us in all, making the room about three-quarters full. Some had pen and paper with hardbacks to write on. Some had wax tablets. I hadn’t brought anything, but that didn’t worry me overmuch. I’ve always had an excellent memory.
His memory is so great that it provides the basis for all his other skills.
I have a good memory. That, perhaps more than anything else, sits in the center of what I am. It is the talent upon which so many of my other skills depend.
He also memorized Caesura’s Atas twice as quickly as the best estimate of the Adem. So why, when asked about the nine prime fallacies, does Kvothe’s memory fail him? He can rattle of the first eight and he specifically tells us that he’s just read Rhetoric and Logic.
“Simplification. Generalization. Circularity. Reduction. Analogy. False causality. Semantism. Irrelevancy….” I paused, not being able to remember the formal name of the last one. Ben and I had called it Nalt, after Emperor Nalto. It galled me, not being able to recall its real name, as I had read it in Rhetoric and Logic just a few days ago.
Did Kvothe actually forget its name or is he suppressing the name of the fallacy to a purpose? What motivation could Kvothe have for suppressing the name of a fallacy? The name of that fallacy must be important and extremely telling if it’s something Kvothe is leaving out. Additionally, recall that Kvothe both hates the book Rhetoric and Logic, the subject of Logic and the Master Rhetorician, Hemme. His hatred of Hemme is well explained, but the rest seems...unreasonable. Eight prime fallacies briefly explained The fallacies Kvothe names can be sorted into three general categories: fallacies of presumption, fallacies of relevance, and fallacies of ambiguity. These are not definitive categories, merely a tool logicians use to help think about fallacies. Often reasoning that looks similar will fall into different categories based on the specific information contained in the premises. These are amateur, but researched, guesses. Presumption fallacies Simplification, generalization, circularity, false causality, and (maybe) analogy are presumption fallacies. Common names for these fallacy might be as follows: Generalization is Accident). Simplification is converse accident . Circularity is begging the question or curricular reasoning . False cause is non causa, pro causa. Analogy is weak analogy . Ambiguity fallacies Reduction and semantism are ambiguity fallacies. Reduction is causal reductionism. Assuming semantism refers to language use/word choice, it includes the fallacies logicians call equivocation, amphiboly, accent, composition, and division . Relevancy fallacies Irrelevancy equates to the entire category of relevance fallacies. This includes many of the most familiar fallacies: appeal to authority/money/emotion/force, straw man, ad hominem and more. After naming eight of the prime fallacies, Kvothe cannot recall the name for the ninth. Going by the fact that so many presumption fallacies are listed as prime fallacies and others categories are not broken down into specifically named fallacies, Nalt could be an additional fallacy of presumption. Also, there is no other term among the prime fallacies that seems to incorporate the scope of presumption fallacies the same way irrelevancy and semantism encorporate the categories of relevancy and ambiguity. Browsing the internet for fallacies of presumption, one stands out as especially fitting given the themes and events of the series: The Fallacy of Suppressed Evidence, or as u/HHBP put it, Suppression. The finally fallacy is Suppression The fallacy of suppressed of evidence occurs when true and relevant information is left out for any reason. The audience presumes it has been give all the relevant information and fallaciously draws conclusions. Kvothe has an excellent memeory. What if Kvothe just doesn’t want to say the name of the final fallacy because it’s the fallacy he is committing while giving his interview with Chronicler. Excluding its name is both a tool for Kvothe to conceal his commission and a tool for Pat to alert readers of its importance. It would be extremely clever and satisfying for Pat to have Kvothe suppress the name the supression fallacy in order to suppress the fact that Kvothe is suppressing evidence. But why would Kvothe and Ben call that fallacy Nalt? One of the the things we know about Emperor Nalto is that he is “history’s favorite whipping boy.” A whipping boy has a historical literal meaning, but figuratively it means that someone who is blamed for the faults of others. Assuming a relationship between calling the fallacy Nalt and Kvothe’s observation that Nalto is history’s favorite whipping boy could be the basis of any number of fallacies. More context is needed to support the idea that Nalt indicates suppressed evidence. Recall that Kvothe and Sim have a bet on whether the Amyr are part of the church or part of the Aturn bureaucracy. Both Kvothe and Wil find the order that abolishes the Amyr, the Alpura Prolycia Amyr. Wil supports his position with The Lights of History by Feltemi Reis, staring that The Alpura Prolycia Amyr was Emperor Nalto sixty-third decree. Kvothe brings Fall of Empire by Greggor the Lesser staring the decree was issued by the church. They take the issue to Puppet.
“I was wondering about the Amyr, actually.” My eyes remained on the scene unfolding at Puppet’s feet. Another marionette had joined the show, a young girl in a peasant dress. She approached the Tehlin and held out a hand as if trying to give him something. No, she was asking him a question. The Tehlin turned his back on her. She laid a timid hand on his arm. He took a haughty step away. “I was wondering who disbanded them. Emperor Nalto or the church.” “Still looking,” he admonished more gently than before. “You need to go chase the wind for a while, you are too serious. It will lead you into trouble.” The Tehlin suddenly turned on the girl. Trembling with rage, it menaced her with the book. She took a startled step backward and stumbled to her knees. “The church disbanded them of course. Only an edict from the pontifex had the ability to affect them.” The Tehlin struck the girl with the book. Once, twice, driving her to the ground, where she lay terribly still. “Nalto couldn’t have told them to cross to the other side of the street.”
Kvothe goes on to ask Puppet if he has read Reis and why Reis would say the Alpura Prolycia Amyr was Emperor Nalto’s sixty-third decree. Puppet answers that Reis wouldn’t say that. Wil goes onto speculate about the inconsistency.
“It could be a transcription mistake,” Wilem mused. “Depending on the edition of the book, the church itself might be responsible for changing that piece of information. Emperor Nalto is history’s favorite whipping boy. It could be the church trying to distance itself from the Amyr. They did some terrible things toward the end.”
Now recall the suppression of evidence fallacy occurs when true and relevant information is left out for any reason. Technically what Wil is suggesting looks more like falsifying evidence than suppressing evidence. Without knowing what specific information is left out, it’s impossible to conclusively distinguish between the potential for the falsification of evidence from the suppression of evidence. Imagine that the church and Nalto acted in concert somehow, but for some reason each author only included part, or as Wil suggests, the church somehow erased their part in Reis. Or what if Nalto was both Emperor and Pontifax? This contradicts Puppet’s assertion that Nalto could not have told the Amyr to cross the street, but who knows what evidence Puppet uses as the basis for that assertion. This is a lot of speculation, but it’s the possibility that would most obviously link Nalto with suppression. Also look at what’s going on with Puppet’s puppets during this conversation. A girl puppet is asking the Tehlin priest puppet a question and he beats her with the Book of the path.
“I was wondering about the Amyr, actually.” My eyes remained on the scene unfolding at Puppet’s feet. Another marionette had joined the show, a young girl in a peasant dress. She approached the Tehlin and held out a hand as if trying to give him something. No, she was asking him a question. The Tehlin turned his back on her. She laid a timid hand on his arm. He took a haughty step away. “I was wondering who disbanded them. Emperor Nalto or the church.” “Still looking,” he admonished more gently than before. “You need to go chase the wind for a while, you are too serious. It will lead you into trouble.” The Tehlin suddenly turned on the girl. Trembling with rage, it menaced her with the book. She took a startled step backward and stumbled to her knees. “The church disbanded them of course. Only an edict from the pontifex had the ability to affect them.” The Tehlin struck the girl with the book. Once, twice, driving her to the ground, where she lay terribly still. “Nalto couldn’t have told them to cross to the other side of the street.”
Kvothe is asking questions about the Amyr. Puppet puppeteers a scene were the Tehlin Church suppresses questions. The priest puppet also brandishes the book at Wil for betting, turns away from the girl he’s just beaten, as if to pray, dances when Kvothe asks about Reis, and bows to Wil’s suggestion that the church changed Reis’s work. Altogether, this seems to confirm that the church suppressed the truth about the abolishing of the Amyr and provides a basis to associate Nalto with suppression, albeit suppression by the church. Kvothe is an unreliable narrator Whether Kvothe is an unreliable narrator is a frequent question among readers. Two common positions on this issue are that Kvothe is a liar (even lying about being a good/bad liar) and that, to some extent, all first person narration is inherently biased. If Kvothe is leaving out truthful relevant information, he is suppressing evidence. This makes him unreliable. Edits: typos and formatting, fixed link for weak analogy Edit: Least it get overlooked, u/BlueRusalka poinst out the similarity of suppression of evidence to the secrets of the heart in the comment section. I’m including the relevant text here.
IN THE THEOPHANY, TECCAM writes of secrets, calling them painful treasures of the mind. He explains that what most people think of as secrets are really nothing of the sort. Mysteries, for example, are not secrets. Neither are little-known facts or forgotten truths. A secret, Teccam explains, is true knowledge actively concealed. Philosophers have quibbled over his definition for centuries. They point out the logical problems with it, the loopholes, the exceptions. But in all this time none of them has managed to come up with a better definition. That, perhaps, tells us more than all the quibbling combined. In a later chapter, less argued over and less well-known, Teccam explains that there are two types of secrets. There are secrets of the mouth and secrets of the heart. Most secrets are secrets of the mouth. Gossip shared and small scandals whispered. These secrets long to be let loose upon the world. A secret of the mouth is like a stone in your boot. At first you’re barely aware of it. Then it grows irritating, then intolerable. Secrets of the mouth grow larger the longer you keep them, swelling until they press against your lips. They fight to be let free. Secrets of the heart are different. They are private and painful, and we want nothing more than to hide them from the world. They do not swell and press against the mouth. They live in the heart, and the longer they are kept, the heavier they become. Teccam claims it is better to have a mouthful of poison than a secret of the heart. Any fool will spit out poison, he says, but we hoard these painful treasures. We swallow hard against them every day, forcing them deep inside us. There they sit, growing heavier, festering. Given enough time, they cannot help but crush the heart that holds them. Modern philosophers scorn Teccam, but they are vultures picking at the bones of a giant. Quibble all you like, Teccam understood the shape of the world.
Does this mean Kvothe is suppressing evidence equivalent to a secret of the heart?
