I earn a great living solely off Sports Betting in a

This game's sleazy monetization is trying to toy with your brain. Don't fall prey to it.

I get the game is F2P, and I understand they have to make money. At first, I was pretty disappointed about bundle prices because I believed (and still do) that they were too high. I get their tactic here, it's to target the wealthy, and hopefully, down the line, small fries like the major player base will get a fair deal. It isn't only the bundles which target the wealthy, however. To preface this, I will say also that no western, successful F2P game has pay-to-win.
This game has the sleaziest monetization of any F2P I've ever played. I thought it would get better over time, but my hope has dwindled after Joe Lee's (RiotSWAGGERNAU7) statement regarding the battle-pass in Ask VALORANT #1. I would also like to say that managing monetization is this man's job. If you're going to get mad at anyone, get mad at the greedy guys at the top, not at him or the revenue team.
No VP in the battle-pass. Interesting strategy. Here is what he had to say.
Our goal is that when you buy a battle pass, you buy it for the total value of it rather than buying it as a way of getting enough currency to buy the next one. We want the battle pass to be the highest value product we offer as well as a compelling experience...
This statement seems pretty genuine, but when you actually view the battle-pass beyond its face value, what they have done is pretty manipulative, and such manipulation is further demonstrated in the second half of his statement (which I'll cover after).
Here is an image of VP and RP prices (I am in Australia, so prices will be different and the VP in each may be different, but the manipulation is a constant).
Radianite points (RP) is the second of two paid currencies, I'll call it semi-premium because of their absolutely insulting prices, but I would also like to say you can earn a considerable amount in-game (that however, does not detract from its egregiousness). You have to buy VP first, and of course, they made it so you can't buy exact amounts, you've gotta use the packs. They also put these little "-x%" next to each tier of RP because oh boy, if it wasn't a steal already it's gotta be a steal now. /s It is insulting. 10 RP goes from around $10AUD to $15AUD, so you're pretty much best case scenario paying 10 bucks for an upgrade for a skin you've already bought (the upgradeable skins on their own btw, are $30AUD). Explained succinctly and pretty much perfectly by u/schemeKC, "Radianite is priced astronomically high to artificially inflate its perceived value". That's where Mr. Lee's statement comes in.
Mr. Lee wants you to buy the battle-pass for "its total value". And jeez, the battle-pass must be good because of all that juicy Radianite which boosts its perceived value a fuckton. So after you finish the BP, you've got a nice amount of skins (none of which can be upgraded with RP). You've got this pile of RP leftover and it is just staring at you. The only way to use that RP though, is to spend even more money. Other F2P games give you premium currency for BPs months on end for free, and this game strips that away so you could be spending $10 every act, then coerces you to spend even more because of the RP you've been given. The way this statement was delivered to try and convince you that you were getting a good deal, now shows that this isn't something under the rug (to be felt not seen), it has been said by a real person. Any goodwill has been thrown out the window, and the player's intellect has been insulted. I hope that wasn't his intention, but that is exactly how it came across imo.
VP can only be bought in really inconveniencing amounts, a tactic mostly used in mobile games but hey, it's 2020. Small indie dev needs to survive right? /s It is annoying for every player, and these tiers are worse than any F2P game I've ever played.
If I wanted to buy 20 RP, I'd need to buy the 2175 VP pack and that would roughly equate to $15AUD per 10 RP. You can only use RP on paid skins (there are barely any free skins anyway). But let's say I want to buy the big boy 80 RP pack, ooh what value and it's 40% off! I would need to buy the 5800 VP pack for $80AUD and that would be around $10AUD per 10 RP if I were only buying RP. I need to buy another bundle to get an upgradeable skin, that sucks! I'll get the 1025 VP pack for $15 so I can buy a prime classic. That's $95AUD you've paid to get and upgrade a single skin (I'm not counting the RP you get for free for the purposes of demonstrating the confusion they have imbued within this model).
This is a small demonstration of obfuscation. The system is designed to make you pay more and more and more until... oh. I still have some VP left, and I can get another skin! Let me pay just this little bit more. I think my bank balance might be negative. A single prime skin without any of its variants is at least $30AUD unless you buy the big boy bundles, but then you've obviously spent more than 30 bucks. It is designed to confuse the player into purchasing the highest value pack so they don't have to think, and if I'm being honest I haven't seen mobile games this cunning. This is malicious, and kind of impressive in a super fucked up way.
The second half of his statement talks about the future of Radianite, and again, further attempts to display that "it's a great deal!" The revenue team wants RP to be "the evolving currency of VALORANT". They want this overpriced, huge pile of inflated pixels to be the next big thing. The RP you got for free can't be used for free, and honestly with the way this monetization is panning out I don't expect it ever to be used as such (despite what's said in the next few sentences, we've seen in the past a number of popular suggestions being thrown to the wind).
An auto-renewable battle-pass in any game is designed to respect the player's time. If I see a game I love with an auto-renewable pass, actively rewarding me for spending time with the game after a one time purchase, you'd better bet your top dollar I will spend more. This system does not respect your time, it constantly probes you to spend more and more. Riot obviously didn't design this system with morals in mind, and there are certainly way more subtle additions that I didn't catch.
So pretty much, this package has overpriced bundles and skins, psychologically manipulative RP, layers of obfuscation for all monetization - but hey, it's F2P! People who pay, they're suckers. Let their wealth be sapped for trying to support the devs. obligatory /s
For a developer that has such strong ties to its community, these sort of manipulative business practices sour our perception. Even EA, after the Battlefront 2 fiasco completely removed loot-boxes and to a further extent, even microtransactions from everything but their sports games and AL. They tried to improve their reputation by investing in more indie devs and actually supporting them. Riot has done nothing.
I know this post won't make them change their system. We have seen that they closed the door to the battle-pass changing after huge community outcry, and haven't at all changed the scummy Radianite, in fact, they've stated they are going to double down. But if we double down on our critique of the system we can be sure they will at least discuss it down the line. Your voice matters, probably not as much as your wallet though haha. Safeguard that shit from exploitation.
If and when you decide to purchase something here, a good question would probably be whether this company actually respects your purchasing decision. As it stands, my feet are firmly glued to the "no" side of the fence.
tl;dr - the game uses shady microtransaction design to confuse and fool players, then asks them to spend more money after stripping away common features of an established battle-pass model, completely failing to respect/reward their consumers' money/time.
submitted by IllumiMahdi to VALORANT [link] [comments]

35 Whimsical and Fantastical Taverns and Inns For Your Table

35 Whimsical and Fun Taverns, Bars and Inns For Your Table

EDIT: An excellent official-looking edit has been created by the talented u/natesroomrule. You can find their copy here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_xtqOtSbnULTjo81l0aYhQj7NdmWWi2p/view
A few years ago, I drafted a d100-based table for a variety of interesting and fantasy-themed taverns for my group. While that session ended up falling apart, I completely forgot about the table I created until recently.
Behold! Below, find a variety of silly, interesting high fantasy tavern ideas you can use to populate your worlds to make everything feel a little more fantastic and flavourful.
Note that some taverns assume a particular location or setting, but feel free to re-roll or adjust as need be.
Dropbox Link (.docx format): https://www.dropbox.com/s/ena4hwp0o82qzws/Fantasy%20Inns%20and%20Taverns%20Table%20by%20Tr1lobyte.docx?dl=0