It's been a while since I made a big post. Lots of people are still messaging me about the energy sector post, especially for the ENPH tip, so I'm here to show my portfolio. I don't own all companies yet, this is partially hypothetical. I'm holding on to a reasonable cash position for a possible new downturn, but I have starting positions in most companies and will DCA. I will try to keep it summarized, as I have done quite a lot of analysis on each of them. I'll draw the main picture and give the most important arguments for my choices, but I'm not expanding too much. If you're interested, you can DM me to talk about them more. Let me start by saying I'm a growth investor. I always look for a combination of growth with a great track record, if possible at a reasonable price. There are exceptions as you will see below, but the main balance stays the same. I'm not a defensive investor, but no aggressive one either. My timeline is 2-5 years at least (due to a possible start of a small business), but I would gladly hold on to these companies 10+ years. TLDR; For you guys not interested in my portfolio, I've added a short list of interesting smaller cap companies at the end, most of them trading at decent values. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES - $AMD This one is becoming a blue chip, but has more than enough growth potential to live up to those high valuations. Preferred by gamers and beating their biggest competitor in the CPU market hard. While AMD and INTC were close competitors at the beginning of the 21st century, INTC took the lead by a lot. Since 2017, they introduced 7nm CPU's and GPU's and they are closing the gap fast. Not only are their chips more performant, they are also cheaper. Market cap $60B vs $261b. Those next generation chips lead them to new partnerships, often beating INTC. Microsoft, a long time Intel customer, began using AMD chips in their Surface laptops. Lenovo using AMD for their new servers. Nvidia started using the chips in their AI products. AMD is also used by Apple's high-end laptops, while Intel (used in the budget range) will probably get replaced by Apple chips made in-house. Apart from laptops, AMD has government contracts to deliver supercomputers in 2021/2023 and they are used in both PS and XBOX consoles, to give a few examples. For the CPU market, AMD is destined to take over, but they're also taking on NVDA for their GPU's. They have been catching up for years and in 2019 they finally made a better performing GPU in the $350-400 price range. There is a possibility to gain GPU market cap since NVDA has been pushing their prices due to the lack of competition. Therefore, with AMD stepping up their game, they need to give up market share or lower their margins. Financial Assets over liabilities are x1.88. Cash to debt ratio well above industry average, debt to EBITDA well below IA. ROE 17.12% and ROIC 28.06%. Earnings were growing fast before Covid (125% in Q3, 78% in Q4). Yes they're overvalued, but with their future outlook, I would always buy below $49. Doubts Now that they are done catching up, the question is, will they outperform in the future. To gain more market share of Nvidia, they need to be better, not equally good. AMD also needs to control the heating better, as it is one of their long term problems. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- MASTERCARD - $MA Fintech companies like SQ and PYPL are a great investment. However, a lot of big companies will (and already did) implement online financial services. MA is able to easily work with multiple of those companies and they're using their global presence pretty well, that's why they're my pick for the fintech industry. They launched Mastercard Accelerate last year, implementing those online paying platforms and letting start-ups take advantage of their global presence to grow and transform very fast. Last year they acquired Ethoca (managing e-commerce fraud) and Vyze (platform to connect merchants with multiple renders, giving them the opportunity to get those financial needs for start-ups). MA is basically helping start-ups to grow faster, which will result in more financial transactions in the future. Last but not least, they like to focus on expanding to countries where there isn't much competition yet. They are expanding their exposure to Middle East and Africa, working with local networks and e-commerce platforms. They are in a strong position to capitalize those regions in the future and take on market leader Visa even more. They get compared a lot to Visa, so I'll expand on that subject a bit as well. While V is focussing on performance and speed, MA plays the cyber security card. They are already working on ways to implement cryptocurrency and Mastercard tend to have more growth potential vs stability from market leader Visa. While V is in the lead, MA is more widely used by fintech companies, which shows potential take-over in the future. Next to their credit services, they also own debit service Maestro, which is widely used in Europe. Financial Returns as high as 150% (ROE) and 60% (ROIC). Very large margins and perfectly stable balance sheet. High EPS growth YoY, 53% and 42% in the last two years. Quick ratio 1.87. V has more assets and even bigger margins, however MA wins in returns and cash. In terms of more growth, I like to focus on those last numbers more. Doubts It's a blue chip at a $300B market cap. Their growth potential might be limited, although I see them as one of the better picks between blue chips. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- ENPHASE ENERGY - $ENPH I already talked about solar energy in another post, so I'm gonna skip the explanation. As some of you know my choices were ENPH and SEDG, so I'll explain a bit about why I choose ENPH here. Mainly it's because of their financials, so I'll dive that straight away. Quick ratio - 2.35 vs 1.74 ROE - 142.94% vs 21.51% ROIC - 85.51% vs 25.81% Net margin - 25.81% vs 10.28% However I think SEDG balance sheet is a lot better and safer, ENPH is working on their future more efficient. They are paving the way smoothly with bigger margins and return on investments. Although SEDG might be the better pick right now, ENPH will be the better one in a short while. ENPH is also a bit less overvalued and their PEG ratio is lower, which makes them the better pick to get in right now. Diving into the products as well, ENPH just has the better and more efficient product. Their micro inverters are more durable (20 vs 12 years) and give the chance to increase or decrease the amount of solar panels easily, depending on your personal situation. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- GALAPAGOS - $GLPG I'm not a big fan of biotech companies, but these guys have my attention. Not because they're working on Covid vaccines, but because of two reasons. First one is them getting back-up from Gilead Sciences. That's the push they needed to start operating worldwide, increasing their potential market cap. Now that they have the cash from GILD, they can keep on buying interesting divisions and increase their growth. While having almost no long term debt, they are set pretty well with about $4 billion extra in cash. Second, they have multiple medicines in later trial phases, with Filgotinib as their biggest one. They had a setback on those results, but the company is very confident, giving an opportunity to get them at a decent price. I wouldn't be surprised if they partner up with another big pharmaceutical company in the metabolic disease section. Financial High PE (84 vs 44 average), but PEG ratio is 1.2. Quick ratio 9.28. ROIC 75.91% and ROE 7%. Became profitable this year with 16.25% net margin. 38.7% YoY EPS growth. Doubts Like all biotech players, there's a lot depending on medicines getting through phase trials and being commercialized. If Filgotinib will fail, their stock will obviously fall. However since they are backed by a big US giant, they can commercialize the product faster and on a bigger global scale if trials succeed. That's what gives them the advantage in comparison to other biotech companies for me. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- WALT DISNEY - $DIS This one has got me doubting a lot. I've taken them off and put them back on my list multiple times, but eventually I decided to keep them at least 2 years to see how they will evolve into streaming. Biggest advantage they have on their competitors is they basically have a monopoly on kids entertainment. Kids are growing up with electronic devices and content, so they're creating customers at a very young age. That's how Coca Cola used to work. They targeted 14-16 year olds, dumping loads of money into advertising which resulted in life long customers, as people didn't change cola brands often. Disney+ is a big hit and they won't get so much competition from other streaming services as Netflix and Roku will. They have one of the strongest defined brands out there and they know perfectly how to build and maintain their company. It's also still unclear how sports with public will evolve, but it's certain streaming will become even bigger after Covid. Therefore their money-losing ESPN acquisition could even turn into a moneymaker. Financial I can't really say great things about their financials. ROE is 12.67%, above 10% is decent. Assets over liabilities are x1.85 and debt to equity is 0.61. You could apply the saying "too big to fail' here, but that's about it. The bad financials are mainly caused by their big investment to streaming of course and they're working on it hard. They doubled their cash position, increasing their quick ratio from 0.75 to 0.89. Doubts I would say financials are their weak point here. They still have to go through some bad weather this and next year I would say. Them doubling their cash position in Q1 was soothing, as I see it being the biggest issue for the future. It might be better to wait it out and keep an eye on them for next year, but I wanted to take a position already. Not higher than 8% of my portfolio though. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- MICROSOFT - $MSFT They don't really an introduction I guess. 2nd biggest player for cloud services with Azure. Naming Satya Nadella as CEO and making the transition from hardware to software in 2014 were the best decisions they could've made. Acquired the government contract with Pentagon, however there's still uncertainty about it. In short, Amazon is claiming they were about to win the contract, but Trump criticizing the company would've lead to calling off the deal. For me, that's probably the main reason why MSFT didn't fly as high as their fellow cloud competitors yet. Financial Assets over liabilities x1.67. ROE and ROIC respectively at 43.82% and 28.88%. Quick ratio of 2.88, 0.65 debt to equity and 1.86 cash to debt. Decent financials, great returns. Talking about blue chips, I would say MSFT is still fairly valued with a PEG ratio just below industry average. Also paying a small dividend. Doubts The Pentagon contract allegations could be pretty negative for the company. They will probably not come back on their decision, cause if they do, MSFT will claim they already made big investments towards them and things will just keep on dragging on. Even without the contract, MSFT should be a 10 year hold while buying on dips. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- INNOVATIVE INDUSTRIAL PROPERTIES - $IIPR Haven't read a lot about them here on Reddit, but they're a very decent investment. Basically, they buy properties from cannabis companies and leases them back to the sellers, giving them the cash they need to grow faster and IIPR keeps the long term advantage of renting out those properties. They need to buy about 6-8 properties a year to keep their growth rate going and they already bought 7 this year. They still have a lot of cash ready to take advantage of the crisis. Not only are they 20% undervalued right now, they have a lot more growth potential after that and on top of it, they pay close to 5% dividend. I'm not a big fan of betting on the best cannabis company for the future, but IIPR is a great buy to have exposure in that industry. It doesn't happen very often I come across a company that combines growth potential with a high dividend, but IIPR does. Financial Quick ratio 6.75, cash to debt 2.8 (while REITs have an 0.07 average). Net margins 13% above average. Assets over liabilities x4.88. Annual EPS growing by more than 150% and about 41% in the last quarter before Covid. They just missed Q1 estimates, but it was only an 8% drop from Q4, performing way better than other REITs. Doubts IIPR has held a lot of new investment rounds, diluting shares. Of course extra capital will result in higher growth and will eventually be positive in the long run. There has been a drop in these last few days due to the announcement of selling 1 million more shares soon. I would look at it as an opportunity to get an even better price on them. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- TELADOC HEALTH - $TDOC It's the only company I don't own yet. I can't force myself to invest more than $140 per share for them, although I really like their business model. A lot of people are skipping doctors visits these days, going straight away to get medicines and counting on the advice of pharmacists. A lot of times, there's more examination needed. Not only do I see them succeeding in their field, I see them as an essential part of the automation of the pharmacy industry. It's a useful tool in emergencies, giving advice and deciding how serious the condition is, if (fast) medical care is needed. Teladoc will also play a role in insurance and giving the employers a checking tool. 98.9% of their shares are owned by institutions. Financial In terms of profitability and returns, not great of course. They are estimated to get profitable in 2023. Great balance sheet, assets over liabilities x2.66. Quick ratio 6.14, cash to debt 1.06, debt to equity 0.48. Doubts It's hard to see if a company is well managed before they are profitable. Their moat isn't very narrow, however I feel being one of the first ones gives you a big advantage in this field. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- DRAFTKINGS - $DKNG Gonna keep this one pretty short, there has been enough posts about Donkey Kong. For me, the most important factor for choosing them in this industry is their fantasy sports section. They are widely popular and that division will only get more interesting while online gambling, and especially in-game betting, gets more and more legalized in the US. Although they realized major revenue growth in 2019, they almost doubled their earnings loss. Main reason of course having to develop their platform and system. Good thing is, their technology is highly scalable, meaning they margin will grow massively while expanding in to more states and countries. Not many ratios available yet, so that's about the only financial information I own atm. The only negative I see is their pretty wide moat, so this one should be monitored more closely in the future. But for now, they have the momentum and are one of the most popular choices, great investment. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- RAYTHEON TECHNOLOGIES - $RTX As many of you know, two great companies (UTC and RTN) merged together in April. While United focussed on aircraft engines (Pratt & Whitney), Raytheon manufactured weapons, military and commercial electronics. They always delivered advanced technologies and them gaining multiple government contracts in the last decade is confirmation of their performant products. Raytheon will continue to grow their leadership in different segments. Because of their diversity, they seem perfectly in place to grow even more into an aerospace & defense giant. Engines, aerostructures, avionics, sensors, cybersecurity and other software solutions are just a few examples of their working fields. Financial With a PE ratio of 13.58 and PB ratio of 1.41, this is probably the most undervalued stock in my portfolio. Assets over liabilities x1.43. The rest of their financials isn't that great. UTC was carrying a lot of debt, but because of the merger, it will be better balanced as RTN was only carrying $2 billion net debt. If they can decrease their debt and optimize their merger, they are set to be the new number one in defense. Doubts It's still unclear how the merger will work out financially and logistically. In theory, they should be very well armed (pun intended) to take on LMT as market leader. Their exposure to commercial aircrafts is also a big threat, but it's less of an issue because they can make up with their other practices. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- As you can see, I've tried to get the best blue chips with still some growth potential and stable growth companies together. Since a lot of companies already got mentioned on this forum, I'll include a bonus round of interesting companies I came across during my search for the best companies. I didn't include them in my portfolio mainly because I feel the chance of them succeeding and living up to their future potential is more risky than others. For you looking for higher risk, higher reward, check out these companies below.
$INMD. They offer minimally-invasive aesthetic medical products for various procedures, such as liposuction with simultaneous skin tightening, body and face contouring. They are actually the only company in my watchlist that scored maximum on my financial checklist. I love to watch their financials. While we're in an overvalued market, INMD has only 18.73 PE and 0.6 PEG. They certainly got hit by Covid, but I would be very surprised if they don't multiply their market share over the next years.
$SMCI. Based mainly on servers and storage solutions. They are the supplier for cloud computing and AI based companies. They were ranked 18th fastest growing company by Fortune Magazine in 2016, but they still have a long way possible to grow. I see them stagnating a bit for a few years, but they definitely have potential in the long run. Financially very stable, big on cash to make some acquisitions and trading at only 14.84 PE.
$CDLX. Great business model. They basically turn financial transaction data into valuable information for advertising. They show returns as high as 30:1 for advertising spent. Not only is the online payment industry growing fast, but after Covid companies will need to work their advertising budgets even more efficiently. CDLX has momentum and will increase that market cap massively. That future outlook has a price unfortunately and I feel they're too expensive right now.
$OLED. They hold patents on ultra high definition OLED screen technology. There's still a large transition going on from LED to OLED screens. They are estimated to increase their manufacturing with 50% by the end of 2021. Unfortunately most of that growth is already priced in right now. It doesn't take away the longer term potential, but it doesn't make it that sexy of a buy right now.
$OMCL. Omnicell provides pharmacy automation solutions and other tools for healthcare systems. Big on cash, low on debt. They have an interesting business and the automation of healthcare will continue to grow, however they are also trading a bit above value.
$PCOM. A technology company based on e-commerce and services through loyalty programs. Most of their partners are airlines, which explains their difficulties of getting back up since the drop. At the moment it's unsure how this will work out. There will barely be room for bargains or rewards, however while the industry has to build up again, there's an opportunity to take away long time customers from competitors. Although they have enough cash to weather this crisis, they are depending on the industry. At PE below 10 and having a decent cash position, it's worth a gamble.
$APPS. Digital Turbine offers a mobile platform mainly for new apps. They have a very high future revenue forecast of 202.2% over the next 3 years. Big on cash and no debt as well. They already acquired Mobile Posse in March, diversifying their platform. Analysts are putting an average price target of $9.88 on them, giving it a 61% potential return.
$NVMI. They develop and produce process control systems used in the manufacturing of semiconductors, mainly focussing on industrializing X-ray and optical technologies like holographic images. Cash to debt 6.1, debt to equity 0.1, quick ratio 5.75, ROE 12.83% and ROIC 20.26%. Their financials are great. The only thing you could say is they are slightly overvalued, but still a very nice buy in comparison to the overvalued tech industry.
$INS. Active in the fintech sector, they provide tech solutions and processing services. Very similar financials to NVMI. Big on cash, almost no long term debt, great returns (ROE 29.7% / ROIC 85.95%) and steady growing EPS. They are also slightly overvalued, but should easily get back to $45 range after the crisis is over.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- So, that's about all I have to share. This will also be my last big post a while. Analyzing stocks has been my main occupation for the last three months, but it's time to work on opening up the hotel and bar again. I hope some of you get something out of this. I'm not a professional so always check again for yourself. I'm gonna hold on to these companies for a while now. Will add some extra capital at the beginning of 2021, so you could expect another big post about my newest findings then. For now, I'm gonna take a break from following the market day in day out and enjoy the weather a bit more. Have a good one!
A PC-User's Purchase "Guide" (it's not...just the ramblings of an idiot) to High Quality Audio on your system.
Hello friends, today I'd like to talk about an aspect of our glorious systems that get overlooked a lot: our audio experience on our battlestations. Thanks to paoper for formatting. Again disclaimer that I am an idiot, so take this post with a grain of salt. Better info and more accurate info from people way more knowledgeable than I am is readily available from /audiophile/budgetaudiophile and /headphones, this is just a start-up guide for the beginner. NOTE: The monster I gave birth to has become too long. I felt that instead of a short list of things to order, I needed to give context as high fidelity is really all about what sound is like in your experience. Also a fun read if you are interested. Feel free to skip to the actual list (ctrl+f active speakers, passive speakers, headphones, subwoofer, amplifier)! I have limited the price range of the products, because this is after all just food for thought and not even a proper guide; real audio purchases will require elbow-grease and research from your end to see if the product's sound signature will match your preferences in music and sound. If your product is not here, do not worry. I have put in products that I have had experience with and those that were recommended by multiple reviewers I hold in high regard (with the exception of a 2.1 system you will see later), and I had to consider the endless number of headphones/speakers vs the ones that are worth your hard-earned cash (and products vs how they compare to my current setup which includes both "high-end" and budget options).
I've been building systems for myself and others since I randomly took a buildapc course in middle school (currently 28) and enjoy music very much (I grew up on linkin park, dre, biggie smalls, 3 6 mafia, tupac, ac/dc, red hot chilli peppers am fond of electro and dubstep and various genres of music). I have 2 decades of experience playing saxophone, clarinet, and the electric guitar, and have performed in jazz bands, rock bands, and an orchestra. My ear is highly trained from raw musical performance and not just listening to speakers from home, as well as having the nuance to differentiate between good speakers. I have owned many many forms of audio gear (instruments, speakers, headphones, studio monitors).
So wtf is this?
So occasionally while answering questions on this subreddit (mainly on why new builder's systems aren't posting, or what components they should get, or just mourning with fellow builders for systems that have passed on as well as celebrating the birth of new systems and fellow pc builders who take their rite of passage of building their own system with their own two hands) I would come across the occasional "what speakers/headphones are best under $xx" and with the state of pc products being "gaming rgb ultimate series XLR" or w/e, it's hard to discern what audio products are actually worth your money. Note that if you are using just "good enough" cheap speakers, any of the speakers/headphones on this list will blow your mind away. Get ready to enter a new world of audio.
Why should I bother getting better speakers/headphones?
I have owned $20 logitech speakers, I currently own $1500 speakers. I have owned varying levels of headphones. The first half-decent (to my standards) speakers I had was a hand me down stereo set from an uncle. This thing was massive, but this thing was good. It's difficult to explain to you the sensation of music enveloping you with great speakers. Speakers are meant to reproduce sound, as in the sound of the instruments in the song. So great speakers and headphones can literally make you FEEL the music like at a rave or a concert or performance in the comfort of your home. This is why Home Theaters were so popular in the 80s/90s. Upgrading will GREATLY enhance your music, netflix and gaming experience. In fact with passive bookshelf speakers, you can not only use them for your desktop setup, but also chuck them together with a tv and you've got a fine starter home theater system in your hands. You can even upgrade down the line incrementally, one speaker at a time, to a 2.1, 3.1, 5.1, 5.2, 7.2 Dolby Atmos Home Theater Setup where your movies make you feel like your in SPARTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. I currently live in a small apartment with my TV right next to my battlestation, and when i want to sit down on my couch and watch TV, I simply move 1 speaker from my desk to next to my TV, turn my AVR on and I have an easy 5.1 home theater in my tiny apartment. Move the speaker, revert back to 2.1 (or 5.1 if i choose to but i dont because of badspeaker placement when I'm sitting at my desk) amazingness at my battlestation. Consider this an investment into massively improving your experience of playing video games, watching netflix, or listening to music. You think those 4k graphics and ULTRAWIDE monitor is giving you more immersion in your game? Shit...having great speakers or headphones can make you feel like you're IN NORMANDY BEACH DURING THE FUCKING LANDINGS
General considerations (or feel free to just skip ahead to the list)
Now, I totally understand using simple logitech speakers due to budget/space/easy-access from best buy or not knowing about the wider audio world. So I am here today to give you a perspective on what audio components are TRULY worth your hard-earned cash. I have owned $20 logitech speakers in college, I have owned guitar amps as well as studio monitors/other speakers ranging from $100-$1500. Do know that all of this information is readily available in /BudgetAudiophile/audiophile and /headphones . I am merely condensing all of it into a single list, and attempt to sort of explain it to the pc builders, or just an idiot rambling. If you would like more information on specific speakers, I would check out reviewers on youtube like zerofidelity, steve guttenberg, nextbigthing (nbt) studios, and thomas and stereo. For headphones, metal751, innerfidelity, Ishca's written reviews, DMS. Z reviews is okay and he reviews everything from amps and dacs to speakers and headphones, but he gives 90% of his products good reviews, and has affiliate links to every single product he reviews....so you see where my dislike of him as a reviewer comes from. He is still an expert audiophile , he just chooses to not use his knowledge and ramble on in his videos, plus the shilling. Great place to start for audiophiles, as he is still a professional. I just think many move on to other reviewers. Also with speakers, speaker placement is extremely important. Get those speakers off your desk and the woofers/tweeters to your ear level NO MATTER THE COST. Stack boxes/books, buy speaker stands/isolation pads from amazon, at worst buy yoga blocks from amazon. Put your speakers on them, get ready for even better audio. General rule of thumb: dont buy HiFi at msrp. There are ALWAYS deals on speakers/headphones to take advantage of at any given time (massdrop for headphones, parts-express, accessories4less, crutchfield, adorama, Sweetwater, guitar center, etc). Speakers will get cheaper over time as manufacturers have to make room for new products/refreshes of the same models just as with headphones. If theres a particular headphone model you want, check to see if massdrop has it (website where users of the website decide what niche products the website will mass order, and both the website and you the users get reduced pricing). Now this list is just simple guide. Obviously for $150 budget, theres probably like 10 different speakers to choose from. You will catch me repeat this many many times but sound is subjective, I don't know what genres of music you enjoy and what sound signatures in headphones/speakers you would prefer (warm sounds? bright? aggressively forward? laid back sound signature? importance of clarity vs bass?) So consider this list with a grain of salt, as this is after all, the ramblings of an idiot on reddit.
So I will be splitting this list into 4 categories:
And before I start, bass depth and low end does not fucking equal bad boomy bass. I absolutely detest low quality boomy bass like in Beats headphones and general "gaming speakers" or w/e. Also the budetaudiophile starter package is the dayton audio b652 + mini amp combo from parts-express. All the speakers that were considered were basically compared to the b652 before making it on here (and whether they justified the price bump over the b652)
Active vs. Passive (crude explanation)
So when a speaker plays music from your pc, the audio is processed by the audio card on your motherboard, which is then sent to the amplifier where the signal is amplified, and then finally is sent to be played on your speakers. Active speakers like logitech speakers that have a power cable running from the speakers directly to the wall socket have built-in amplifiers to power the speakers, whereas passive speakers require a separate amplifier to amplify the audio signal and feed the speakers power. Active vs passive, no real difference as both types of speakers will have good audio quality depending on how they are made and which ones you buy, but in the ultra budget section of speakers (under $300) actives tend to be cheaper than their passive counter parts. This is due to the manufacturer cutting corners elsewhere. Take for instance the Micca MB42X passive speakers($90) which also have a brother, the Micca PB42X ($120) powered speakers. Same exact speaker, but built in amp vs the amp you buy. Obviously the mb42x will sound marginally better purely from the virtue that the amplifier is not inside the goddamn box. But the mb42x + amp + speaker wire will probably cost you anywhere from basic $130 to $200 with difference in amplifier and whether you use bare speaker wire or banana plugs/cables. Cabling aesthetics and management will be greatly affected, with sound quality affected to a lesser degree, or more (but at what cost?). Amp choice to be explained later. Now generally speakers should be recommended based on your music/audio preferences and tastes as speakers and in a larger part, speaker brands will have their own unique sound signatures that some will love and others will hate as sound is such a subjective experience. But since this is meant to cater to a wide audience, note that my list is not the ALL inclusive, and again is only the ramblings of an idiot.
If you want to add bluetooth capabilities to your wires active or passive speakers, simply buy the esinkin W29 wireless bluetooth module, plug your speakers in, connect to your bluetooth on pc/phone/w/e, enjoy.
Simply connect to your PC or TV via 3.5mm (or the occasional usb). Note: you may experience a hissing with active speakers that may annoy you to no end even up to the $400 mark. This is a result of the amplifier being built in to the speaker in close proximity, as well as sometimes the manufacturer cutting corners elsewhere. Passive speakers do not have this unless you buy a really shitty amp. Note that while bigger woofer size does not necessarily indicate better quality/bass, this does more often than not seem to be the case as manufacturers put bigger woofers on the higher stepup model. Note that while I have included 2.1 systems here, I would always recommend you get good bookshelves first, save up money and buy a subwoofer separate.
Cyber Acoustics CA-3602FFP 2.1 $40. This is the I'm broke af but I need speakers route. 2.1 setup for 40 bucks. We do not have the luxury of options here. Enough said. Amazon
Okay, for under $100 for good quality active speakers, there really is no other choice here besides Edifier speakers on amazon. In fact, their entire lineup is pretty solid all around ranging from the 980T for $70 to the S350DB which is a 2.1 system with 2 bookshelves and a sub for $300. Differences in the models are basically bigger woofers/tweeters as you go up in price, resulting in better bass performance and clarity (again crude explanation). If you don't want to research much and want simplicity, any of the edifiers are the way to go, with the 1700BT being the goto 2.0, or the 1850db which as a sub-out so you can add in a subwoofer into your setup later.
Micca PB42X: $120- The active version of the popular MB42X passive speakers. Very good performance for price.
Mackie CR3/4 $90/$140- Now normally I don't recommend these, but they are okay/meh speakers and have that razer aesthetic going on, and aesthetics are big part of speaker choice, so if you like the black/green color scheme, I guess these are passable.
Klipsch Pro Media 2.1: $150- the only 2.1 system I'd recommend under $200. The thing about adding in a subwoofer to a 2.1 system under $200 means they have to cut corners elsewhere. This is the main difference of 2.1 systems vs bookshelves. While the subwoofer will allow your music to hit the lower notes in frequency resulting in deeper and more bass, this will usually come at a cost of audio quality in the mid and upper ranges in the music. If you are a BASSHEAD then yeah you probably want a subwoofer, though bookshelves under $200 also have decent bass. Note, ALWAYS BETTER TO BUY BOOKSHELVES AND SUBWOOFER SEPARATELY, but this will be pricier. Klipsch Website Direct or amazon.
Fluance ai40/ai60: $200/$300- nice looking speakers that come in white and walnut and black that also have good clarity and quality. Their bass is surprisingly okay as they are rated to go a little bit below in the lower frequencies than speakers in similar price. I have listened to these before shortly for 2 hours, and would recommend. IIRC the ai60 has a subwoofer out. Mind the size of the 60s, quite big. Fluance direct or amazon.
Kanto YU4: $270 Direct competitor to fluance ai series. Comes in white as well.
Audioengine A2+/A5+ :$270/$400. I have no experience with this lineup, but lots of love/hate dynamic with this brand over on budgetaudiophile. Good and bad thing.
JBL 305P: $300 - maybe the endgame speakers of this list. These are very famous and respected studio monitors that music artists and producers use often. They are sold $150 per speaker, and you will need to get 2. Hooking them up requires separate cables, as these are standalone speakers with it's own volume control on each speaker. Simplest way is to buy a 3.5mm to dual TS Cable. Set both speakers to same physical volume level via knob, and adjust volume using windows settings (having a volume knob on your keyboard helps immensely here). Or buy a separate in line volume control from amazon ($20 bucks or under) and connect via 3.5mm to rca. Being studio monitors, these are meant to reproduce sound neutrally (they will have no external flavoring like how Beats adds muddy boomy bass to its headphones to use as a bad example) and may not sound alive or bright or to your tastes. They can be demo-ed/tested out at guitar center if you have access to one in this pandemic.
Logitech G560 RGB Gaming Speakers: $200 (yes, you read that right): Okay, now normally I'd be crucified for recommending a logitech speaker in the other audio forums. But I have used these speakers briefly for about 3 months when I got them cheap from a friend. The sound quality of these satellite speakers are....surprisingly not bad? Might I dare to say that these are even....decent for it's price? Now these are $200 speakers for a 2.1 system. This means that it's either this or Klipsch 2.1. Honestly my vote here goes to the logitechs. I owned the Klipsch promedia 2.1 for about half a year. I can definitely say I prefer the clarity of the logitechs vs the boomy bass of the Klipsch. The subwoofer on the 560 does NOT have its own control knob, so you would need to adjust bass settings through logitech eq. Note, these speakers will not sound good out of the box. You will need to go into the eq settings via logitech software, and change the settings to match your tastes. Honestly the fact that you have to tweak the eq through shitty logitech software to make these sound good is pretty bullshit. Note that I am not recommending the z623/625. Don't get those. I used these in college in my apt in brooklyn, and while boomy bass, I'd definitely go with the B652 + mini amp, klipsch 2.1, or the g560 over the z623/625 FOR SURE.
Second-hand market: okay, let's say you are determined to get quality speakers but you do not have the budget. Look around on the second hand market for stuff from KRK, Emotiva, Ascend, HSU. Make sure to demo them out for as long as you can until the seller gets pissed (please don't), so that you can test to see if you like the sound.
These speakers will require you to buy a separate amplifier, as well as separate cables. But the passive route allows you to have a modular audio system that allows you to upgrade parts as you go along in your life (yes I said life for once you dip your toes into high fidelity, you will get hooked onto a great lifelong journey searching for the perfect setup), or even just add parts in altogether (like having a miniamp on your desk for your passive speakers, having a separate dac or bluetooth module for your speakers so you can connect the passive speakers via USB or bluetooth wirelessly, stacked on top of a headphone dac/amp combo, stacked on top of a preamp, etc). Amplifier list to follow later. Passive speaker specs to pay attention to will be their impedance (measured in ohms) and their sensitivity (measured in xx db/1w/1m). Speaker ratings in wattage are measurements of how much power can be driven to them (higher watts, higher volume...once again crude explanation). A 20 watt x 2 channel amp (measured in 4 ohms) is enough to power 4 and 6 ohm speakers rated at 100 watts to moderate/decently loud listening levels on your desktop. Now the sensitivity thing. A speaker with a rating of 85db/1m/1w means it will produce 85 decibels of noise at 1 meter with 1 watt of power. Now this not linear....to make the same speaker go up to 90 decibels may require 10 or 15 watts of power depending on other variables. Depending on how loudly you play your music and what impedance/sensitivity your speakers have will result in your choice of amplifiers. More on this later. The thing about passive bookshelf speakers are that you can use them in your desktop setup, AND with your TV as a legitimate starter 2.1 home theater setup (which you can upgrade to 3.1, and then 5.1/5.2, just buy a used receiver from craigslist for 50 bucks, ez)
What you will need for passive setup:
Note that passive speakers and amp require you to purchase speaker wire separately (fairly cheap) and strip them (youtube video will guide you, very easy). Or if you like clean cable management and easy setups, banana plug cables from amazon will set you straight, and while these banana plugs and cable are nice and PURELY OPTIONAL, they will add up in cost as your buy more of them for frankenstein 2.1 cabling. Also a 3.5mm to rca cable will be required. The connection will be your pc -> 3.5mm->rca->amp->speaker wire-> speaker wire->speaker. (replace speaker wire with banana plug if going that route). Subwoofer connection will be explained in subwoofer section.
Dayton audio b652+ mini amp combo on parts-express for $60/70. Two combos, two separate mini amps, one from lepai (china) and one from dayton. Same shit. It LITERALLY does not get better than this for under $100, maybe even $150. CHIEF THIS IS IT, i cannot stress this enough. This is the budgetaudiophile 101 starter pack. I'd recommend these over the active Mackies, Edifiers (up to the 1700), and any and all logitech/creative pebble/cyber w/e EVERYTHING systems (except for the g560). These are very BIG speakers and hence will deliver good sound and good bass due to its big woofers. If you have less than $100 to spend on the ENTIRE audio setup, go get these and speaker wire/banana plugs no questions asked. gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
Dayton Audio B652 AIR $70- The difference between the AIR and the normal 652 is in the tweeter. The AIR tweeter on this speaker costs as much as the entire b652 speaker. This tweeter upgrade gives even more clarity and quality in the treble range (middle upper sound frequency). The next best thing for under $100, though doesn't come with the mini amp combo.