The Table

# Name Description
1-3 The Dancing Imp Once a bar of ill repute, where shady deals and even devil worship took place. The legend goes that once a cunning bard called a devil, tricking him by destroying his sigil and cursing the imp to dance until it perished from exhaustion. Nowadays, it goes that demons have never since been found into the bar due to this old superstition. While the truth of this tale is often in dispute, the bar runs a marathon dancing contest on the first Saturday of every month with the winner taking a "devil's share" of alcohol in winnings.
4-6 The Drunken Unicorn Legends tell that, a long time ago, a unicorn made itself an unwitting patron of this bar. Drinking from a leaky cask of wine set out at the establishment's back door, it had that night crashed through a wall, caused an atrocious ruckus, and ran off after scaring all the patrons. Families whose ancestors were in the bar at the time of the event consider it a badge of fortune, and continue to drink there loyally to this day.
7-9 The Giant’s Foot A dirty bar full of lowlifes and criminals, commonly used for dealings between races such as orcs, goblins and yes, giants. While it's a hive of scum and villainy, where crimes between patrons are met with an uninterested shrug, those who mess with anything within the bar such as stealing glasses are swiftly met with a guard who nails them by the feet upside-down to the wall to rot, until their ankles break off and only their crucified feet remain.
10-12 The Dragon’s Head The giant skeletal head of a dragon hangs over the bar, a trophy of its retired dwarf owner from his years as an accomplished adventurer. The head is enchanted to breathe mists of pipe smoke when given an offering of alcohol.
13-15 The Living Ivy The building, it high roof taller than it is wide a relic of the building's former status as a church, casts a beautiful spotlight across the empty floor. Long thick vines, once a Shambling Mound, crawl up the walls, growing back so fast they're almost impossible to remove. During spring, pilgrims come from far away to witness the vines release magical glowing spores, which it is believed (falsely) are able to cure all manner of ills and ailments.
16-18 The Hungry Beaver Located at the bottom of a valley in a flood-prone region, the bar is set up on long, thick stilts to keep it from getting wet during heavy rains. A set of stairs, often responsible for the broken bones and chipped teeth of drunks leaving in the early dark hours of the morning, lead up to its doors. The tavern has a special local brew, called "Beaver Honey", which is made using this water and the sap from a nearby species of tree to give it a sweet flavour.
19-21 the Backwards Inn A tavern inherited by no-nonsense elvish managers who doggedly insist that the inn is sensibly called "Traveller's Rest". Locals have a tradition of reversing the lettering on all the signs advertising its presence overnight, always insistently crediting it to an ancient curse bestowed on the inn by an angry wizard long ago, or to an ancient tribe of mischievous pixies who consider it one of their greatest cultural customs.
22-24 The Twin Golems At the entrance to the tavern two huge clay golems stand, lifeless, their longswords crossed above the door frame. When commanded, such as during a raid or crime, the bartender can tell them a secret command word which activates their defensive procedure, blocking anyone from entering or leaving the building with force if necessary. The golems have been repurposed here, having been once automated labourers in a mine, but have no personality and are comatose until commanded.
25-27 The Laughing Gnome A small tavern with ceilings and objects designed for those of halfling or gnomish size, but they take all visitors. Their prized gnomish ale is famous, and the manager and owner, a portly gnome named Ferrowin Gladis, never tires of large human men attempting to squeeze their way through its tiny doors for a drink. There's also a variety of budget rooms for the shorter adventurer underneath the building, which for their price offer an unparalleled quality.
28-30 The Filthy Priest Once located near a church, this dive is notorious for its association with illegal trades being right next to the city’s skid rows. However, any Detect Good and Evil inside the bar only detects good. Its previous location next to a church and the scandals that it had involved with its residents resulted in the name change and move to the new building in the slums about a decade ago, a small statuette of a god providing the blessing on the building that had been stolen from that very religious establishment.
31-33 The Portly Frog A large, open room with a circular fountain and one particular statue of a giant, fat frog at the centre. Rumours say that the frog was a magically cursed prince petrified by a Medusa, though it is impossible to determine its validity. A small quartet of bards can usually be found in the corner, singing beautiful songs and busking for money. Those who cause trouble in the bar quickly find that this band of high-level Bards are also the security of the establishment.
34-36 The Rotten Pumpkin Located in the city where the annual "World's Largest Pumpkin" takes place, the winning pumpkin every year is traditionally placed at the front of the building until it rots, after which children often rip chunks off and have food fights outside. While this festival only occurs once per year, the pumpkin-based beverages and meals are available all year round.
37-39 The Paladin’s Oath A classy establishment for paladins of all sorts, all Evil cowers when entering its premises. Those of any Good or Lawful faith are often given free rooms provided they are questing for the betterment of the world, and small shrines can be found to most major gods surrounding the building in small stone huts. The owner, a human man and woman who were once paladins themselves, are willing to offer any assistance they can in the battle against the forces of evil. No cheap alcohol can be found here, and drunkenness is greatly discouraged.
40-42 The Rabbit’s Foot Once the host of an underground gaming den, the tavern now repurposes the betting rooms for lodging. On the ground floor, several dice, board and card games are always to be found, and locals (who are veterans to gambling and are often charlatans) love to play their games with travellers. The local favourite, Gladiator Dice, is even played by local nobles who frequent the rooms and are usually surrounded by guests hoping to cash in on their reckless spending.
43-45 The Shaking Shack Also known as "The Drunk Tavern", every few minutes the building shakes very briefly as if in a small-magnitude earthquake. Most locals and the bartenders are used to it, barely noticing the shakes, but new travellers frequently find it frustrating and distracting. Legends go it was once cursed by a warlock who, after being insulted by a legion of drunks, cursed the building itself to 'hiccup' as if drunk itself. For this reason, once per night, it is customary to pour a beer out onto the floorboards to sate "the hair-of-the-dog in the building itself".
46-48 The Garden of Maidens Named after the legendary children's tale of the 12 Missing Maidens (which is said to have happened nearby), the tavern is less jovial than one usually comes to expect. Drinking any alcohol in the bar invokes a somber depression in the drinker, which the owner credits to the haunting spirits of the dead maidens spoiling the drink. While it famously triggers sadness in almost all who drink there, it has a strangely addicting quality. Even stranger still, the only people this curse does not seem to affect is young human women.
49-51 The Mourning Widow This seaside tavern is populated by sailors, who sing loud out-of-tune sea shanties into the early hours of the morning. Its exclusive brew, the Widow's Tears, are said to be made from the tears of ladies whose husbands have died at sea. For these reasons, anyone who dealing with the death of a loved one can expect free drinks on the house.
52-54 The Enchanted Mug Contrary to its title, the mugs at The Enchanted Mug are not enchanted. In fact, gnomish engineers have developed a complex hand-cranked machine where a patron can observe the automatic creation of "The Perfect Brew". It tastes foul, but most people pay just to watch the Rube Goldberg-like giant wall-mounted device create their drink behind a pane of reinforced glass. Nowadays, it frequently experiences malfunctions, and often expels ale even worse than normal.
55-57 The Whispering Web A bar infamous for hosting criminals and fugitives from authorities, often home to Drow and other evil creatures. Theories go that secrets travel faster than feet there, which may or may not be true: Mirrors hanging on the walls around the bar are used to anonymously conduct business with one another, with each dealer the only person able to see the other. For this reason the tavern in prized for its discretion and has been rumoured as the host to a number of highly influential underground business deals.
58-60 The Shivering Pelican A classier establishment, the bar serves infamously cold ales. Among them is their prized "Frozen Swill", cooled with magical jets to far below zero, which is nearly impossible to drink. Themed as a Winter Wonderland all throughout the year, a series of hot springs located out in the back are very popular among the richer folk who can afford to use them. The bartender rumours that nobles use the springs as meeting places for concubines and illicit lovers, which is supported by several other gossiping members of staff.
61-63 The Golden Harp This tavern contains a magical harp, brought in at no small expense, which plays beautiful music as patrons drink and dine. Believed to be imbued with the magical talents of an angel themselves, its melodies have an almost hypnotic quality to them, which has been known to invoke intense emotion among a minority of the weak-willed. Frequent attempts to steal the priceless artefact mean that the harp is placed behind several magical wards that prohibit anyone from approaching. Each flagon and mug has an ornate harp carved into its side, and these are commonly stolen as ‘souvenirs’ for patron’s homes as a testament to its owner's musical tastes.
64-66 The Broken Cavalry Popular among war veterans, it borders a huge stable and a large field where horse races are frequently run for sport and recreation. The first stop in a long pub crawl, tradition dictates that a budding drinker not leave the back of their horse throughout the entire ordeal, which becomes increasingly more difficult as the rider becomes more drunk.
67-69 The Starving Yeti Set inside a cave in the side of a tall mountain peak, it is often used as a safehouse during the occasional avalanche or orc raid due to its naturally fortified structure. Only the opening of the mouth is used for the business, but the rest of the uncharted cave behind it travels deep into the mountain: However, only the bravest dare to scout out the area due to its huge labyrinthian size and dangerous monsters. Rumours of ancient dwarven treasures from a time long-forgotten are familiar to all locals, including the recipe for a highly-prized ancient Dwarf wine.
70-72 The Dragon’s Roost Pigeons have long taken their place in the rafters of the tall building in which The Dragon's Roost is located, often pooping into the drinks of those below (which is considered a very lucky omen). Many sustained attempts to remove the infestation in the past has proved fruitless, and has slowly developed into a superstition that the pigeons are the reincarnated souls of regular bargoers.
73-75 The Prickly Crocodile Located on the middle of a dry and unforgiving desert, most drinks are synthesized from a common cactus to create a series of bitter yet strong alcoholic beverages known as The Prickles. As the plant is highly toxic, only the bar's owners, and old and influential Dragonborn family, are familiar with the secrets to extracting the appropriate liquid without retaining its deadly poisons.
76-78 The Gaudy Cannon Located on the roof of the squat, well-constructed stone tavern, a faux-golden cannon fires a blank shot of gunpowder every time somebody completes the venue's infamous Drowned Liver Challenge, which involves copious quantities of local wine. The proprietor and barkeep, an eyepatch-wearing halfling pirate by the name of Two-Bones (since retired), takes great joy in this ceremony (the cannon her proudest trophy from her travels) and often participates in the challenge herself.
79-81 The Wild Sorcerer Though not gifted with Sorcerous magic herself, bar owner Meredith Garalin inherited the venue from her mother after it spontaneously appeared from nowhere during one of her episodes of wild magic. Business is slow due to its out-of-the-way location, though local rumours that suggest the tavern is cursed to one day magically return to whatever plane it was summoned from (and with all its patrons inside).
82-84 The Ghost Hog Impossible to trace, the faint squealing of some faraway pig can sometimes be heard from inside of the tavern during the day. Notoriously grimy and filthy the east side of the tavern, dubbed 'The Swill', is an open, muddy space which is commonly the ground for drunken barehanded wrestling matches both for sporting and settling disputes. Solid lumps can frequently be found in their unappetizing pints of ale.
85-87 The Glowing Scales The only remaining building in a village now entirely in ruins, it acts as an important resting place for those travelling between two major cities which keeps business booming. Due to its highly vulnerable nature, the barkeep offers free room and board, as well as a night of free drinks, to anyone who assists in fighting away the goblin hordes that attack at sunset several times a week.
88-90 The Masquerade Floor A classy establishment built in a refurbished noble's manor after it was invaded and taken over by a neighbouring kingdom, its blindingly white tiled floors give it a strikingly futuristic aesthetic. The drinks are distinctly expensive, but come in an eclectic rainbow of colours. All its staff, mostly elves, wear white face masks that conceal their identities.
91-93 The Empty Pail A large, popular tavern in which large drink orders are made in 'pails', metal buckets filled with ale that can be shared between patrons or quaffed by larger, more ambitious humanoids. A lot of food, like small sections of dried apple or strips of preserved bacon, are served floating or submerged in the alcohol which gives them a bitter flavour.
94-96 The Clever Merchant A bustling hub of trade and mirth, the business offers not only rooms and drink but also a variety of trade stock such as grains, ore, and lumber. The owner, a bald Dragonborn merchant, makes a decent profit over the impulse purchases of drunks with coin to spare, as well as off a variety of house-run gambling games such as the popular card game Merchant.
97-99 The Thunderous Wagon Located on the outskirts of a city next to a large stable for late-night travellers, they offer cheap rooms for those willing to put up with loud distractions to their slumber during the night. Popular wisdom dictates that banging your mugs of ales against the table before drinking will bless those staying overnight with good rest.
100 The Bloodthirsty Fish A popular location among hobbyist fishermen, the walls are lined with the trophies of various huge catches. A patron can be offered a free drink if they can prove themselves a record holder of the largest for a particular type. Their brew is atypically salty-tasting and popular among sailors.
submitted by tr1lobyte to DnDBehindTheScreen [link] [comments]