Sony SSCS5 Bookshelf Speakers. $150 msrp, $120 on amazon/bestbuy until recently, and sometimes goes on sale for $75. These are 3 way speakers with woofer, tweeter and supertweeter. The strength of these speakers lie in its unmatched clarity in the highs and upper mids. I still have these in my collection, and VERY WORTH though my opinion of these is skewed as I got them for $75/pair. If you appreciate bass, you will need to add a subwoofer with these (or generally any speaker below $500....some people would say you cant listen to music on bookshelves without subwoofer) as they sound a bit thin compare to the b652s (a bit less bass because smaller woofer) but better sound quality (though this is just my SUBJECTIVE thought after listening to the cs5s and b652s). These have 5 in woofers and have okayish small form factor.
Micca MB42X $90- the passive version of the powered PB42X in the active list. The difference is between the amplifier built into the PB42X vs the one you're going to buy separately to power the MB42X. Obv the MB42X route is going to be better because the amplifier in the PB42X will be shit compared to the one you're going to buy ($30/50/75/150 options to follow later)
Micca RB42X $150 - Amazing small size speakers. For under $200, either this or the cs5s. The rb42s have a bit more bass.
Elac Debut 5.2/6.2 ON SALE NOW FOR $230/250. GET EM WHILE IT LASTS. Normally $280/350. These are speakers highly acclaimed by many of the speaker reviewers I consider the best (imo zerofidelity, steve guttenberg, nextbigthing (nbt) studio, thomas and stereo). Great bass, warm sound signature. Just go, what are you waiting for. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Q Acoustics 3020/3030i $230/400. Highly acclaimed by reviewers, look VERY NICE in white, and have a warm sound signature with lots of bass clarity and bass depth. These speakers are big, which is why they have great bass. Check the dimensions. Their size is the only downside to these fantastic speakers.
PSB Alpha P5 $400: Great speakers for nearfield listening, aka at your desk, excels in this department more so than the other speakers (better at low volume, etc). Just all around amazing. Get these if the Q Acoustics ones are too big.
Triangle BR02/03 $450/550. Coming from across the atlantic, these french speakers made a splash last year destroying its competition in the below $1000 range. Highly acclaimed to the point where some see them as overrated (too much hype out of nowhere in such little time). If you have the space in your setup as well as in your wallet for these, they are the way to go. Comes in black, walnut, white.
Obligatory Klipsch R15/R51/RP600 post: you've heard of klipsch. They're widely available audiophile speakers, and so sometimes get the "overrated" hyped up treatment. They are good speakers but their have their own unique aggressively forward sound signature with the horn style tweeter. These were designed to make you feel like you're at the rock concert direct, may not be for everyone (much so not for me).
Okay here is where we need to get into specific numbers. Active speakers have built-in amplifiers so they are exempt. But passive speakers will require separate amps and so you will need to pay attention to certain specs. In speakers you will need to pay attention to their impedance (measured in ohms) and their sensitivity (measured in xx db/1m/1w). The typical mini amplifier will be class D (small form factor amps for desktop use) and their wattage per channel will be usually expressed in 4ohms. Take for instance the popular SMSL SA50. This is an amp that delivers 50 watts to its 2 channels, rated at 4 ohms. Speakers will have impedance of 4, 6, or 8 ohms usually. 50 watts at 4 ohms can be 25 watts at 8 ohms, but is probably more like 20 watts at 8 ohms, refer to product specs for specific wattage ratings at specific ohms. Speakers with high sensitivity (85-95 db/1w/1m) that have 6 ohm impedance are easier to drive with lower wattage. But here's the thing, an the smsl sa50 will not deliver 50 CLEAN watts. Somewhere in the 30-40w range distortion will start to appear. But for reference, 30 clean watts is enough to drive sony cs5s to uncomfortably loud levels in an apartment (the whole apt, not just your room) so listening on your desktop, you only really need 10-15 clean watts (only after turning up your preamp input to maximum volume, which in this case is your youtube/windows10 volume level). Do note that if you have the space, a used $60 AV Receiver that will just shit out watts and have 5.1 surround will be the best, but these things are massive.
Lepai 2020ti (LEPAI and not Lepy be wary) $25. 20 watts in 2 channels. Budget
SMSL SA36 $62: SMSL's 2x20w.
SMSL SA50 $72: The most bang for buck amp that's also decent. 2x50watts.
Topping MX3 $130: Speaker amp, headphone amp, dac rolled into one. Allows for your speakers and headphones to be connected via USB and Bluetooth.
SMSL AD18 $150: SMSL's answer to the MX3. This one is probably the goto. It's got 2x80w at 4ohms, has USB connection, has subwoofer out, has bluetooth connection, headphone amp, coaxial and optical connection.
If you need more watts than the AD18, you're gonna need to get a class a/b amp that just shits out watts for cheap, or get a used av receiver. If you want a new one, the best budget option is the DENON AVR-S540BT 5.2 channel AVR from accessories4less.
Good subwoofers are expensive, and cheap subwoofers will hurt your listening experience rather than improve it (muddy boomy shitty bass). Your best bet may be to simply find a used subwoofer from craigslist or offerup, just dont get the polk audio PSW10, this is a very common sub you see on the 2nd hand market, because it is a shitty sub and so people get rid of it. Now as to whether you need a subwoofer. If you are in a dorm, don't get a subwoofer. Because.... if you live in a dorm, do not get a fucking subwoofer. Now if you live in a small apartment, fear not, proper subwoofer management will save you noise complaints. A good subwoofer will produce good quality low end you can hear and feel without having to turn up the volume. You want to look at the subwoofer's lowest frequency it can go to. That will show you how "tight" the bass will be. Now, low volume levels on a good sub will produce that bass for you without vibrating your walls (though subwoofer and speaker isolation as well as PLACEMENT (refer to the sub-crawl) will do more for getting the most sound out of your speakers without having to turn up the volume....and just turn off the sub after a reasonable time) Now as to how to add a subwoofer to your system will depend on what setup you have and the available connections. If your speakers or amplifier has a subwoofer output, simply connect that to your subwoofer, set the crossover freuency (the frequency at which the subwoofer will start making sound) to 80hz, or lower depending on how low of a frequency our bookshelves can go down to. If your speakers/amp do not have a subwoofer out, you will need to find a subwoofer that has high level speaker inputs. You will need to connect your bookshelves to the speaker outputs on the subwoofer via speaker wire/banana plugs, and then run speaker wire/banana plugs from the subwoofer input to your amplifier, ending with rca to 3.5mm connection to your pc.
Dayton Audio SUB-800 $100: The cheapest one, don't go any cheaper. Enough said. Get from parts-express. If you need cheaper, 2nd hand market.
Dayton Sub-1000 $120: The bigger brother. This thing is 10 inches, be prepared for a BIG box sitting in your room.
Bic Acoustech PL-200 $300: Has good bass, goes down to 22hz. Very good bang for buck "good" subwoofer. A BIG step up from the daytons.
Okay, I keep saying headphones and not headsets right. But you ask, Kilroy, you're an idiot. You're posting on buildapc for PC gamers and builders but you're talking headphones and not headsets. How idiotic are you? Pretty big, but friends hear me out. Now I used to live in South Korea, where PC Bangs (internet cafes) set the nation's standards for computers. All the places had to get the best bang for the buck pc gear to stay in business and remain competitive (all 100 computers at these places had like i5-6600k and gtx 1080 in 2015 or something I don't remember, along with mechanical BLUE SWITCH FUCCCCCCKKKKKKKK (imagine 100 blue switch keyboards being smashed on in a small underground area in Seoul) keyboards and decent headsets. So I have tried MANY MANY different headsets, here is my conclusion. Just get proper headphones and get either get an antlion modmic, or V-MODA Boompro mic both available on amazon. (short list of mics later) or get proper headphones and usb mic. Okay, I have seen the headphone recommendation list, and the only one I would give any (if at all) weight to in the usual pc websites that our subreddit goes to, is the list from rtings. These guys mainly measure monitors and tvs (very well might i add) but the writer for their audio section is lacking it seems. Please dont get Astro AXX headphones or corsair rgb xxxxxx w/e. Please for the love of god, take your good hard earned cash and get yourself a NICE pair of cans my fellow PC users. The mic part is secondary as GOOD headphones will forever change your PC using and music listening experience FOREVER The TWO EXCEPTIONS that I have observed to this rule are the Hyperx Clouds and Cooler Master mh751/752.
Hyperx Cloud CORE/1/2/ALPHA (please find prices on amazon). So these headphones are a rare instance of when a gaming branded pair of headphones was actually a good no bullshit product. These are hyperx reskins of OEM Takstar Pro 80, a pretty damn good pair of cans from china for under $50 (no longer available on aliexpress but Seoul had a SHIT load of these) with a mic attached to it. Chief, this is it. Reasonably good audio quality from headphone drivers for their price, and you get a mic for discord needs.
Coolermaster MH751/752 $90/110. Now beware, on amazon there are the mh630/650/670 series headphones that are in the same...product "selection" styling part of the product page. Do NOT GET THESE, these are the typical bullshit gaming branding and are pretty bad. Now, the mh751 and 752s are coolermaster's copycat of the hyperx clouds. They are coolermaster reskins of the Takstar pro 82, another good pair of headphones. I cannot comment on this one, as I have not used either the takstar variant nor the cm variant. But the pro 82s are just as good as the 80s. If i had to guess, different styling (headband) and maybe slightly different sound signature. Difference between the 2 is the dac (the block thing in between your headphones and the wires to your pc). The dac the mh752 is most likely inferior to the dac on your mobo's build-in soundcard. Get the 751, unless you have a laptop, then the 752's dac may be better.
Audio-Technica ath-m40x $80: You may have heard of the ath-m50/x. Now these headphones are looked down on, on the headphone forums or reddit. The m40/x is the bass reduced, aka the neutral version of the m50x for cheaper too. Great headphones for under $100. Now, I have owned the m50 waay back, and I think if you enjoy bass, then go for it. After all, they are YOUR fuckin pair of headphones and ears, who are others to say shit?
Sony MDR7506 $100: I remember these were $75, but I guess everything changed when the coronavirus attacked. Anyway, these are the venerated mdr7506, the industry standard for headphones in the professional audio/music industry. Great quality, cheap price. They just, dont have anything going on in the looks department. These are it for pure price/performance.
BeyerDynamic DT770 (32, 90, 250 ohms) $150: Amazing pair of cans, very comfortable. 32 ohm version if simply plugging into your motherboard. The higher ohm versions may require separate headphone amp. Generally more amps=better audio quality, but differences are NEGLIGIBLE to nonexistent with low output amps (this is like the difference in sound of the same 100w speaker powered by a $30 smsl amp vs a $5000 Mcintosh amp at the same volume levels, very subtle and small but it's there)
Sennheiser 650/6xx from massdrop/660 $220-$400. The legendary series of headphones from sennheiser. Highly venerated.
HifiMAN DEVA with Bluemini Receiver $300: Interesting set of open-back planar headphones that came out recently that also allow for usb connection, as well as 3.5mm, but the bluetooth function is a separate module (with a built-in mic) that you connect to the side of the headphones. So it's actually a wired set of planar headphones, but the separate bluetooth module also allows for wireless connection. The module only has enough battery for 5ish hours, so while that is charging you will have to use the wired connection. This is a usb dac/amp/bluetooth module rolled into one. Very stylish and interesting design.
Audeze Mobius $400: "Gaming" wireless headphones from Audeze, a high end audiophile grade planar magnetic headphone manufacturer. If those words don't mean anything to you, these are wireless headphones with a detachable mic made by an extremely respected audiophile headphone manufacturer. If you want wireless headphones, I would also suggest these or the hifiman deva. These are closed-back headphones vs Hifiman's open back. These headphones also have an onboard dac for usb/3.5mm/bluetooth connection.
Now obviously, there's other choices. A metric fuck load of them. But I had to account for how much you should be paying (price range) for upgrades in sound quality and performance.
Example options (Wireless headsets)
Okay. Wireless headsets, now let's think why do you need a wireless headset? Do you want to walk around your house while on discord? Maybe you want to keep the headset on while having to afk real quick for a smoke break or whatnot.
TaoTronics 5.0 Bluetooth transmitter+receiver unit $30. It's a small device that can either A: give your non-bt PC bluetooth capabilities by acting as a receiver, or give your wired headphones wireless connectivity to your pc by acting as a transmitter. This thing is battery powered (like a wireless gaming headset) up to 10 hours. You just plug your wired headphones in, put the thing in your pocket and leave your pc.
See Hifiman Deva above.
Still here? Fine then. Steelseries artis 7. I put this....thing on this list mainly for true wireless headset inclusion. Still would recommend other headphones.
Other wireless recommendations: Sennheiser pxc 550 and Sony wh1000xm2 and Bose QC35.
HEADPHONE AMP/DAC (digital to analogue converter)
My knowledge/experience with headphone amps and dacs are...extremely lacking, I'm more of a speaker guy. But, here is a list for you guys.
SMSL M3 $85 - has usb and spdif connections and line out rca. good starter dac/amp combo.
Schiit Magni $99- probably the most popular one here. This will drive anything but the most power hungry of headphones. The Schiit stack with the Magni and the Modi is the goto stack for small form factor amp+dac.
Micca Origen G2 $110 - DAC/amp combo that has usb and fibre, and has a switchable pre-out for powered speakers. Accepts 3.5mm and 1/4''
V-MODA BoomPRO $30: this is a mic with a 3.5mm that plugs in to your headphones that have a removable cable, simple.
Antlion modmic $50: yes the modmic. You've probably heard of this.
Fifine K669B condensor mic $46: simple mic on a stand that plugs in via usb. Imo has better recording quality than Blue snowball.
Blue Snowball $57: Yes, you've most definitely heard of this.
Other mics? Yes, but are they worth the extra $$ for marginally better audio recording? You decide.
Cool. Stay safe in these dark times brothers. Have a glorious day.