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!
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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.
to nonsensical
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.

Keep smiling.
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:
  1. Celebrate your own health. We take health for granted.
  2. 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.
  3. Tell yourself you look HOT, because you do.
  4. Believe in your ability to make good choices today and every day.
  5. 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:
  1. 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

Dog treats

Lavender pepper
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!!
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I Watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 3)

Welcome to my review/reactions for my first viewing of the third season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.!
Click these links if you'd like to read my thoughts on Season 1 and Season 2.
I've decided to try something new where I wrote down some thoughts during each episode. I included said thoughts on bullet points plus any others that I have during the writing of this post.
In addition to episode-by-episode thoughts, I will once again quote some things I said in my Season 2 post and update my feelings on them.
Finally, I'll do some quick thoughts on the characters as well as predictions for the next season!
Before we begin: I never saw the original Terminator.

"Laws of Nature" - Episode 1

Bullet points are real-time thoughts I had that were written as I was watching.
Looking back, this is a really good episode. Rosalind's introduction is good and we indeed got Civil War, just a bit differently than what I was expecting.

"Purpose in the Machine" - Episode 2

I'm so glad that Simmons returned this early. I was a little fearful that it'd be dragged out to about the 10th episode.

"A Wanted (Inhu)man" - Episode 3

Wow. Now I get it! Jemma was crying in the restaurant because of Will! AHHH!!!
Even after watching the rest of the season, the Daisy/Lincoln relationship is still weird. Well, was weird. I didn't feel that kind of chemistry between them. If I'm being honest, I see more of a spark between her and Fitz than I did with Lincoln.

"Devils You Know" - Episode 4

"4,722 Hours" - Episode 5

"Among Us Hide..." - Episode 6

"Chaos Theory" - Episode 7

"Many Heads, One Tale" - Episode 8

"Closure" - Episode 9

This was one of my favorite episodes thus far. Watching an angry and desperate Coulson is something to be seen.

"Maveth" - Episode 10

"Bouncing Back" - Episode 11

"The Inside Man" - Episode 12

"Parting Shot" - Episode 13

The bar scene at the end made me cry. That hit extremely hard. They get their happy ending. I hope they come back at some point, even if it's for a couple episodes in the final season. There's this paranoia in the back of my mind that they'll return as part of Hydra.

"Watchdogs" - Episode 14

"Spacetime" - Episode 15

The only time I've found Lincoln interesting is when he was at Afterlife. Everything since then hasn't had me interested in him.

"Paradise Lost" - Episode 16

"The Team" - Episode 17

"The Singularity" - Episode 18

"Failed Experiments" - Episode 19

"Emancipation" - Episode 20

"Absolution" - Episode 21

"Ascension" - Episode 22

That's my episode-by-episode thoughts on the season!
Now it's time to look at the ones from Season 2 and update them:
I repeat: THIS SHOW HAS GUTS. The way they've handled Ward is masterful, I must admit. During S1, I thought he was just on this arc of the isolated dude that learns to be one of the team and help other people. So, when the Hydra stuff went down, I would've picked anyone else to turn. I didn't expect the guy who's making progress on an arc like that to just shut that down and go the way he did.
I really liked when they brought Christian Ward in. The show did an excellent job at making me not know who to trust. Do I trust the guy that just betrayed his team and is known to be manipulative that insists that he's been telling the truth since being captured, or do I trust the older brother that I was just introduced to that happens to be a politician? I didn't know whether they were going to basically triple down on Ward being the bad guy or not. Then, it turns out that it was Christian that was responsible for the well....BUT THEN GRANT MURDERS HIM AND HIS PARENTS AFTERWARDS???
I can't remember the last time I saw a piece of media start a character arc, halt it, then not just double, but triple down on them being the bad guy. It's insane and so fascinating.
A moment I loved was when he's working with the team again and they're all on the bus. He's being all nostalgic, but everyone is smart enough to see right through it.
I repeat: The way they've handled Ward is masterful. It was a very smart decision to turn him into Hive halfway through. There's only so much you could do with a sociopathic, murderous lunatic character like Ward before he starts to no longer be surprising. Turning him into an ancient demon is a genius play.
Happy to report that Season 2 is indeed Skye's season and I now like her a lot.
I like how Season 3 didn't revolve around Daisy. She has an integral part, for sure, but it wasn't all about her. She's established, so not everything needs to be about her, and that's smart. It's about the team as a whole. I liked the character when she was on the field with Mack and also when she was swayed by Hive.
Another great showing from the Cavalry. Well, I shouldn't call her that.
I wish she would've supported Coulson a little bit more. I completely understand why she took the position she did, but she kind of left him out to dry while she knows that whatever he does, he does it with the best intentions.
The 'Melinda' episode was a highlight and they really had her shoot the girl. Man. This show has guts. AND SHE WAS TRYING TO HAVE KIDS. FUCK!!!!!
I still want her and Coulson to get together. The showrunners know it. They had them together in that dream Skye was having, but it looks like she's going back to Andrew? He's cool. I just thought that they were headed in another direction. They still could though...
...and that moment when May tricked Agent 33 to use her face so that Ward would shoot her? MAAAANNNN! That was some good stuff!
She was good in this season, but not featured as much as I would've liked. The Andrew stuff gave the character something to do, but other than that, she didn't do a ton. Her dynamic with Hunter was great though! I wanted her to have some involvement in Hive's end since she still hated Ward.
...and that moment when May kicks all of those guys' asses when they didn't take no for an answer? MAAAANNNN! That was some good stuff!
I wanted [Fitz and Simmons] to be together so much, but I totally get why they did what they did. It can't be that easy. The reveal in the early episodes that Simmons was just in Fitz's head got me. That was great.
However, what wasn't great was Simmons saying that she went undercover at Hydra and left Fitz not because he had changed, but because she didn't feel the same way for him as he did for her. That hurt hard coming off of that great scene in S1 when he finally tells her how he feels. The thing that I didn't like was that she said she didn't want to be with him, but by the end of this season, she wants to. I don't remember a definitive moment in this season that would've changed her mind. If there was, I didn't catch it or I interpreted it incorrectly.
No matter now because she died! Well, I doubt she did, but right now, she did. She disappeared. Poof. Sorry Fitz, I guess you should've taken her out of the alien room before asking her out.
I like how Simmons mirrored Fitz in the first half of the season. They both changed and now they get to be together. Good stuff!
Mike Peterson returns! Not a ton to do in this season, but a welcomed inclusion. I'm still waiting for him to become a real agent and part of the team.
Mike Peterson doesn't return! He'll be back in Season 4...hopefully!
[Maria Hill] didn't get a lot to do in this season either. It was nice to see her, but you know, she didn't do anything.
I have a feeling that she won't be returning...
[Lady Sif] was a lot of fun this time around, too! I hope she has an episode each season.
I have a feeling that she won't be returning...
[Simmons] REALLY TRIED TO MURDER WARD!
Good for her! I'm guessing we're building up to a tense scene with her and Fitz where they have to kill someone. Fitz isn't able to do it, but Jemma is. Typically, they'd already be in a relationship at that point and her killing someone would make him question the person she'd become. However, I've learned just by these two seasons that this show is anything but typical.
SIMMONS REALLY SHOT WARD! Well, Hive!
My prediction didn't come true at all and I'm happy about that. She shot Hive, but Fitz wasn't anywhere near them.
So, Ward's being pushed to run Hydra, huh? Should've seen it coming, that sick son of a bitch. He keeps living! It doesn't matter what happens! He gets shot several times, but then this SIMP Agent 33 saves him. How is she repaid? He shot and killed her. Damn, sucks to be a simp. The actress did a great job though!
He kept living! Even being killed on a distant planet, he finds his way back! Although, I think he's actually done though. Props to the actor that plays him. What a great gig to have and a performance to, well, perform! A notable performance was when Mack and company blast him with those lights and he's saying all those lines from past characters.
Let's do some quick hits on the characters:
Finally, let's go over my predictions for this season and also what I think will happen in Season 4:
1) May will start to love life out of the organization and choose not to come back...that is until someone is about to get killed in a big mission about halfway through the season when she shows up for the save.
2) Fitz will figure out how to save Simmons from the Monolith. However, when she returns, she is changed, further delaying she and Fitz starting a relationship.
3) After the team learns of Ward's new position at Hydra, Coulson's sights are set on another objective. However, Skye splits from them to go find Ward and the two have a showdown. It likely ends with Ward escaping BECAUSE HE ALWAYS FINDS A WAY OUT.
1) I did not foresee Hunter coming to recruit her to kill Ward, and yet, it made so much sense.
2) Damn, it hurt that I was so right on the Fitz one. I didn't think she'd be changed that way though.
3) It's hilarious how wrong I was on that last one. Every part of it was wrong. Coulson's sights aren't set on something else, his only goal becomes to kill Ward. Skye does split from the team, but not to have a showdown with Ward, but to join Hive! What?!
Here are my predictions for Season 4:
  1. During the six months, Daisy has been building up her own team of Inhumans.
  2. Melinda is the new Director. However, as a crazy one, I'd also say that it could be Maria Hill, too.
  3. The first half of the season will be S.H.I.E.L.D. vs. Daisy's team. However, Hydra begins to creep back up, possibly with a way to "cure" the Inhumans. That's when Daisy comes back to the team for help.
If you have any questions about specific moments or characters, I'd be happy to comply!
Time to hope into Season 4! I hope my compliance will be rewarded...
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Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Jun. 17, 2002

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
PREVIOUSLY:
1-7-2002 1-14-2002 1-21-2002 1-28-2002
2-4-2002 2-11-2002 2-18-2002 2-25-2002
3-4-2002 3-11-2002 3-18-2002 3-25-2002
4-1-2002 4-8-2002 4-15-2002 4-22-2002
4-29-2002 5-6-2002 5-13-2002 5-20-2002
5-27-2002 6-3-2002 6-10-2002

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Some of you may have missed last week's post because I didn't do it on Wednesday. Ended up posting it Thursday instead, so it's there in the archives below if you missed it. I know this 2002 series of Rewinds doesn't really have the momentum or appeal that it had back when I was posting them 3 times a week for years on end. Sorry about that, like I said before, I just decided to post these on a whim when the virus started and didn't really prepare for it so it's all kinda haphazard. But just didn't want anyone to miss the one from last week if it flew under the radar.