Reddit, I need help, am I (26F) in a doomed relationship with my fiancèe (27F)?
I have posted previously in AmItheAsshole about a situation in this post here But there's been more I've been thinking about thanks to the lovely people of Reddit, and was recommended this sub by someone in the comments so here I am, and I appreciate all honesty and feedback. Apologies for the chunk of text, but here we go. My original post was about J(25M) who is an ex-bf-now-friend of fiancèe's for 15 years and has been trying to cause a rift in our relationship for the 6 years we have been together. J is not a fan of me, he is very jealous and possessive and has never been shy about it. They're very physically intimate; lots of cuddling and hand-holding even when I'm there. There was one point I had to sit on the floor because they were tangled up cuddling on the couch and didn't move. There's also the constant stuff J whispers in my fiancèe's ear, about how we should break up and that I'm not good for her, and that I'm manipulative and abusive because I have voiced my discomfort in the past with how he is around fiancèe. Very recently (like yesterday) I overheard him via video call that he still doesn't like me and wants her to leave me. I got upset, she now refuses to speak to me. I've never asked her to stop being friends, just that I don't like what he says about me and I'm not comfortable with the level of affection they show. There is also some little stuff, he drops by all the time uninvited(pre-pandemic) and would spend hours with her, she would also visit him too and stay for a couple of nights while he lives about 3 hours away. I'm never invited when she goes, it's never been explicitly said I'm not welcome, but I definitely get the vibe. He also has confessed his feelings multiple times, tried to feel her up and make unwanted advances. All while we're dating. I have voiced my concerns to fiancèe A LOT. I've told her it makes me uncomfortable, and that I don't feel respected by him or her but she's always brushed me off saying that it's just how he is. Or when she has told him not to do those things, he does them anyway and she lets it happen. She's also called me clingy because I have voiced to her how I feel about J. But there's been some more things I never considered until I've taken a new look at things. I've caught her with a Tinder account in the past, she claimed she liked the attention and was only using it to boost her self esteem. She's also belittled me, called me stupid a number of times while she's angry then apologised later when calmed down. But she gets really nasty when she's angry, even when it's not at me. Saying horrible things about my friends, my family, and me. Then comes the apologising, and when I don't immediately forgive her, she gets even more upset. I feel like I'm walking on eggshells around her and have to keep her happy otherwise she will lash out. Another example of this is a relative of mine passed away a while ago, and I asked for her emotional support, but she told me that she didn't have time for me and to deal with it myself. She refused to attend his funeral. I have brought some of these issues up previously, but it lead to her snapping at me and accusing me of holding the past over her head and she's changed now, but even still she will continue to lash out at me when she's upset. The most recent being about 6 months ago, I lost my family cat in a traumatic way, and when I turned to her for support, all she did was complain about her friends and her problems.. then lash out when I wasn't giving her the support she demanded. The lovely people of Reddit has suggested counselling, and while I have communicated how I feel multiple times, it seems like this would be the best bet, but honestly I don't know where this relationship is going and I need some advice and an outsider's perspective. So Reddit, should I save this relationship, or is it doomed to fail?
I Can Make You Hot!: The Supermodel Diet (by Kelly Killoren Bensimon) -- Part One
NOTE: Although I was originally planning on posting this whole review at once, I was about a third of the way through the book when I realized that I was already quickly approaching the full length of my previous posts. So, in the interest of making this a pleasant experience for us all, I'm sharing the first half now, and will follow up with the second half in a few days. And honestly, KKB's writing reminds me of Inception in that it's almost certainly hazardous to spend too much time immersed in any single sitting. So fasten your seatbelts, and enjoy the ride! ------- So, a lot of you guys have been asking about Kelly Killoren Bensimon's I Can Make You Hot! (wow, is this what it feels like to be an influencer?), and I am thrilled to report that my adventure through this book's 264 pages was even more confounding than I could have possibly anticipated. I have a feeling that I'll need every ounce of my strength if I want to have any shot at conveying to you all exactly how bonkers this purported self-help book is, so -- without further ado -- let's begin. I Can Make You Hot!, subtitled The Supermodel Diet, has a fairly straightforward premise. Kelly, who "has done it all when it comes to nutrition and her body," will share her hard-earned wisdom with us, her humble readers. Or, as she says in her own words on the back cover:
In I Can Make You Hot! I'm going to clue you in to all the tricks I've learned from a variety of experts and that I now use to live my own life. I want you to be the best you -- happy, attractive, shapely, interested, interesting, and most of all, smokin' HOT!
The blurb promises that the experience of reading this book will be "like rooming with a supermodel and going on a diet together." Truly, only someone with Kelly Bensimon's tenuous grasp on reality would say this as if it were something exciting, rather than a scenario taken directly out of the third circle of hell. But before we can truly learn what it means to be HOT!, we're treated to a foreword by none other than Russell Simmons. As he shares with us:
Kelly is a great mother and is constantly instilling strong principals [sic] in her daughters. In my opinion, that's the essence of being HOT. Kelly is smokin'.
And just like that, I Can Make You Hot! is knocked out of the running for First-Book-I've-Read-By-A-Bravolebrity-That-Is-Also-Free-From-Glaring-Typographical-Errors. Better luck next time, champ! In case you were at all hesitant about Kelly's suitability for the job of helping the less fortunate among us reach their maximum potential, Russell clarifies:
Her beauty truly comes from within, and her clear internal compass and well-balanced lifestyle is what makes her an arbiter for what's hot. She has always had her own individual road map and is one of those people who beats to their own drum. Many are amazed by her leaps of faith and courage, which are products of her sustainable soul. And back to that energy! I used to think: If we could only package it. And now Kelly has!
I would kill to be a fly on the wall during a conversation between Russell Simmons and Kelly Bensimon. But all of these endorsements are making me impatient to dig into Kelly's advice, so I skim over the next few pages and arrive at the introduction: "What's HOT and What's Not." Almost immediately, Kelly reassures us that she was not always the gorgeous, talented socialite she is today -- "No. Let's just say that I was never one of those tiny, cute blonde girls who guys named their hamsters after." Excuse you what?I literally just walked away from my laptop to go talk to my boyfriend and make sure I'm not just ignorant of some otherwise well-known traditional male courtship ritual in which young men adopt rodents and christen them after the women they love. That doesn't seem to be the case, although please reach out if you can shed any additional light on this situation. Reasonably enough, before we can learn how to be hot, we have to know what hot is. Fortunately, Kelly wastes no time in getting us up to speed:
When I was trying to come up with a title for this book, I kept asking myself how I would define what I love. "HOT" is the word that best describes what I love, and it's not a word I throw around lightly. "HOT" is attractive, unique, and first-rate -- never mediocre. Avril Lavigne made a video called "HOT." There are "HOT" issues of all my favorite magazines. Hotmail.com was given that name to indicate that it was the best e-mail service, and www.urbandictionary.com, whose definitions are created by their readers, defines "hot" as (among other things) attractive, the best, and someone who makes you wish you had a pause button when they walk by because you don't want that moment to end. (I want you to feel like that "someone.") Health, wellness, and fitness are always hot topics. "HOT" may be a buzzword but it's also how I describe the best there is and the best you can be. I've used the words "smokin' hot" for everything from a killer chicken wing red sauce to a coveted couture gown.
There is…a lot to unpack here. My leading hypothesis is that Kelly must have accidentally exposed her internal circuitry to water and started shorting out while writing this passage, causing her to string together a rambling parade of incoherent sentences with no relationship to one another, save a tangential association with the amorphous concept of hotness. Also, it's factually inaccurate. A cursory Google search reveals that Hotmail.com was not "given that name to indicate that it was the best e-mail service." Rather, the service's name was selected as a reference to the use of HTML to create webpages, as is more apparent from the original stylization, HoTMaiL. I know from her savvy allusion to "www.urbandictionary.com" that Kelly is capable of navigating the Internet, so I'm disappointed that she's made such a careless oversight within the first three pages of the book proper. Kelly next takes us through a few scenes from her past to illustrate how she has come to understand the true meaning of "HOT." Here are just a few of the assorted pearls of wisdom that Kelly is gracious enough to share with us:
Is skinny hot? Naturally skinny is hot. Starving yourself in order to change your natural body type in order to get skinny is not hot.
For me, the ultimate HOT girl is the nineteenth-century Gibson girl.
…Bethany Hamilton, the young surfer who lost an arm in a shark attack and didn’t let it stop her from pursuing a sport she loves. She's smokin' HOT.
pregnancy is smokin' HOT
I'm distracted from my diligent note-taking by a line that truly makes me laugh out loud.
I don't want to pretend that I'm "just like you." To do that would be disingenuous, and you wouldn't believe me anyway. But I may be more like you than you think. My hair may be ready for Victoria's Secret, but my values are still Midwestern.
I appreciate the honesty! As I continue reading, I am pleased to learn that I am, in fact, already consuming this piece of literature in the appropriate way. As Kelly says:
I urge you to make notes as you go along, either in the book itself or, if writing in a book is anathema to you, in a little notebook to use as your own personal guide. Jotting down ideas as they pop into your head is the best way to process them and be sure that they don't leave again before you've had a chance to commit them to long-term memory. Then, if you've made a mistake, when you go back and see it there on paper, you'll remind yourself not to do it again. Or, as I like to say, you'll avoid getting bitten by the same food dog twice!
Bitten…by the same….food...dog? Never change, KKB. (As an aside, what's the oveunder on Kelly having even the slightest idea what the word 'anathema' means?) If I'm being totally honest, this book is making me feel a little superfluous. What more can I add when the source material is so impenetrable to begin with? How does one parse the unparseable? Newly humbled, I suppose I'll have to be content with just gaping in confusion alongside the rest of you. And now that I think about it, what better book to build me up from these insecurities and encourage me to be my best? In the words of Kelly herself:
After all, why wouldn't you want to be HOT? What's the alternative? Being "not so hot"?
The book is organized into seven chapters, one for each day of the week, focusing on seven distinct facets of hotness. We start our journey on "Monday: Make a List -- Plan and Prepare!" and are immediately blessed with another one of Kelly's philosophical ramblings:
To me, living well is the only option. What, after all, is the only alternative? Living badly? Who aspires to live badly? I want you to live well, and that's going to take some planning.
Eager to improve myself, I read on:
What are your goals for yourself? If you're going to make changes in your life, you need to have a plan, you need to prepare, and you need to take the time to get it right -- so that you don't wind up wasting your time. This is my plan, and from now on it's going to be yours. Monday is going to be the day you make a HOT plan and prepare for the rest of your week. Let's get started together!
I can't help but feel like this is one of those answers that beauty pageant contestants give when they don't actually know how to respond to a question. Or like a motivational speech written by a rudimentary AI. I can't quite articulate exactly what it is that makes Kelly's writing seem so utterly devoid of logical coherence, but it truly falls into the literary equivalent of the Uncanny Valley. Reminding us that "this isn't just about budgeting your food; it's about budgeting your life," Kelly peppers us with even more helpful tips -- "You don't want to be that person who is snacking while you're shopping. That's not hot -- period." and shares a stream-of-consciousness-style list of "Staples I keep in my house." Which may possibly be some kind of freeform postmodern poetry. Judge for yourself. Kelly advises the reader to "get out your calendar or PDA" to get a sense of your schedule. "Then use your PDA to find the closest well-stocked market and go there. Making life easy for yourself is what it's all about." Now is as good a time as any to clarify that this book was published in 2012. I'd be lying if I said reading so many consecutive Housewives memoirs hasn't made my grasp on sanity a bit shaky, but I am fairly positive that 2012 was not a banner year for the Personal Digital Assistant. Kelly has taken the time to pluck out a few particularly incisive pearls of wisdom throughout the book to highlight as "Kelly's Cardinal Rules." I would love to help clarify exactly what this one means, but I'm afraid I'm utterly clueless. One thing I do know for certain, however, as the chapter comes to a close, is that "human contact is HOT; texting is not!" The week continues with "Tuesday: A Little Ohm and a Little Oh Yeah! -- It's All About Balance." It is imperative that you work out, says Kelly, adding, "I've never met a smokin' hot couch potato and I bet you haven't either." Her personal exercise routine, as she shares, combines aerobics and yoga "because life is all about balance." As she quips, "I'm sure even Gandhi cracked a smile from time to time." A panel titled "HOT Tip" admonishes the reader: "Don't call it working out because exercise shouldn't be work!" If you'd like to spend a morning in the style of Kelly Bensimon, it's as easy as eating "a couple of oranges" and drinking coffee -- "I love coffee; I would probably marry coffee if it proposed." She also lets us in on some of her secret, highly advanced workout routines designed to maximize your time in the gym and propel you towards your full potential. Such as the "Happy Twenty," in which you run for 18 minutes and then do 2 minutes of squats. We get further instruction on the hottest ways to run on the following page, where a two-page spread advertises "a few of my HOT tips for having a fun run." To ensure that you're able to start your journey to HOT as quickly as possible, I've taken the liberty of transcribing one of her most valuable nuggets below:
Run in the street instead of on the sidewalk. I took a lot of flack for this when they filmed me on Season 2 of the Real Housewives of New York City. The thing is, I think that people walking down the street while texting are a lot more dangerous than a car. Drivers will go out of their way to avoid you (accidents are too much paperwork, and they really mess up a day), but strolling texters will walk right into you without even seeing you. You could also get smacked by a shopping bag, a stroller, or even an oversized purse. Sidewalks are really obstacle courses. Beware!
Kelly shares some standout tracks from her workout playlist ("It's much more fun exercising to music!"), including the perennial pump-up-the-jam classic, "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver. With no regard for thematic continuity or overarching structure, the next page is dominated by the header "Get Leggier Legs."
An April 10, 2009, article about me in Harper's Bazaar captioned one of the photos "She's got legs." I was born blessed with long lean legs, but I work very hard to keep them looking the way they do. I'm tall, but I could just as easily have long, large legs. And long and large is not hot. Unfortunately I can't give you my legs. But I can help you to be the best you can be.
Truly inspirational. I think. We continue on with Kelly's advice for "how to avoid the 'freshman fifteen," accompanied by a list of what she refers to as "Kelly rules." These run the gamut from near-sinister
Get rid of any negative thoughts. Negative-town isn't Fun-town.
For every cheeseburger and fries, you owe me 12 cartwheels on the quad with your friends.
to bizarrely specific and also racially insensitive.