  • Steve Austin walked out of WWE this week and threw everything into upheaval. As a result, Raw featured Vince McMahon challenging Ric Flair to a match for ownership of the entire company. It was the ultimate final blow-off to a huge long-term angle, and they did it with only 2 hours of build-up. With Vince now in charge of both shows, questions are swirling about whether this spells the end of the brand split, only a few months in. The reason this all happened is because, only 6 hours before Raw went on the air, Steve Austin showed up to the arena and found out he was scheduled to wrestle (and Dave thinks put over, though he hasn't confirmed that yet) Brock Lesner. Dave immediately points out the obvious, that an Austin vs. Lesnar match is something you should build up ahead of time, not throw it on free TV with no build up at all. Plus, he's still so new, he's incredibly green, and he's spent the last few months selling way too much for people like the Hardyz and Bubba Ray Dudley. Hell, before he debuted in WWE, he wasn't even the most over guy in OVW. He's nowhere near the level you'd expect for him to be winning matches with Steve Austin un-hyped on free TV. In fact, Lesnar should probably go through just about everyone else on the roster before putting him against Austin. That's a potential Wrestlemania-level match and Dave seems befuddled that they would just book it for Raw like this.
  • Apparently Austin felt the same way because he and his wife Debra left the building and flew home before Vince McMahon even arrived to the arena, the second time since Wrestlemania that he has walked out on the company. A source who was there when McMahon learned of the news said that, for the first time anyone could remember, Vince seemed to drop his "game face" and there seemed to be genuine panic about what to do. Rock has one foot out the door to Hollywood. Undertaker and Triple H are banged up and won't be around forever (bet). Business is already collapsing. And now the biggest star the company's ever had just walked out the door. Last time Austin walked out after Wrestlemania, he was only away for 2 weeks. This time, there's a feeling it could be much longer. Those close to Austin say he's been unhappy for months and this decision wasn't anything specifically to do with the Lesnar match. That just happened to be the final straw. Austin made news last week when he went on the WWE's Byte This show and voiced his frustrations with the company's creative direction. Plans had been put into motion over the last couple weeks for Austin to feud with Eddie Guerrero and then Chris Benoit, which he was happy about (he was enjoying his recent house show matches with Eddie and Benoit is one of Austin's favorite opponents) but that's out the window now. Austin and Vince McMahon reportedly haven't been on good terms for several months now and word is the night before Raw, the two of them had a very heated conversation over the phone that left Austin pissed off and frustrated even before this went down.
  • And that's the deal on Austin. He has more money than he'll ever be able to spend and doesn't have any financial need to wrestle. He only does so because he enjoys it. And if he doesn't enjoy it anymore, then by all means, it's his right to leave and he doesn't owe the business anything if he wants to hang up the boots. But Dave does feel like Austin owes WWE at least a few weeks to write him out of storylines since he's such an important piece of the company. Walking out from a live TV taping is unprofessional and it leaves guys like Guerrero and Benoit left hanging, thus screwing up their future plans and money-making potential too (yeah, that's something that doesn't get talked about much. Austin walking out fucked Guerrero over pretty hard here. It would take him another 2 years to get back into that main event scene that he would have been involved in here). That being said, pretty much everyone in the locker room sympathizes with Austin and agrees with his complaints about the creative direction of the company, but not many of them were defending the way he walked out. And given that this is the second time he's done it, the feeling is he shouldn't be allowed back without facing some actual punishment this time.
  • So anyway, the day of Raw, they went into panic mode and had to re-write the entire show. And with the feeling Austin won't be coming back anytime soon, Vince felt they needed to do something big. So they went with blowing off the dual-owners angle in a match that was designed to turn Flair babyface again and establish Vince as the heel owner of everything. There was also discussion of turning Undertaker babyface again, since he's been getting more cheers than RVD when they work together at house shows lately but they decided against that for now (they end up doing it in a couple weeks). So now Flair has been abruptly turned back, after only turning heel a few weeks prior. The brand split may or may not be dead. And there we stand.
  • In what would have been a major story during any other week, DDP has officially retired from wrestling at age 46. Unfortunately, Austin's walk-out overshadowed everything. The decision on DDP's retirement was actually made by Vince McMahon and Jim Ross, who pretty much made the choice for him after they got his medical reports. DDP has been advised by multiple doctors that his spine is shot and he needs to retire. For the company's own liability, WWE decided to listen to the doctors and DDP agreed. There has been talk of finding ways for DDP to work the remainder of his contract for the company in a non-wrestling capacity. (He obviously ends up wrestling a handful of matches in the years since, but for the most part, this really was the end of DDP's in-ring career as a full-time wrestler).
  • There were a couple of moments on Raw this week where Shawn Michaels was cutting a promo and made a comment about Austin "losing his top spot" and another comment later about Rock "stealing Triple H's spot." A lot of people in the company backstage were upset, feeling like this was the same ol' Shawn, going into business for himself and trashing on Austin and Rock and yada yada. Not the case. Those comments were actually scripted for Shawn to say because they want to get over the idea that Shawn on the mic is a loose cannon and you never know when he might start "shooting" and say something he's not supposed to. It's all very dumb, you see. Almost like Vince Russo is coming back any day now or something.
  • Dave gives a big preview and rundown of the Jarrett family's new NWA-TNA promotion, which has its debut show next week on PPV. Not all cable systems are carrying it, however. Cablevision and Dish Network both declined to carry it, but DirecTV is. This cuts down on the number of available homes for the show and probably cuts 20-30% off their potential revenue. The main PPV provider in Canada, Viewer's Choice, has also declined to carry it. Steep mountain to climb here. Dave expects them to do decent numbers for their first show but predicts an XFL-like collapse after that. By week 3, Dave is scared for their chances. From here, Dave gives the whole history of other promotions who've tried to make it on PPV in the U.S., with varying degrees of success and failure. UWFI, UFC, ECW, WCW, PRIDE, etc, WWF has even toyed with similar ideas. In 1991, they did the one-off Tuesday In Texas PPV as a test to see if they could run PPVs back-to-back (Survivor Series was only the week prior) and it was a flop. The original concept for Shotgun Saturday Night was for it to be a weekly Saturday night PPV with a similar >$10 price point, but that idea got scrapped before it got off the ground and it became just another TV show. Dave doesn't think TNA is going to make it without a TV deal. This PPV exclusive plan just has too much working against it. The Jarretts have talked about the millions of disenfranchised fans that stopped watching after WCW died, and it's true. Those people are out there. But those millions of fans all checked out between 1999-2001, and TNA isn't going to win them back by using the same people and the same concepts that ran those viewers away from WCW. All your wacky booking ideas, your Vince Russos, your Jeff Jarretts as champion, bringing in guys that even WWE won't touch (Scott Hall), etc. Those are all the same things that ran away those WCW viewers. Dave just doesn't see how this experiment can work in its current form.
  • Vince McMahon himself was the latest guest on WWE's Byte This show and needless to say, it was interesting. Vince denied the idea that the wrestling business is "cyclical" and said it's more like a series of peaks and valleys that have slowly been trending upwards over the years. Vince also admitted WWE doesn't always make the best decisions but says their batting average is good overall. Vince also said he's proud to have the word "wrestling" in their company name, which is a pretty big about-face from all the years he's tried to publicly claim they were "sports entertainment, not wrestling." He admitted things are rough right now but said there are huge changes coming soon that will change the entire industry but wouldn't elaborate on what he had planned (I think time has proven that the answer to this was nothing whatsoever. They had no idea what they were doing during this time and were just making shit up as they went along). Vince acknowledged that Austin has been frustrated lately and said Austin is the most demanding of all the wrestlers in WWE. Vince also said he pays no attention to the internet because everyone thinks they're a booker. He also complained that it's hard to live up to people's expectations because fans all think they know everything now. Acknowledged ratings being down and played it off like, yes, WWE is sick. But it's only a cold, not pneumonia or anything, so don't panic.
  • More notes from Vince on Byte This because huge unbroken paragraphs suck: he hinted at producing movies starring WWE talent. Dave thinks that's a bad idea. "No Holds Barred," anyone? Criticized backyard wrestling, which Dave actually agrees with him 100% on. Was asked about bringing Vince Russo back and said he hasn't given it any thought but he has an open door policy (see you next week, Russo! Jeez, it almost makes you wonder if Vince got the idea from this interview or something). When asked about the recent Jim Cornette/Ed Ferrara incident, Vince basically seemed disinterested but said he admires Cornette's passion for wrestling but felt spitting in Ferrara's face was unprofessional. When asked about NWA-TNA, Vince said he didn't understand how they could do it without television. Trying to get people to pay $9.95 a week for a 2 hour show (a minor league product at that, because anything other than WWE is basically minor leagues at this point), when they already get Raw and Smackdown on free television. Otherwise, he said he has no opinions on it because he hasn't seen it, but Vince seems to share Dave's opinion. He doesn't see this PPV model as sustainable and doesn't seem particularly threatened by it.
  • NJPW's latest Best of the Super Juniors tournament is in the books and was a disappointment, just like everything else in NJPW lately. Koji Kanemoto won a pretty boring tournament. There was only one new name involved, which was Michinoku Pro wrestler Curry Man (Christopher Daniels under a mask). He's talented and charismatic but he's not even that big a star in Michinoku Pro, much less to the NJPW audience. Otherwise, it was more of the same, with no real notable matches.
  • Zero-1 in Japan is hoping to put together a working relationship with NWA-TNA. Specifically, they're hoping they can do a Shinya Hashimoto vs. Ken Shamrock feud, perhaps over the NWA title.