If you starve yourself for a day because you want to lose weight for Homecoming, you owe me 5 minutes of sitting Indian style in a corner and meditating on why you thought that was a good option.
Upon further reflection, I think I would actually be extremely motivated to stick to a diet if the alternative was being reprimanded by Kelly and forced to think about my poor life choices. As a scientist myself, I was ecstatic to see that Kelly has drawn from a diverse array of scientific disciplines to develop her HOT tips and tricks. Physics, for example:
From Isaac Newton's First Law of Motion A body in motion stays in motion. The velocity of a body remains constant unless the body is acted upon by an external force. So if you want to step up your exercise routine, try running in sand instead of on the pavement, or bike through gravel. That way your body will have to work harder in order to stay in motion.
Even biology has something to teach us about how to be HOT:
You are a living organism; life is an organic process. You need to be up and active, ready to enjoy the process. Be open and available and ready to do fun stuff. Participating in what you love is HOT.
I'm truly impressed by Kelly Bensimon's unparalleled ability to reframe the most basic common sense as divinely inspired wisdom. We see this in lines like
If you're feeling a bit frazzled and you need to calm down, you might want to take a yoga class.
or, as we read in another "HOT Tip" panel
Don't be afraid to drink water while working out.
I refuse to believe that this is a problem any person has ever faced. Even Aviva Drescher is not afraid of drinking water while working out (although, for the record, she is afraid of aluminum foil). Kelly closes out this chapter by encouraging the reader to "do one thing every day that takes you out of your comfort zone." If you find yourself lacking inspiration, she provides helpful suggestions, such as "try a fruit you've never eaten" and "try tap dancing." As she asserts, "there's nothing more foolish than sitting on your butt when you could be moving your body and having fun." I turn the page, and the clock rolls over to Wednesday -- "Diet = 'DIE with a T.'" Cute. I bet Kelly would find that Tumblr post that's like "she believed" to be unbearably clever. She wastes no time in letting us know:
I don't believe in diets; diets are for people who want to get skinny. I want you to be happy. If you feel good about yourself, you'll make good choices. If you starve yourself to be skinny, you'll be undermining your sense of self-worth and you'll be unhappy every day. Eating well -- a variety of high-quality, fresh, unprocessed foods -- is for people who want to be happy -- and if you're not happy you won't be hot! Happy is always better than skinny.
This is starting to feel like some sort of word problem from Algebra II. If happy is better than skinny, but hot is equal to happy, diet = die + t??? Kelly tells us that all women fall into two categories: overachievers and underachievers. Being an overachiever is good, and being an underachiever is bad. Here are some things you can do to become an overachiever:
Make good choices.
When in doubt, have fun.
Kelly's motivational-phrasebook app apparently starts to glitch out right about here, but she continues on:
Stay positive and move forward. This is your last try at today. Yesterday may not have been great, but, today is better -- you just need to see it that way. The choice is up to you.
The idea of someone being in such a dark psychological place that they are able to find inspiration in those words is so deeply sad to me that I can hardly bear to consider it. Thankfully, Kelly has already taken a hard left turn into what I think is some sort of extended metaphor:
I've already said that you need to treat your body like a Ferrari, but maybe you prefer a Maserati, an Aston Martin, a Corvette, or even a Bentley. Whatever your luxury car of choice, if you treat it well, it will increase in value; if you treat it like a bargain rental car, it's just going to wear out -- and being worn out is not hot!
Ah, yes, I'd momentarily forgotten that cars almost always increase in value after they're purchased, and don't have a culturally ubiquitous reputation for losing most of their resale value immediately. Solid analogy. Apropos of nothing, we get a "HOT Tip" list of "model diet secrets that DON'T work." I'm extremely glad that Kelly encouraged us to take notes while reading -- I'd be devastated if any of these pointers had escaped my attention.
Eating Kleenex to make yourself feel full does not work.
The Graham cracker diet does not work.
Drugs do not work.
Well, I suppose this clears up some Scary Island confusion. Had Kelly indeed been doing meth (as the reported cat-pee smell might suggest), she would be fully aware that many drugs are, in fact, extremely effective ways to lose weight. But lest you start to lose faith in the expertise of our fearless leader, read on: "when it comes to food choices, I've probably made every mistake in the book." By which she means that she ate Chinese chicken soup before giving birth to her first daughter and it made her sick, so she ate a turkey sandwich before giving birth to her second daughter and she didn’t get sick. To be perfectly honest, I'm struggling to find a way to apply this wisdom to my own life, but I'm sure it will become clear in no time! Kelly is relatable for the first time so far in the following passage:
When I was accused of being a "bitch" on national television, I was really upset. My response was to find comfort in Mexican food and margaritas for lunch and dinner three days straight.
But we promptly return to form on the next page as she recounts her daily diet of "2 green juices," "a KKBfit lunch," and "a KKBfit dinner." I'd like to take a moment to appreciate how generous it is of Kelly to share her wisdom -- earned through a lifetime of catastrophic missteps -- so freely. It certainly didn’t come without a cost, as the following anecdote illustrates:
On the last day of my juice fast, I took my older daughter to a Yankees game where we gorged on sushi. (Yes, they have sushi at Yankee Stadium) As a result, I was stuffed and blinded by carbs when A-Rod came up to bat and hit a home run. Was I able to savor that A-Rod moment with my daughter? Absolutely not. I was in a food coma. Will I ever let myself be thrown into a food frenzy again? No! Lesson learned: I made another stupid food choice, and because of that choice I missed that home run moment with my daughter. From now on, when I go to a Yankees game I'll have a small hot dog instead….I want you to do the same.
Verily! Heed her words of wisdom, lest ye not also lose the precious chance for thine own A-Rod moment. But don’t think this caution means that you have to get caught up in the minutia of your day-to-day. On the contrary, appropriate planning means "you can stop obsessing about your carrot intake and concentrate on what it is that's going to make you a great person in life." To help illustrate this point, Kelly introduces us to the "Kelly pie."Otherwise known as a pie chart. This is a helpful way to really visualize how much time you'll have now that you can cut that pesky carrot-pondering out of your day! Kelly even offers some thoughtful "hints" to divide your pie:
Celebrate your own health. We take health for granted.
Get up in the morning and say, "I'm so grateful to be where I am and look the way I do," no matter what your size is.
Tell yourself you look HOT, because you do.
Believe in your ability to make good choices today and every day.
Be mindful of what you eat. If I have to be mindful of what I eat, so do you. We're in this together.
Ooh, sorry Brad, I won't be able to make it to this afternoon's meeting -- it actually conflicts with my daily session of believing in my ability to make good choices today and every day. No, I understand how that could seem like an abstract sentiment rather than something that actually takes up time within your daily schedule, but if Kelly has to do it, so do I! And to be honest, my day is packed enough as it is -- it takes at least a second or two for me to tell myself I look HOT (because I do!), and I'm just worried that if I try to squeeze anything else in, it will cut into my mid-morning health celebration. Wish I could help! In a strangely threatening aside, Kelly commands: "Write down what you ate for the last two days. Don't lie. We can start fresh tomorrow, one bite at a time." In a section titled, "What I Eat Every Day," Kelly enumerates her "three go-to breakfasts": "two oranges or a plate of mixed berries if I'm not going to be very active, all-bran cereal or some other high-fiber cereal with almond milk or unsweetened coconut milk if I'm going on a long run, riding, or doing something else that requires extra energy, and on weekends, I love making pancakes to eat with my girls." As should be apparent, this is far more than three breakfasts. I am irrationally angry, in the same way I was when a Bachelor contestant said their favorite food was a charcuterie platter. That's cheating. (And yes, I do strongly identify with my Virgo moon, thanks for asking.) Kelly inexplicably (apologies if I've used that word for the zillionth time already) tells us that "a plastic cup that says 'Forced Family Fun' from www.themonogramshops.com makes the smoothie go down with a giggle." Also, "sitting alone in front of the TV eating ice cream is not hot!" We are then introduced to one of Kelly's more advanced strategies, which she calls "Energy Economics." This means that you might need to eat more on days when you are busy and/or exercising, and less on days when you're relaxing. So many innovative ideas, this book has really packed a punch for its < $5 price tag! Another ingenious idea? "Stuff cabbage, sweet peppers, tomatoes, or even onions with ground meat, chicken or turkey seasoned with salt and pepper. Bake until the meat is cooked through and the vegetable is softened." Granted, I have been a pescatarian for almost a decade at this point. But disemboweling an onion, jamming it full of hamburger meat, and cooking it for some indeterminate amount of time at an unspecified temperature seems…wrong. Circling back to her theory of Energy Economics, Kelly explains,
If I don't eat [well], I'm violating my own laws of energy economics and my body goes either into inflation mode (too much energy when I don't need it) or recession mode (not enough energy in the bank for me to draw from). The key is to create economic equilibrium: eating well so that I feel good, which allows me to be happy.
I am begging someone to start a GoFundMe where we raise money to pay Kelly to explain how the economy works. The next page introduces us to "The KKB 3-Day Supermodel Diet," which is less of a diet and more a random assortment of miscellaneous health-related sentiments that reek of the 2009 pro-ana tumblrsphere:
Chew your food 8 times instead of 3 or 4.
Brush your teeth and chew mint gum as soon as you finished eating. When your mouth is fresh and minty, you'll be less tempted to eat again.
The final tip ("nurture yourself") includes a reminder to "blush your checks [sic]." Which may be a typo, but could also very well just be some strange Kelly saying that no one else has ever used in the history of the English language. On the next page, we're introduced to "Kelly's Food Plate."Which other, less sophisticated people typically refer to as the food pyramid. Kelly also takes a brief aside (in a feature box labeled "hot button issue") to expound upon her favorite delicacy, the humble jelly bean:
If you're a fan of the Real Housewives of New York City you probably remember that on Season 3 I took a lot of flack for eating jelly beans and talking about processed and unprocessed foods. I was actually making light of that food snob moment. Who stops at a gas station and asks for carrots? Did you bring your organic food cooler with you on this road trip? The important part is not to be a food snob; but when in doubt choose the best option. Sometimes it's better to be happy than it is to be right. Was I able to make my point? Clearly it wasn’t in the cards at that moment.
This is a truly stunning synthesis of her experience. Underestimate Kelly at your own peril -- this girl has been playing 4D chess for longer than we know. The chapter continues with some tips from Kelly on how to make the most of your meal planning and shopping experience. And no -- you have no excuses:
There's absolutely no reason why you, wherever you live, can't eat "colorful" foods. All over the country there are "gi-normous" supermarkets where fruit and vegetable aisles are bursting with every color of the rainbow.
I am starting to get a "gi-normous" headache trying to make sense of this chaos. Kelly's advice that we can "mix and match what's there to make a FrenAsian or an ItaloGreek meal" is not helping. We also get some tips for how to grocery shop responsibly:
Always go with a list and never buy more than two items you planned on taking home.
This is incoherent, right? I know I need to wrap up Part 1 of this write-up pretty soon, because I've read this sentence at least two dozen times trying to make some sense of it, and am still at an utter loss. I assume she's left out a negative somewhere, but at this point, I realize I've already thought about this tip for approximately ten times longer than Kelly ever has, so I'll move on. For the third or fourth time so far this book, Kelly segues into a literal grocery list. To be fair, this is a very effective strategy to take up several pages with minimal text. And what could be more compelling than
Shitake/oyster mushroom combination packs
Truly the voice of a generation! Decades from now, English teachers will be teaching their students about a fabled wordsmith who once uttered those eternal words, "shitake/oyster mushroom combination packs." Because this book has absolutely no respect for logical cohesion, we are hurled immediately into a diatribe about how expensive it can be to buy organic -- "I recently walked out of an organic market having paid $400 for just three bags of groceries." As I read on, however, it becomes quickly apparent that Kelly has no idea what the concept of 'organic' even means:
"Organic," in any case, seems like something of a misnomer to me. I know the Food and Drug Administration has regulations for certifying foods organic, but to me, for foods to be truly and totally organic, they would have to be grown in a test tube or a greenhouse with no exposure to the natural elements.
Well, sure Kelly. If that's what you would like to use the word "organic" to mean, be my guest. She tosses us another crumb of helpful guidance, but it only serves to make me feel exceptionally sorry for Kelly's daughters and everything they have to endure:
Plate your food as if it were being served to you in a fine restaurant. Use a fancy foreign accent as you invite everyone to come to the table. Or try saying it in French. My girls love it when I announce, "Le dîner est servi!"
We learn in yet another "HOT tip" that "fast food doesn't have to be fat food," and Kelly tells us for the eighth time that she eats two oranges every morning. In what has already become a recurring theme for me in this book, the following passage makes me desperately curious to know how Kelly thinks science works:
One question people frequently ask me is whether I believe in taking vitamins or supplements, and the answer is "yes, I do," because, even though I know my diet is healthy, I can't be sure that I'm getting all the nutrients I need. All the vitamins and minerals we need can be found naturally in foods, but how do we know, even if we're eating a healthy diet, that we're getting everything we need?
I flip back two pages to confirm that Kelly told us quite recently how important it is to read nutrition labels to know what is in the food we eat (to make sure we avoid foods "whose labels are full of words you can't pronounce"). Exactly how she is reading these nutrition labels yet still manages to have no inkling how anyone could possibly begin to assess their vitamin and mineral intake eludes me. She continues:
I don't want to take that chance. I think of the food I eat as fuel and vitamins as my oil -- my body's engine needs both. Vitamins and supplements are not food replacements, but we're exposed to so many environmental toxins on a daily basis that I believe we need to supplement our diets to counteract all the harm those substances can cause.
I can certainly think of something that is causing harm to my psychological stability at this particular moment, which I should probably take as a sign to wrap things up for today and go read some incredibly dense Victorian prose or something to remind myself what a properly constructed sentence looks like. Promise I won't leave you waiting for long!!