  • While training for his comeback, Kenta Kobashi messed up his shoulder doing bench presses, because of course he did. Doctors have told him not to return too soon but he still plans to be back in the ring by next month. Because of course he does.
  • NJPW's latest show at Budokan Hall was a disaster. From photos Dave saw, he figures there couldn't have been more than 3,500 fans in the building. Even at its weakest after the NOAH exodus, AJPW never fell below 7,000 at Budokan and this show looked to be half that. It's likely the smallest crowd NJPW has ever drawn to that arena. The whole show was said to be terrible because of the depressing atmosphere of a building that was 2/3 empty.
  • This week's World Cup game between Japan and Russia did a 66.1 TV rating, making it the #2 highest rated sports broadcast in the history of Japan. This is notable because by doing so, it surpassed the Rikidozan vs. Destroyer match from 1963, which did a 64.0 rating, knocking it down to #3 (for what it's worth, it's believed that a Rikidozan vs. Lou Thesz match in 1957 was actually watched by even more people, but official ratings weren't kept as detailed back then, so it can't be counted for sure).
  • Dave has read some excerpts from the new Shaun Assael book on Vince McMahon called "Sex, Lies, and Headlocks." From what he's read, Dave says it's a very good and accurate portrayal of how the WWE has grown to what it is today. Vince's former close friend and VP of Titan Sports during the expansion era Jim Troy and Jim Barnett were both interviewed for it, among others. If you're a hardcore fan who's been following the Observer for years, there's nothing new here that you probably don't already know from a major story standpoint, but there's some interesting details at least that were new to Dave. But to the average fan, this should be pretty eye-opening. Dave expects to have a full review soon.
  • CZW held its second annual Best of the Best tournament at the old ECW Arena and the show got rave reviews. Particularly British wrestlers Jodie Fleisch and Jonny Storm, who tore the house down in their match. Trent Acid defeated Fleisch to win the tournament.
  • The Coen brothers, producers of the movie "Fargo", have had talks with Bobby Heenan about doing a movie based on his life (this pretty obviously went nowhere).
  • New Jack is no longer working with XPW and has jumped ship to work with a rival local promoter in Southern California. Perhaps not coincidentally, the last check New Jack received from XPW promoter Rob Black for $800 ended up bouncing. Dave says New Jack probably isn't the guy you want to write bad checks to.
  • NWA-TNA has changed its taping plans and no longer plans to tour, and they will now be live every week. The first two shows will be taped this week in Huntsville and after that, all future shows will be live from Nashville at the 9,000-seat Municipal Auditorium. Apparently the rent for that building is really cheap because a newer, more modern arena was just built nearby, so TNA can afford it. That being said, with as much trouble as they're having selling tickets for the debut show in Huntsville, Dave thinks it's pretty optimistic to start trying to run live tapings in the same 9,000-seat building every week. He thinks they would be much better off running a small 800-seat building every week, with a smaller, more intimate atmosphere that would come across a lot better on TV than a big cavernous arena that, inevitably, is going to be mostly empty (to this day, 18 years later, TNA/Impact has never once drawn a crowd of 9,000 fans. Never even really close actually).
  • Various other TNA notes: Dave runs down the list of confirmed names for TNA's first taping. Rick Steiner, K-Krush (formerly K-Kwik in WWF), Konnan, Steve Corino, The Harris Brothers, Psicosis, and a bunch of others. Don Frye has talked to Jeff Jarrett about coming in to work a match with Ken Shamrock. Jackie Fargo is going to be there doing something. They made an offer to Shane Douglas but he only agreed to come in if they didn't hire Francine (some kind of falling out between them). TNA decided they'd rather have Francine. They're expected to be doing some kind of old school vs. new school angle so....yay. More latter-years WCW shit. Mike & Todd Shane are coming in as a tag team called Dick & Rod Johnson and will have costumes that apparently look like penises, just in case you were still on the fence about whether Vince Russo is involved. The top stars are basically making around $3,500 per week which is a pretty decent salary for one day's work every week. The guys without name value, on the other hand, are getting $300 per show and are covering their own transportation. Just in case you were still on the fence about whether Jerry Jarrett is involved.
  • Ken Shamrock did an interview and acknowledged that he hasn't done pro-wrestling in a few years and knows he's going to be rusty. He also said he's worried because with only 1 show per week, he won't really be able to get enough matches under his belt to get good again. He also said he's signed a 3 fight deal with UFC and will be fighting Tito Ortiz in September, which turns out to be a pretty huge damn deal.
  • Dave saw the K-1 match with former WCW developmental wrestler Bob Sapp vs. some dude. Doesn't matter. What matters is Bob Sapp is enormous ("makes Brock Lesnar look like Jerry Lynn"). And he mauled this poor guy. In fact, it looked like Sapp was trying to get DQ'd, as he started kicking and kneeing the guy while he was down and just treating it like a street fight, violating lots of rules in the process. He was DQ'd but then K-1 booked Sapp and this other dude for a rematch in July. That leads Dave to think this was planned as an effort to get Sapp over as a lunatic, but if it was a work, somebody should have told the other guy because Sapp fucked him right on up. "This was like everyone feared Mike Tyson would behave, but 1,000 times worse and from a man far more scary." Furthermore, Sapp came out in a full Ric Flair robe and to Ric Flair' ring music, and the arena went insane. Sapp has massive superstar appeal in Japan right now and promoting him as a violent psychopath who has no regards for the rules in a shoot fight appears to be getting over huge.
WATCH: Bob Sapp vs. some dude. Doesn't matter. K-1
  • Edge will not need surgery for his torn labrum injury, so he'll only miss a few weeks of action instead of a few months. Edge is in the midst of the biggest push of his career and this is his chance to finally break through to the next level so needless to say, good news.
  • Notes from Raw: show opened with Vince walking out, which was unexpected since this is Flair's show. He said Austin wasn't there and made a point of saying Austin was too much of a coward to be there. Pretty well buried Austin and buried Raw as a bad show (blaming Flair in kayfabe for all the show's real life problems. Sorta like last year when they actually turned the bad ratings into a storyline by trying to blame it on Corbin. Some things never change). They're doing a storyline with Trish making fun of Molly Holly for allegedly having a fat ass because, again, some things never change. Former Tough Enough contestant Chris Nowinski debuted doing the Harvard grad gimmick like the heel jock in every teen movie. "The heel jock." Never change Dave. Shawn Michaels made his big return, cut his promo joining the NWO and turning heel on the fans before superkicking Booker T out of the group. So theoretically, this should mean Booker T should have to work his way through the entire NWO one by one before getting to Shawn at the end, in what should be Shawn's first match back. "I'm not holding my breath," Dave says. And of course, Vince beat Flair to take control of both shows. Horrible match but considering it was a last minute panic move, understandable under the circumstances. Lesnar ran in and helped Vince win the match.
WATCH: Vince McMahon opening promo with Ric Flair on Raw
WATCH: Ric Flair vs. Vince McMahon for sole ownership of WWE
  • Notes from Smackdown: during a big pull-apart brawl, several agents ran in to break it up. Among them were Dean Malenko and Fit Finlay, appearing on TV for the first time in their new backstage roles, and John Lauranitis who was also shown on TV last week. More gay jokes with Billy and Chuck and Rico, which Dave calls Russo-esque. Not quite yet. Jamie Noble was introduced with Nidia from Tough Enough season 1 as his valet, in a feud with Hurricane. There was a big effort to make Bob Holly a star this week, starting a feud with he and Kurt Angle and they really pushed Holly hard as a star and Angle busted his ass to try and get him over. And they did a show-long angle with Maven in the hospital (he's legit injured) and Torrie Wilson shows up, it's implied that she gives him a blowjob, and then Dr. Tajiri shows up, mists Torrie and beats up Maven. Dave is at least happy that they're trying to make an angle out of Maven's injury so he has a storyline to come back to, which is more effort than they put into most stuff these days.
  • Various WWE notes: referee Tim White suffered a torn rotator cuff in the Backlash Hell in a Cell match and will need surgery that will keep him out of the ring for months. Rey Mysterio is scheduled to debut on WWE house shows this week and, as of now, is expected to be wearing his mask again. Terry Taylor has been reaching out to get hired, but the company won't return his calls (they eventually re-hire him in September).
  • There's been a lot of praise for the new Spiderman comic "Tangled Web" which was written by Raven (I had to research this, but yeah. "Tangled Web" was a Spiderman anthology series that lasted about 2 years and had 22 issues. Each issue was written by different authors. Issue 14 was called "The Last Shoot" and sure enough, it was co-written by Raven alongside Brian Azzarello, who is the mind behind one of my favorite comic series of all time, 100 Bullets. And I had no idea. Wild).
  • The long-discussed plan of having Arn Anderson as Chris Benoit's manager seems to be off the table now. The thought is Anderson has been devalued so much in recent months (they pretty much wheel him out every time they need someone to take a beating for heat in a Flair feud) that he wouldn't be effective as a manager for a strong, serious heel.
  • Tough Enough II winner Linda Miles made her in-ring debut on Velocity, against Ivory. She was accompanied by fellow winner Jackie Gayda, who turned heel on her and cost Linda the match. Dave thinks it's waaaaaay too early to put these 2 women in a feud against each other considering how green they both still are.
WATCH: Linda Miles vs. Ivory - WWE Velocity 2002
  • The Rock, Vince McMahon, Undertaker, Jerry Lawler, Jm Ross, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and Shane McMahon were all in Memphis at the Mike Tyson/Lennox Lewis fight last week. Rock could be seen on camera a few rows deep throughout the fight, while Vince was shown on camera as a celebrity in attendance before the fight. The others were never shown on-camera, but they were all there. The PPV is estimated to have done 1.8 million buys and grossed a record $103 million, which are numbers that WWE can only dream of. Prior to the PPV, Rock co-hosted a pre-show party with guests such as Halle Berry and Britney Spears.
NEXT WEDNESDAY: Steve Austin accused of abusing Debra, much more on that situation and Austin's walkout, Jesse Ventura not running for re-election, Rock wrestles in Hawaii, and more...
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My Introduction to a Professional Sports Betting Syndicate