The absolute best meal I ever had in Basic Training was chili mac. It is perfect in every way. If chili mac was on the menu, I would fight people to get into line first. And the absolute best day I had with chili mac was the day we were going through the gas chamber. So we're on the bus with our heads down so we can't scout the area and run off. We've got our gas masks attached to our belts and we all know we're headed to a really bad time. Once we arrive, we find that chow has already been set up and is sitting in mermites waiting for us. We're ordered to drop our gear and get in line for chow. What's on the menu? Friggin chili mac. With my plate loaded, I head over to my bag and sit down and basically inhale the whole meal. Chili mac is delicious. But before I'm able to finish, I hear a Drill Sergeant yell that there's still more chili mac and we need to eat more so we don't waste it. You bet your ass I was back in that line to get my second helping of chili mac. I balanced it out with the lima bean and corn medley they always had and a pear, but the important thing was chili mac. I remember someone said I had the stupidest grin on my face when I sat back down. But what did I care? More chili mac. A few minutes later, another Drill Sergeant calls out that there is still chili mac left and we need to eat it all. No problem, Drill Sergeant. I hop back into the line and get my third helping of the mac. What a wonderful day today was turning into. Another announcement comes that there's still chili mac. I notice that people are in pain from stuffing themselves too much. There's only three or four others getting up for more food. I'm one of them because I have the metabolism of an antelope and will never stop eating chili mac until they run out or I explode. Now the Drill Sergeants are asking for me by name, to see if I want more chili mac. I am the only one still eating. Everyone else is sprawled out in the grass. I don't care, Drill Sergeant says we can't waste it. I am more than happy to get my fifth helping of chili mac. They load my plate up completely. No more lima beans and corn or pears, just chili mac. I wasn't about to complain. A Drill Sergeant asks if I think I'm going to be able to eat all of that. Hell yes I am. I finish my fifth plate, and I tap out. I had eaten my fill. I was disappointed in myself, but five helpings of chili mac would most assuredly be stuck in my system for at least the next decade. I was content. The senior Drill Sergeant asks me one last time if I'm sure I can't eat anymore, which I confirm. So he shouts "Alright. On your feet. Let's go get gassed." Oh. Fuck. Me. I was so happy about the overwhelming quantity of delicious chili mac that I was allowed to shovel into my face, I had forgotten that we still had the gas chamber. This was going to suck. For those that don't know, the gas the Army uses in gas chambers is basically a riot control gas. But to up the ante, the rooms they pop the gas in are painfully small with zero ventilation and blistering hot. They also do a much higher dose than what you're supposed to. Tear gas is supposed to make you burn and cry and run away. The high concentration that you suck down in Basic Training completely clears out your respiratory system. If you were clogged up, you won't be anymore. Snot pours out of your face like a faucet making it tough to breathe, so you suck all that gunk back in and it hits the back of your throat and activates your gag reflex, making you throw up and continue to choke and gag on the stuff. It also clings to your clothes, so if you're in the cloud and run, it's still on you. It enters your pores as sweat blinds you and your face feels like it's on fire and you want to literally scratch your face to the point of tearing away your flesh. You start to sweat more and you pee a little bit because you're scared you're about to die. Then you get shoved out these metal doors where there is ALWAYS a tree planted for you to blindly sprint into, knocking yourself flat on your ass. Gas chambers suck. And I'm filled with chili mac. I'm in a long line of people waiting to go in. Soon, we start seeing people come running out waving their arms around trying to get whatever gas particles off of themselves that they can. Foot-long trails of snot and spit swing from these people's nose and mouth. Their eyes are swollen and red as they attempt to shuffle around and not die. A few of them stop walking an hurl on the ground. Many hit the tree. We all take great pleasure in watching their suffering. A couple of soldiers get pinned with the awful duty of scooping up piles of vomit from the area we were told to walk around in. They're armed with a shovel and a wheelbarrow. When the wind hits just right, we can smell it all. I can taste my chili mac again. It's still good. As I get closer to the chamber, I stop laughing at people as they come out. It's not funny anymore. The wheelbarrow has been emptied twice by the time I get to the front of the line. I see the Drill Sergeants pointing at me and gathering around outside the exit. I was set up. The Drill Sergeants weren't being nice, they were setting me up to be a chili mac and snot volcano. And I'm the idiot who couldn't see the truth. Inside the chamber is hot, sticky, and burns. Even with no gas capsules burning, I can still feel my skin searing. The only thing keeping me safe is the gas mask on my face. We all get lined up against the wall. We're told that when instructed, we are to remove our masks and wait. Then we will be ordered to give our name, rank, serial number, and recite the Soldier's Creed. This is another trick. It's to get us to breathe. I'm onto their games. They light up the gas and the masks come off. My face feels like I stuck it in a fire. I tightly close my eyes and hold my breath. It's too late, my eyes are already watering from a sweat and gas mixture that snuck in and I want to wipe my eyes so badly, but if I do, I'm only going to make it worse. I whimper in pain. I'm not the only one who does. A soldier is told to give his information. He makes it to his rank before he starts to hack and suffocate from the gas that has just entered his lungs. I can't see him, but I can feel his pain. He tries again, but can't remember his name. I can't remember mine either. Second soldier makes it to the Soldier's Creed but can't finish it. They gag. It sounded wet. Someone else gags. It's finally my turn. I get my information, but can't recite the creed. My lungs are on fire. I want to cut my head off to stop the pain. I've never sweat so much in my entire life. My hands and legs are shaking and I can barely see. I'm definitely crying because of the pain, the gas, and I missed my mommy. I can feel liquid oozing out of my nose. I don't care. It tastes horrible. Nothing like the chili mac. We're finally told to exit. I feel people pushing me from behind trying to get me to go faster. If we trip, we're in trouble. I feel the soldier in front of me moving and I attempt to follow as best as I can. I see the light, I'm almost out of that hell. My shoulder catches one of the metal doors and almost spins me around. It hurts, but not as much as my face does when it finds the tree. More liquid from my nose. Maybe blood now? I don't care. The fresh air feels incredible. I can open my eyes. I see hundreds of people staring at me, waiting. I hear the wheelbarrow following me. I start waving my arms around trying to get the gas off of me. I blow my nose and spit gunk out of my mouth. But not one single bit of chili mac. I have never seen a more disappointed group of people. I don't blame them. I would have expected a show too, but not today. Not me. They all tricked me, but they also underestimated my love for chili mac.
My misery can now be your gain - Quick tips from my options trading
Hi Fellow Autists, I've been trading options (badly) for a few months now and figured I'd put down some of the things I've learned. I've lost a lot of damn money because I didn't know enough but now I've managed to find some stuff that have helped me stop losing money.
Indicators - I thought I could just fly the market by my "gut" feelings and win. This... is... BULLSHIT. Math is > than your stupid feelings / gut. Get over yourself and your feelings and start using the math that has decades of work behind it. They've already done all the hard work you just have to turn them on and learn what they mean. The biggest indicators I've found that help me are:
MACD - This is your best damn friend on determining Up / Down swings in a stock. Use this across different charts (1 min, 5 min, 10 min etc) to see which direction a stock is moving. See more here: https://school.stockcharts.com/doku.php?id=technical_indicators:moving_average_convergence_divergence_macd tl;dr - If the 2 lines cross that means the stock is shifting direction in the time interval you have selected. (Do NOT just depend on the 1 min chart unless you're day trading) Bollinger Bands - This will overlay a "blob" over your chart that shows a moving "Resistance / Support" window for the stock. If a candle on the chart pops out of the bubble in a direction that may indicate the stock will move in that direction. There are a number of different known "patterns" for the BB that you can watch for that can signal a specific shift in the stock. See more here: https://school.stockcharts.com/doku.php?id=technical_indicators:bollinger_bands Quick BB Patterns chart - https://i.redd.it/u7pxhg28lszy.png RSI - Here if a stock is ~70 and the end of the chart is pointing down the stock should start heading down. If it is at ~30 and the end of the chart starts pointing up the stock should start heading up. Use all of these together to help determine up / down trends
200%+ Gainz GTFO - I know this is going to be a hard one for most of the people on this board and you may be able to get more out of something if you are using the aforementioned indicators above and do not see an upswing / downswing in any of them. In any other case or a change in direction is indicated GET THE FUCK OUT NOW YOU DUMB ASS SELL SELL SELLLLLLL. There have been a number of times where I was up 250% on an option and didn't sell because "THERE IS MORE TO GO". There is (usually) only so far up / down a stock price can go in a day. So if you get to those kinds of gains either sell part of your lot to lock in some of the gains or sell them all. No matter what FUCKING SELL SOME OF THEM so when the rest crashes into the dirt you can at least buy yourself some tissues with the profits you made selling 1 of your 100 (now worthless) options.
DO NOT FIGHT THE TREND - This was another really difficult item for me as (mentally) I've been a hardcore 🌈 🐻since the whole virus thing started. Why? Because it makes sense, logically speaking since the whole country is seemingly burning down around us, but as we all know with JPOW and his damn printer the market makes NO FUCKING SENSE. The sooner you learn this the sooner you'll start making money and stop cursing the shitty FED and their shitty money printer. If the market is moving in a direction GO WITH IT. Use the indicators above to help determine direction. If you keep fighting in the opposite direction you're just going to get broke.
HEDGE YOUR BETS - I think this is definitely the hardest for most folks on here to grasp but you should learn it and learn it well as this is the best way to save your ass from massive losses. This involves different options strategies like Spreads (Verticals), Condors etc. If you are selling options you NEED a credit spread to protect yourself from huge jumps in the wrong direction. (Once again fuck you TWLO) If you are buying options you can do a debit spread to lower the cost of the options you are buying.
DO NOT BREAK Credit Spreads / Verticals - This is where I learned shit the hard way. If you are doing credit spreads DO NOT EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER (Did I mention ever?) BREAK THE FUCKING SPREAD. I don't give a shit what kind of voodoo magic bullshit you have conjured up in your head to give you a reason to sell one leg of the spread DO NOT FUCKING DO IT. The second half of a credit spread is there to protect you from miserable shitty soul ending losses. It also limits the margin requirements needed to sell / buy the spread. So if you break the spread you open yourself up to massive losses and instantly much higher margin requirements.
tl;dr - DO NOT FUCKING BREAK THE SPREAD!
Avoid buying options on Friday - This mainly depends on the expiration date of the options you are buying but this is WSB so no one is buying long dated options right? You have two days to lose option value. No matter what you have 2 days of no trading where your option price will decay. Two days for bad / good news to impact your option prices. This can be good or bad, but still adds a large window to lose money if it swings the opposite direction.
Daytrading - If you still have your 3 free day trades or are lucky enough to be flagged as a PDT (Pattern Day Trader) I have found that the most volatility in a stock occurs in the first few hours of open. What I mean by this is that the stock should have it's highest swing high or low within those few hours. In other words, if you buy in, in the direction the stock is going at open you should get out within those first few hours as that is where you will make the most money and have the lowest chance of loss. The rest of the day doesn't seem to move nearly as much (albeit with some variations due to big news alerts etc).
Prices only move so much up / down in a day - This links up (more) with DayTrading but still applies to everything else. Like most of the people in WSB I started off super fucking greedy and kept expecting my option buys to shoot to the moon for 100001234123% gainz. This of course never materialized because this is the real fucking world where that doesn't happen every day on every stock. Generally speaking this applies 99.9999% of the time. The only time this doesn't apply is when soul crushing news happens that murders a stocks price or sends it to the moon (Fuck you TWLO, you know what you did). So if you made a shit load on an option sell that shit!.
tl;dr - Price only moves so much in a day, get gains GTFO.
Fed Repo Schedule - One last item that I found recently is the Repo schedule for the Fed. Whatever you do, do not be a 🌈 🐻 on the week when the fed has a double repo (Overnight and daytime repo). I've gotten hit in the nuts two different times because I didn't know the schedule. The next schedule releases on 7/13. So once it goes live you'll know what days / weeks to avoid. See here:
And they are off… --- Wiki --- Commander War’thog woke up to the blare of his communicator. He had overseen the Spee’day Blockade since its inception, and he was expecting this call. He just didn’t expect it to be so early. Why do I have to get the junior intelligence officer every time? I swear they find someone greener every year to handle this. He thought as he opened his communicator to find young Torg staring back at him. Checking the time, he transferred the conversation to his implants as he gave up any hope of more sleep and proceeded to get up. He couldn’t even get excited about this anymore. The craziness had become the status quo years ago. He already knew how it would play out. As the intelligence officer chattered on about the status of the human fleet his ‘enemy’ were assembling, the realization began to set in with the Commander, I forgot to brief the new crew members… guess there will be a lot of questions today. Eager little bastard too, the humans won’t be here for at least another four to five hours.He really must be new. He thought as he listened to the excited intelligence agent brief him. He had it on his time-keeper already, the humans didn’t even try to keep it secret when they would be showing. His government insisted on keeping the blockade until colonists of the local human colony respected it. Something he had realized early on would never happen. As he finished taking care of his morning routine, he found himself staring at his reflection as he listened to the intelligence agent droned on with the latest status. He found himself chuckling, Those damn Humans are lining up to do it again, and only intelligence is surprised. Never thought I’d respect those crazy creatures, but they at least know how to keep a blockade exciting. This would be so much easier if they would just station an Intelligence agent here, but they were never where the action was. “Thank you, Agent. Your information has served the republic well,” he replied attempting to cut the agent off. “But commander, I haven’t even given you the analysis of the Human fleet!” the young Agent exclaimed. The panicked look in his eyes almost made the Commander laugh. Well, don’t have anything better to do for a few hours, he thought as he said, “My apologies. Please continue.” Intelligence was giving him a feed of a human fleet forming up. “This month it appears an even larger fleet will be coming at you! The first wave should already be arriving,” the Agent exclaimed as the field of ships appeared. The first images were of the space tugs he knew would soon flood the region to line up by the asteroid belt. The next was a loose collection of ships milling around Hazzard. It’s been ten years, and these crazy bastards are still coming. This blockade hasn’t moved, yet they keep coming… I almost long for the old days when it was only a couple at a time max, he thought as he surveyed the fleet. “Yeah, that’s a lot of space tugs,” he replied as he looked at the fleet being shown to him while mentally chuckling, And they still don’t have two that look alike. Guess the vendors I licensed to sell human food and drink will make enough to pay for this misadventure. "Commander, there is no historical precedence for this situation. Every month they show up and run your blockade. How can you be so calm?” The Agent asked, pulling him from his thoughts. “Well, probably because they do this every month, and they never trigger our Rules of Engagement, so we are helpless to do anything but chase and watch,” He replied. He had long since come to realize the humans enjoyed this. I wonder what the humans tell their pilots to get them to do this. The Commander thought as he headed towards the bridge. He knew he had about 30 minutes until all hell would break loose. --- Marco had grabbed a cup of coffee as he got on the shuttle to the hangar. He was still chuckling as he looked down at the cup to see the horrendous spelling of his name. ‘Macro’ emblazoned on his coffee, he watched the video coverage of Race 98 of the Spee’day Blockade. The Space Winnebago’s were already lining up in the system along the asteroid belt. He never ceased to be amazed that the Torg Republic’s military still maintained the blockade just so they could race it. It had been a real boon for Hazzard’s economy having the founding of the Association for Stock Shuttle Extreme Racing (ASSER). He has to smile as the pre-race coverage was showing all the new racers this month. They had finally decided to double the number of races due to the overwhelming demand. His agent had told him the night prior that this 98th race was posed to have the highest ratings in history and he was excited to see who his newest sponsor was. His agent and crew chief had been excited yet wouldn’t tell him a thing. --- “Captain Bos’sog, what’s the status on blockade?” the Commander asked, already knowing the answer. “Everyone is in position. We are monitoring the feed. It looks like the humans doubled the number from last month,” the Captain replied making the Commander snort. Why does everyone feel the need to tell me the obvious… “Any response from the human ambassadors? ” He asked. Last I heard, our ambassador was complaining the humans were a paradox. The blockade had improved our relations with the crazy bastards. Bet no one saw that coming. The Commander couldn’t help but reflect this had all started when a trade war with the Inori empire had flared up. What had started as a trade dispute between their republic and the Inori empire hadn’t seemed odd at first. Standard blockade procedures, all following standard rules of engagement from the Galactic Council. Blockades couldn’t engage unless the enemy discharged weapon systems, powered up a warp drive, or came within the command ship’s designated standoff. So long none of those conditions were met, all they could do is monitor and archive the events. There wasn’t a single Inorie ship that approached their blockade during that two-year conflict. The first humans, however, hadn’t waited a month before showing up. They never break the rules, but damned if they didn’t find a hell of a loophole. You would have to be insane to travel like that. He chuckled as he came onto the bridge. --- Marco was getting ready, soon he would have to join the line-up. The bullet is looking good today, he thought as he surveyed his ship in the hangar. His sponsor’s logos were emblazoned on the sides of his ship. He was smiling when he spotted his crew-chief, “Hey Eddie, what do you have for me?” “Hey Marco, didn’t see you come in. Got my hands on one of those new HS-Drives! I think you are going to like this. Also, we cut another 80 lbs off the weight of her, so your power to mass ratio is even better!” Eddie replied, almost giddy with excitement. “How in the hell did you get a Holy Shit drive, much less cram it in there? I didn’t think the HS drive would be out for another two years minimum?” Even as Marco asked the question, he felt a mixture of excitement and fear. The first time with the new engine and he was doing the Spee’day run, it was stupid… but exciting. “Well, remember the weight reduction? We had to remove a few things and we were able to get new composites from the creepy spider guys, so before you ask, it's sturdy. Also, it's a Holton Stokes Drive in case you are asked. I cut a deal that you would give them feedback and advertising rights if you survive.” Eddie replied as he had already turned back to working on the ship. Marco couldn’t help but smile, ever since the Spee’day Blockade was emplaced, it had propelled Hazzard’s shipbuilding industry. The independent colony’s shipbuilders were famous across the galaxy for making the fastest ships. --- The nearby human settlement had ended up trapped by their blockade. Hard to believe that unclaimed human settlement has grown so much under an embargo. Course if we could actually stop their ships it would mean more, the Commander thought for not the first time. When he had initially seen the settlement, it didn’t even have any docks. The crazy humans were landing, to use the term loosely, on the planet. “Sir, all the ambassadors responded… they are eagerly watching,” his executive officer stated. Both had to chuckle, it was a standard response. “Oh, and Yuri said he hopes our ships have gotten faster. He is sending you another bottle of their ‘Vodka’ as a consolation.” Another problem with dealing with these crazy critters, the Commander thought as he couldn’t help but smile. No other race has so many ambassadors. Humanity had been shown to be united when facing an outside threat. They still were more than happy to fight each other without it. I am glad we didn’t know that when we first met them. Yet, despite all the ambassadors, somehow none are ever responsible for the ‘responsible party’. We have been trying to get one of them to claim this colony since this started. They all insist it isn’t theirs. He couldn’t help but remember the meeting they had eight years ago. The human ambassador they had approached was from the group called American. He had laughed their delegation out of his office after he understood what was happening. He had said, ‘If you want to chase moonshiners, don’t ask us for help!’ His intelligence officers had taken months to understand that one. It turned out the hazardous chemicals, or booze was a recreational drink for humans. Apparently, the American’s tried to prohibit the consumption of these which lead to their citizens developing cars to outrun their law enforcement. At the time, it had been confusing why the humans didn’t understand a blockade. But he had gained an appreciation of their love for this drink. This response had come after his delegation informed the American Ambassador that they had been chasing ships from this colony full of hazardous chemicals. It was still a significant turning point. After that, interest among the humans exploded. Following that meeting, the human pilots quit carrying booze, or much else not required to go faster. That’s when the ships really started to get crazy fast. The initial blockade runners were designed for speed and hauling capacity. They were rough-looking but easily underestimated. No one had even seriously considered faster than light travel before those ships had shown up. While many of the new ships paid some level of homage to them, they were now brightly colored and covered in sponsor logos. “Yeah, I didn’t think they would claim these nuts. They never had before and I am not even sure if the humans know whose colony this is anymore,” he replied. He couldn’t even get upset. He had gotten past that years ago. He almost wished his leadership could see the futility of this station, that was until he heard from his peers about some of their crappy assignments. The worst part of this job was when his men had to scrape the remains of a human ship off one of the asteroids. As the Commander walked towards his command deck in the station, he could hear the excitement everywhere. His crew knew what was coming and was excited, it kept the blockade interesting. A few years prior, those assigned to the station had taken to watching the spectacle from any possible view screen. He shook his head while thinking, They are gambling on the outcome, yet another unusual human quirk… I wonder what the odds are and if maintenance got my bets in? The command would have my ass if they knew I was in on the betting. The Commander was still shaking his head as he entered the deck to see the human fleet on the large screen feed. “Gentlemen, how is the ugliest fleet in the galaxy progressing?” he asked no one in particular as he got to his command chair on the deck. He knew his executive officer would be preparing the Gerzit wing for today’s mission. He rotated the responsible wings but realized today he would need to deploy the Albo wing as well. “Captain Bos’sog, given the size of this month's fleet, do you have enough ships?” “I already pulled Albo, figured it was what you would want,” the Captain replied. He is going to be a damned good Commander someday. The Commander found himself smiling. “Good, tell all the pilots that if any of them can pass their target, they’ll get shore leave.” The Commander replied with a chuckle. I remember the panic the humans caused the first few times they did this. Hard to believe it’s been so long. As the Commander looked at the command screen, he could see that the utility drones had almost finished illuminating the asteroid belt. It was a safety precaution they had taken in an attempt to reduce casualties. While humans died all the time, it didn’t seem to deter them from showing up. But he hated explaining to command why humans were dying at his blockade. Why is 'hit rock' so hard to explain? He briefly wondered. “Commander, why are they doing this?” broke into his thoughts as a new comms ensign spoke up. He was part of the shipment of green soldiers he had gotten yesterday. Looking around, he could see similar questions on the face of all his new soldiers. I guess this hasn't made it into all the training manuals yet, he mused. The whole galaxy used Warp drives to safely pop into existence near the network of buoys. Only humans were insane enough to travel at speeds faster than light. While it initially caused a lot of excitement, the more the learned about it the more it became apparently only humans would too. The idea of flying faster than you can see pushes the definition of sapient. “Because command says we have to maintain the blockade,” he replied. I know that isn’t what he is after, I’ve been around the humans too long. They are such a contrarian species. “Yes, Commander, I understand that. I mean, why are the humans doing this?” The Ensign asked, a little flustered over his response but trying to remain respectful. “Ah, yes… Why would humans do something as crazy and reckless as running a military blockade regularly? I don’t know if our best philosophers or xeno-psychologist could answer that question. If you asked a human, I suspect they would say because it was... ‘fun’.” He replied with a chuckle. Looking up at the screen, he could see a field of ships. Most of which looked like they were built in a sapient’s garage from scrap. He knew better than to judge based on the looks alone. These were likely the fastest ships in known space. He had learned that early on when actually trying to chase them. Ten years ago, we could almost keep up. Now I am convinced the humans just want the footage from our ships. He mused how the humans had been purchasing their coverage and broadcasting it for several years. It was humiliating yet profitable. In a couple more years his retirement fund would allow for a new shuttle too. “Sir… Why do they broadcast it all?” The Ensign asked, breaking into the Commander's thoughts. The ships were lining up in their starting formation now. “I asked that once, the answer was entertainment. And yes, I know several humans die every year doing it. Be glad we aren’t fighting them. They don’t seem to care.” The Commander enjoyed the look of shock on the young Ensign’s face, He looked up in time to hear the announcer yell over the blaring music, “GENTLEMEN, Start your engines!” This proceeded the starting light turning green by seconds. With that, the human ships disappeared in a streak of color smeared across the screens. He yet again marveled at a race of beings smart enough to understand the laws of physics yet stupid enough to break them. No one in the entire known universe pursued faster than light travel once they realized the navigational challenges mixed with those kinds of speeds. Only humans are crazy enough to think it was a good idea when warp drives were readily available. He thought as he watched the coverage shift to ‘Cockpit mode’ seeing the blur of a universe running backward. Course, if they had used warp, we would have shot at them years ago. Instead, they zip into the system and run through the damn asteroid belt. “What… I don’t see any warp signatures?” The Ensign started to say but was drowned by the chuckles the rest of the soldiers on the bridge had. “Your equipment is fine, they didn’t warp. They use Faster than Light travel. They will be here in about 45 seconds.” The commander responded while thinking, No matter how many times I see them take off, it never ceases to impress me. With that, the Commander opened a comm channel to Captain Bos’sog, “They are off, should arrive any second. We ready?” “Roger that Commander. Already got our – Oh SHIT!” the Captain barely had time to respond as the first ship smeared into existence, already almost in the nearby asteroid belt. “Everything ok Captain?” The commander asked as he watched five of his ships bolt from their line in pursuit of the first humans. Not even fractions of a second behind the first to smear into existence more of the human fleet’s visual image caught up to their rapidly decelerating ships. It was time to run the asteroid belt. His ships just shadowed their targets, they had long since learned to not even try the asteroid field. --- Marco watched the world smearing into something he could visually process around him. For the first time since the start of the race losing his smile, as even the inertial dampeners couldn’t make that sudden deceleration before the asteroid field comfortable. He looked down, at the marker he had been almost a half a second ahead of the next closest racer, Holy Shit drive is right! This damn thing is fast! Even before he could clearly see outside of the ship, he was making adjustments based on his instruments to get a good run on the belt. He knew with his lead it would post a good time. How can any race think Warp Drive is better than this! --- “Yes, Commander. They are early and surprised me is all,” The Captain replied as the commander watched each of his fighters pair off with the arriving ships. “Ah, the fun is beginning. Didn’t think they would ever break that 45-second barrier though. Guess human delivery tugs are about to get one hell of an upgrade,” the commander chuckled as he watched the stream of human ships heading into the asteroid belt. His ships would shadow them as they ran the asteroid belt. Even his pilots were not crazy enough to make the run through them. They had seen enough humans killed in there and early on lost enough ships they weren’t about to follow them in. The commander tried not to laugh as he watched the flustered Ensign trying to figure out what was going on. He was sputtering like an engine running out of anti-matter. “What… how… these ships… How do they go so fast!” the Ensign finally managed to choke out. His shock was clearly painted on his face. It was painfully obvious that the training still only focused on warp drives, it was the first time he had seen Human FTL drives. “There are two things I have found that humans love,” the commander paused in his reply as he watched one of the human ships crashed through a small asteroid, emerging from the other side of a cloud of new debris. “Danger and speed. I have been told by some of my peers they might like fire-power more, but luckily the ones here are unarmed.” The commander watched without bothering to conceal his amusement as most of his new crew began to wander to the screen to watch the racers streaking through the asteroid belt. On some level, as he watched the spectacle, he was thankful he had never opened fire on these insane space monkeys. --- A/N: A special thanks to u/ATKO and u/Redarcs for their feedback and beta reads. This story was in danger of the dustbin without their help. For anyone unaware, Nascar was part of the inspiration for this story. It had its origins in prohibition, many of the ‘stock’ cars were heavily modified daily cars bootleggers used to get around the cops. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASCAR As always, I hope you enjoy and look forward to your comments.
So if you wish to wager on the Giants in this game, you'd be giving up or "laying" three points with them. This means they would have to win by four or more in order to cover the spread and make your wager a winner. Those who wish to support the Cowboys are betting on the underdog, and thus "taking" the points. Their tickets would read: Cowboys +3. A point spread in sports is a way for oddsmakers to make a matchup between two unbalanced teams more balanced by giving points to or taking points away from each team. The favorite in a matchup, indicated by a minus (-) sign, will have a given number of points taken away from its final score, while the underdog , known by its plus (+) sign The Chiefs need to win by two or more points to cover the spread. Likewise, the 49ers need to win the game or lose by less than two points to cover the spread. If the spread moves to Chiefs -1 and Kansas City wins by exactly one point, the betting result is a “push” and bettors for both sides get their wager refunded. Point spread betting odds Handicap betting is common practice in points-based sports like football, rugby, basketball, and tennis, but is also frequently used in racing events, particularly horse racing. - Betting on both sides of an event to keep losses at a minimum or guarantee a bare minimum amount of winnings. Considered to be a safe betting strategy that sacrifices maximum winnings for protection from losses. Hook - When half a point is added to football or basketball betting through gamblers buying points.
Learning R in R Studio: Predicting Baseball Winning Percentages
Tim Bennett explains what spread betting is and how a spread bet works. Don't miss out on Tim Bennett's video tutorials -- get the latest video sent straight to your inbox each week, before it's ... So in this example if the majority of the money is bet on team A then the line in the game should move up to team A being 5.5-6 point favorites. However, the smart money is being placed on team B ... How Much Do Small Twitch Streamers Make? Real Earned Revenue Shown! // App Store Secrets - Duration: 19:45. The Rum Ham - Clash Royale & Brawl Stars 887,161 views Using Bill James' Pythagorean Win Expectation formula to predict winning percentages of MLB teams. Split Sixes Definition: Split Sixes (sometimes called English) is a golf format or betting game for a group of three golfers. On each hole of the round, six points are at stake, and the three ...