This is part 1 of a 3 part story I recently shared within The Betting Network community. The Betting Network or TBN is a group of sports bettors that all share information with a common goal of winning more bets. I also do weekly lessons, a mentorship program, game previews and just pass along any and all information I’ve gathered over the past 15 plus years, the main goal is to help members improve their overall sports betting IQ and help them avoid the brutal trial and error I had to go through before becoming successful in the sports betting industry.
I decided to share this story because of the feedback I received within The Betting Network, hope you guys enjoy it and also gain something from it.

PART 1/3

Before I get into the good stuff I have to explain what my job entailed at the time. The company I use to work for scraped sports betting information and data off the internet. A lot of pro bettors use “data scrapes” and what it does is it searches the internet 24/7 every second of the day for anything that has the keywords you programmed into the software. Think about how much time and effort this saves. You input “LeBron James Injury” and the second anything related to that is posted anywhere online it will be sent to you and even compiled in an organized fashion. You could put Steph Curry 3pt attempts and it will gather all that info and compile it. Data scrapes are really the only way a person could compile stats and information on entire leagues, it would take the entire season alone if you attempted to input it yourself without a scraper.
One of the most important data scrapers is for injuries and the company I worked for had it set up where it would be constantly searching the internet for injury related news and it would “ping” our computers already formatted so it could be sent out to members and social media. For example, this is what a “ping” would look like - CLE-F [LeBron James] - Calf- Questionable or GSW-G [Steph Curry] - wrist - Doubtful. Our job was to edit any errors and basically just click a button that was linked to send it out on all platforms, members text services, on twitter, everywhere we wanted. Our company's injury scrape was so good that live odds services like Don Best would simply have a scrape on our Twitter account. Pro bettors would just have notifications set for our tweets because we were breaking injury information 10 to 20 seconds before ESPN sometimes. By the way, 10 to 20 seconds is an eternity in the sports betting world. If you couldn’t tell already I’m no computer wiz, but what I believe separated our scrape from many others was how the information was formatted when we got it and how it was streamlined with all the platforms it needed to be sent out to after we got it. In other words, injury news breaks, we get the ping, hit one button and it’s sent. Other people may receive the injury information and have to type out the format and then send it out one by one to twitter or on their website. But like I said I have no fucking clue how it all works all I know is we were considered one of the best for NBA, NFL.
If you want to learn more about how to actually set up a scraper I provided a good intro to scraping link here: ⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️
http://crowdsourcesyndicate.info/MommyWowMyFirstScraper.html
The MIT Sloan conference is one of the biggest sports analytics conferences in the world. Myself and a few co-workers were sent to the Sloan conference to represent our company. It’s a big 2 day event and everybody from the sports world is there, anyone from sports book operators to NBA head coaches and players. Link below for this years speakers at Sloan ↙️↙️↙️
http://www.sloansportsconference.com/2020-conference/2020-speakers/
Anyone that’s heavily involved in the sports betting industry is usually there because it’s a great way to network with everyone all in one place. My company had a booth there and we would just answer questions, hand out promotional fliers and point out all the famous people we saw. This is where it gets good. While sitting at the booth a guy approaches me and asks: “What do you do”? Me: I’m a data analyst Guy: ok, but what do you do?
I explained to him my job responsibilities adding in a bunch of stuff to make it sound more important because the truth was I sat at a computer for 8hrs a day waiting for pings and answering phone calls where 90% of the callers had the wrong number. He pretended to be interested in the job details and before I could get into what he did or why he was there the convo ended with him asking if I’ll be attending day 2 of the conference. I said yes and he told me he would also be back tomorrow for day 2 and that after the conference tomorrow him and a bunch of guys were going to meet for drinks at the Westin hotel across the street from the conference, “drinks on me” he said while walking away.
The next day after the conference I went across the street to the Westin and they have a restaurant. I see “George” who I met the day before and invited me, he’s sitting at one end of a table that has 2 big tables pushed together making one big table. He waves me over and I sit next to him, there’s about 7 other people there. He tells me to order anything I want, drinks, food whatever and made a point to tell me and everyone there that he’s covering the bill. The Westin is really nice and expensive, not a place I would be going to eat and drink on my own considering I think I was making $16 an hour at this time. I couldn’t help but wonder why he invited me and only me when I had 2 other co-workers. After a couple hours and 4 vodka tonics I found out.
“George” was a professional bettor and was (still is) the head of a nationwide sports betting syndicate. He knew exactly what the company I work for dos and even knew my boss. Once we got into talking about what he does he wasted no time telling me what he wanted to do. He wanted me to notify him and his team about injuries before sending it out to the public, 15 seconds after to be exact. He knew that a majority of sports books used the live odds screen Don Best and that Don Best used our company for breaking injury news and if he was able to get the injury news before Don Best he would be able to beat the line on all the books that copied lines from them.
For example: Your bookie isn’t sitting in front of the computer moving the lines when an injury happens, it’s done automatically. Most local books set up what’s called an auto-mover and this copies the feed from another sports book. Some local books may copy the feed from say pinnacle or 5dimes or any book they feel has strong accurate lines. They can’t set up a direct feed to pinnacle or 5Dimes because established books such as those can detect software. So what they do is set the auto-mover up onto a live odds service like Don Best. Once the line moves on don best all the books that are copying lines will then move their lines.
George had software of his own that allowed him to bet games on thousands of accounts with a few clicks of a button. He explained to me how this would all work - I get the ping - CLE-F [LeBron James] - Rest - Out, I would copy and paste that onto the telegram messenger app and press send, he said sing happy birthday and when finished then I could post it to the world like I normally would. With his automated bet software he could pick off all the books that didn’t move the line yet based on Lebron being OUT. Of course not every single book was reliant on Don Best to move lines, many of the bigger well known offshore books had their own data scrapes and injury software, but more than enough books did rely on Don Best, who relied on my company. So the potential for this was through the roof.
I had some serious thinking to do, as much as I wanted to say yes on the spot my instincts held me back. I told him I had to weigh the pros and cons. After all I basically would be tanking my job duties and going from a committed employee to what seemed like a sneaky spy. It does our company and it’s members no good if I’m sending out information late or at the same time as every other company. Also, without getting too detailed regarding the financial arrangement I felt I needed to counter his offer. The biggest upside for me besides the money was my strong desire to get involved with a real sports betting syndicate but the negotiations quickly let me know that there is a dark side to the industry and I had one foot in.
To Be Continued....
PS I’ll likely share part 2 and 3 in the coming days.
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Algos move the market in the short term, not retail/institutional/pension funds

My title of my post is the statement I stuck too from the very moment this selloff started. I've stayed consistent with this belief the entire time, whether we go up or down. If you just wanted any more proof, take a look at the Twitter link, as an additional piece of evidence. It's the same case in the recent up moves (the futures are contributing to the majority of the recent up move).
https://mobile.twitter.com/bespokeinvest/status/1248368169091239937
Retail, institutional investors, pension funds, etc. - they don't trade overnight futures. However you know who does? Stat arb algos as well as option trading firms/hedge funds/prop trading firms/bank risk-mitigation algos. For example if a hedge fund was put into a dicey risk situation, they turn on these algos to offload risk overnight. If they can't sell credit risk, they have to do it elsewhere like in ES futures. If an option market maker is short gamma and realizes oh crap, this is gonna cause me to be super long tomorrow with this move in ES, I've gotta hedge and turn on my overnight algo to sell first so I get less long deltas overnight.
So when you guys want to ask "who in the world is even selling" as we sold off and now "who in the world is even buying" as we go up, it's the algos. You are right, not many actual people are buying these days. It's the algos, and when I say algos, I mean the risk/liquidity algos.
Do you want to know why the algos are buying now? It's simple. Jerome Powell said he's buying credit ETFs. If you are a market maker, you have to sell these ETFs to them. Now you have to find a beta hedge. What's the best way to find that beta hedge? Buy ES futures. This then causes SPY to open higher. Now, if your algo was fast enough, you could have front ran the FED by buying HYG and JNK (this is why their NAV is trading at a massive premium), but if you weren't, well you get desperate as you get picked off from being short credit, so now you have to buy ES, SPY, and anything else you can. You might have to then buy SPX/SPY puts with it since you then have to protect your now new ES/SPY longs (which you didn't actually want to buy but were "forced" to buy),, which is why VIX hasn't dropped that much relative to how much SPY has gone up. It's all an algorithmically driven market.
This is why the entire market, on BOTH the down move and the now up move, has decoupled from the economy. So no, you guys may think people are FOMOing in. That's not true. Most investors aren't FOMOing in right now. The algos have just gone out of control on both the down and up moves and it's all technical.
Correlation (with other assets like credit and bonds), positioning (short squeeze and forced liquidations), option gamma (short gamma makes moves bigger), and short term stat arb strategies dominate the market short term. Retail and even big firms like Blackrock or Berkshire do not. Fundamentals win out long term. It may be months for SPY, and it is years for individual companies. No short term movement is ever controlled for by actual people wanting to put on a position.
As I said a month ago when we were selling off, if Citadel and Renaissance Technologies wanted to hold up the entire market for a day, they easily could. They may not want to if it's not in their favor, but they easily could. Two firms. That's enough. That about sums up this market. (EDIT: this part may have been extremely confusing due to my bad wording, but if you read some of the posts below with like me, MasterCookSwag, and ArseneWankerer, I try to clear up my meaning)
Another interesting and true fact? If options trading was ELIMINATED, the market would NEVER have sold off to 220 and it would have never skyrocketed back to almost 280 now. You may ask it's the same fundamentals right? Yes it is, the fundamentals of the economy and virus are the same, but elimiate options, and actually the entire market changes.
Finally, to add one more thing, if this wasn't clear, there needs to be a catalyst for the first wave of selling and buying, but everything after that is purely technical. For example, the catalysts would have been the virus and the oil shock in the wave of selling. The catalyst would have been the Fed in the wave of buying. However, the catalyst in itself shouldn't have produced a very large move. For example, imagine we go from 290 -> 270 as an example. The catalyst, if only traded by itself, should have moved it from 290 -> 285. However, the algos, with all the technical details I described above, then moves it from 285 -> 270. This is what I call "forced selling" or "fake selling," and I've alluded to this in my other posts. There is also "fake buying" in the reverse. However, "fake selling" is usually more powerful because on average people leverage up to be more bullish than bearish in an average market environment. So yes, the initial catalyst is important, but it's not the reason for the majority of short term moves.
I worked in the industry so I know this. You can call it a dirty secret, but hopefully if you see some actual statistics (see the above link on Twitter), you'll understand too. Fundamentals eventually will win longer term, but you know that saying about how the market can stay irrational before you stay solvent, well that's literally true because the market is algo driven. And as we progress into a state of better technology and even more options volume (think about how many people just recently started trading options) and other assets, this will be more and more true. One of these days, which could be like in 20+ years, if some black swan catalyst happens in conjunction with all of these technical factors I mentioned, you literally can see a 20% triple circuit breaker day immediately and like 90%+ of that drop would be all technical.
I'll try to answer any questions to the best of my ability.
EDIT: So for the people who are pointing out I don't understand what a MM is, let's do a easier example with NFL betting lines. Vegas acts like a MM in this regard. When an NFL line closes, is it 50/50 on both sides of the line? Nope. Vegas is still subject to risk. That's why sometimes they win or lose a lot of money depending on the outcome of an event, even though they are a "MM" too. Yes, Vegas will adjust a line based on some order flow, but it has their OWN MODELS TOO to determine what is fair, so they will adjust accordingly to the toxicity of the order flow. They will not just completely change their line so much so simply based pure order flow to keep on capturing 50/50. If you really think an options MM for example goes home every night flat every Greek, you are kidding yourself.
The point I was making above is a firm such as Citadel does so much volume that they have a huge impact on the market, whereas if you take them out of the market for say a month, the entire market microstructure changes in options and equities. Notice in my original post, I clearly said that these firms may not actually want to do this in their favor, but I am using them as an example saying they do so much volume they can IF they wanted to (in options you are more likely to do so than equities). I was emphasizing this point to show you guys how algos play such a large role in the market. It's similar to Vegas when they act as a MM to betting lines. They control the betting line at the end of the day. They aren't always 50/50 on both sides with no risk. Of course, Citadel and SIG in options will adjust their vol curves based on some order flow, but at the end of the day, they control most of the options vol pricing, which indirectly also affects equities in a big way when we have massive short gamma moves.
Similarily, apply it to sports betting. Let's say we shut down Vegas for a month and let only DraftKings price all the betting lines. I bet you the lines would be different and the volume would be different. Would they be completely different (like a -3 to a +3 line)? No, it wouldn't be that extreme, but it would be different and volume would be different and reaction to order flow would be different. Just think about it like this and apply it to trading.
EDIT2: this was also my post like ~3 weeks ago when we were like ~230. Too bad investing deleted my context of my post (since it relates to a lot of what I said below), but you can still see my title and my comments, so you know what I was calling. Yea sure, you can say I got lucky, but I wasn't wrong.
https://www.reddit.com/investing/comments/fjtkzh/we_are_very_close_to_the_bottom/
Addressing the above link, it's the type of logic that I am using in my below posts to probabilistically call bottoms like this. I'm never 100% sure (it's impossible to even be like 70%+ sure imo), but if you put some of this together (like when does the forced selling for the risk/liquidty algos stop?), you can actually call bottoms a bit easier than just winging it 50/50. Notice that this also coincided with March options expirations, as I mention, options are a big part. It also conincided with Jay Powell saying he's going to "alleviate the risks" (this is the forced selling from algos risk) he sees in the repo and now credit market.
EDIT3: u/brokegambler posted this, if you want a real professional talking about it https://www.realvision.com/market-makers-and-coronavirus-the-mechanics-of-a-market-sell-off?utm_source=contributor&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=43900_HK_GH_CONT_W1_LINK
EDIT4: ok last edit but https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/pinningthestrike.asp is just a quick example of one phenomenon that happens due to options and market makers. There's not going to be many articles you can find online on about what I'm talking about, but this pinning the strike phenomenon is a well-observed effect that's actually writen about of what market makers can do in terms of controlling price action due to their risk. Interestingly, what we have in our case the last month is the opposite of this in which rather than strikes getting pinned, strikes get blown through to cause the huge moves (since we've been in short gamma the last month). The article isn't super detailed, but can give you a general idea of one effect.
EDIT5: sorry I'll add one last edit...I do realize maybe my wording was not the greatest in my post, and after reading it again, it does sound a bit "forceful" at times, so I apologize for that. This was meant to be more informative, but please don't take it as I am trying to force any one opinion on anyone. Apologize for that!
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Notes and Highlights of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s Live Update July 16, 2020

Notes and Highlights of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s Live Update July 16, 2020
Notes by mr_tyler_durden and Daily Update Team
Note: We may need to paraphrase, but the notes are accurate
Watch here:
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Summarized (Full) Notes
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If you see a business or person not following the guidelines and putting others at risk call 833-KY-SAFER (833-597-2337) or report it on the website
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Anything I can make guaranteed profit on. It is a Catch 22 though. The bigger leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) have more people wagering on them, so the odds of finding lines that differ between sports books is tougher. This is because the betting line only moves when too many people are wagering on 1 side. The casino Sportsbooks make their money on sports bets by collecting a commission on losing bets. This is called the Vigorish or Vig for short. The most common odds are 11 to 10. This means that if you want to win $100 you are risking $110. For example, you place a bet on the Giants at the casino sports book and pay $110. How to make money betting online. The way to make money betting without gambling is called matched betting. Matched betting is different from gambling, because you’re not playing to win. When you’re matched betting, it really doesn’t matter who wins the game. You will make money whatever the result. How? Sports Betting; Betting Advice; Betting Systems; A Simple Betting System can be both Profitable and Affordable. The simplicity of a betting system does not necessarily rule out profitability. Simple betting systems may lead to success and also save bettors money. Pro bettors make their money on bets that sportsbooks offer that give them even the slightest betting advantage. The key to becoming a profitable sports bettor is being able to find advantages, opportunities where the line a book is offering is vulnerable.

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