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It was a beautiful day in North Dakota. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and I had just puked all over myself. Again. You’d think that after fifteen years of living with chronic illness, I’d be used to my body. But no, cystic fibrosis has a mind of its own. The worst thing? As I lay in bed, my stupid bag IV bag was blocking the view of my gymnastics medals and trophies. Not that I stood any shot of making the team this year. Freshman year I was considered a protégée; this year I’m the freak who fell asleep in the locker room. That’s CF— one minute I feel superhuman (or at least human), but the next minute I feel so tired I can barely run through my routines. Then we have today. I’m fairly certain I’m not going to survive long enough to compete for a spot on the competition roster. My head pounded as the sunlight hit my eyes. “Sara, I need you!” Like magic, Sara was already pulling the blankets off my body. “I’m here Sean, I’m here,” she said as she loaded my blankets into a laundry bag. “I think we need to get you to the hospital.” “No, please. Just give me a few more days on the IV.” “Sean, it’s been over a week. Your fever has only gotten worse.” I began to cry, sobbing into my pillow. All I ever wanted was to feel normal in my own skin. Because being normal comes with happiness, right? I wanted to fall in love, I wanted to get married, maybe even have a family. I kicked my IV just enough to see my trophies: evidence of the alternate reality version of myself. There was a photo of me in freshman year, on the rings. Even with my long hair whipping all over my face, I nailed my gymnastics routine like a rock star. I was the youngest person to ever win an individual gold at the state level. I wiped tears from my eyes as Sara handed me a clean shirt. Who am I kidding? I’m going to die alone in a hospital bed. “Don’t cry.” Sara kissed my cheek. “You know, with how light your eyes are, you look like an ice-zombie.” “What?” I instantly perked up. Sara always knew how to make me smile. “Once we get to the hospital, I want to braid your fairy-princess hair.” I laughed. For the record, I do not have fairy-princess hair. I have surfer hair, long blonde waves that cascade down my back. Hair destined for a dive into the Pacific Ocean. Sometimes when I’m in the shower I’ll stand under the flow, letting the water wash over my face. In my mind I’m in California, emerging from beneath the waves. I look nothing like Sara, my remarkable sister. I like to call her my twin since we’re the same age—not that we have anything in common, beyond sharing a room. I’m six-foot tall, which doesn’t help much when your sport of choice is gymnastics. I have my meds to thank for that; for the first fourteen years of my life I was prescribed human growth hormones to give my sick body a fighting chance. While my adorable, amazing sister was a brilliant science nerd, destined to change the world. I was snapped back to reality by a coughing fit. I could feel the mucus trying to come out, but my lungs were seizing up. I reached for my inhaler. The medicine helped relax my lungs enough to take in air, but now the room was spinning. “Sara, I don’t think I can make it out of bed.” Sara was already gone. She quickly returned with our mother, who lifted me out of bed and helped me to the door. “Sara, disconnect his IV, make note of how much is left in the bag, and then I need you to grab my keys and start the car.” I kind of passed out just as we got going, but at least I was lying with my head in Sara’s lap. That was about as comfortable as I was going to get. She was cradling my head in her arms. Although small, my sister was always my hero. She could do it all: administer IVs; monitor my blood sugar; and even perform chest physiotherapy to loosen the mucus in my lungs. Mom was brave, too. She always had been, from the day she’d chosen to adopt an abandoned baby with CF. Then having to raise us on her own when Dad died on a disaster relief trip to the Philippines. I could feel Sara stroking my face. I looked up to see tears in her eyes. With fifteen years of caring for me, my illness affected her as much as it affected me. I tried to cheer her up. “So, are you going to braid my fairy-princess hair?” She gave me a weak grin. “Let’s hold off on that until you get a bed.” Less than an hour later, I was admitted to the ICU. I couldn’t stop coughing. The port on my side was reopened in an attempt to drain my lungs manually. I had to be put on oxygen and blood thinners to relieve the pressure in my chest. I’m told that the fever spiked into brain damage territory. My antibiotic levels were adjusted: different amounts, different combinations. The nurse brought in a blanket that appeared to be made of hundreds of cold packs fused together. On the third night in the ICU, the dreaded words “breathing tube” were mentioned. I hated breathing tubes. They were unbearably painful and made it impossible to speak. I grabbed Mom’s hand. “Please, I can fight this. You know I can. I just need you to believe in me.” I wanted so badly to get out of bed. I wanted to get back to training, to feel the burn of strength in my muscles. To feel my body pushing itself towards greatness, not just to survive. Hell, freshman year I trained and competed with a fractured wrist and three bruised ribs after getting the living crap kicked out of me. That was how bad-ass I could be when CF wasn’t hijacking my body. Mom turned to the doctor. “What are the other options?” The tall, elderly man looked confused. “I strongly recommend a breathing tube, just until we can get the fever stabilized.” That was the easy answer for him; put the kid on a breathing tube and come back to him later. And I sure as fuck did not want to be tethered to a machine. The way I figured it, the fewer machines I was reliant on, the faster I was going to recover. I wanted to get back to training or I wanted to die. I had little use for the gray area in between. Mom shook her head vigorously. “No. Put him under sedation. It’ll give his body a chance to rest.” “With all due respect, Mrs. Foster—” “You listen to me—that boy is more than numbers on a chart.” “I know this is difficult—” “He’s my son!” She squeezed my hand. Sara was already holding my other hand. “Sean’s on full oxygen and he’s still breathing on his own. I’m choosing to have faith in him.” The doctor quietly left the room. Mother kissed my forehead. “I love you. And I’ll always believe in you.” The next day, the fever went down to a better, yet still unsafe level. I suffered a seizure due to lack of oxygen to my brain, prompting the doc’s insistence on a breathing tube. That, or a tracheotomy. I was strong, but would not survive the ordeal unscarred. Mother looked to Sara. “Tracheotomy,” Sara quickly answered. The doctor would be cutting a hole in my throat, inserting a tube that would attach to a ventilator and function as an alternative means of supplying oxygen to my weakened lungs. The process would be much more invasive and painful, but at least I would still be able to speak. By my eighth day in the hospital, I was too weak to remain conscious for more than few hours a day. My lungs were failing and if the infection spread to my heart, I could very well be dead in a few months. I stared at the ceiling, trying not to think about the ache in my throat or the pounding in my head. I seemed a little dead from the neck down. A soft snore made me look to Sara. She was slumped in the seat by my bed with a book resting on her lap. I couldn’t make out the title, but it looked science-y and intimidating. She’d been with me all week, having been given permission by her school to study at the hospital. It seemed to take minutes of effort to coordinate my arm muscles, but I managed to reach over and nudge her awake. “Go to school tomorrow, please.” “Why?” she whispered. “I want stay with you. I want to be by your side when you get out of this bed. That’s the way it’s always been!” “Go to school,” I repeated. I knew what she meant. Whenever I was hospitalized, she was always by my side. “It’s not worth it for you to stay.” I didn’t dare look in her direction. She gripped my hand. “I have nothing to look forward to at school. You’re all I have.” I sighed. Sadly, she was probably correct. Her vigilance in caring for me didn’t exactly do much for her social life. “Maybe a miracle will be waiting,” I said as I yanked my hand away, a little ruder then I should have. “Or maybe you’ll die in your sleep.” Sara took a deep breath, shook her head, and left the room. The next day, Sara didn’t show up at nine as usual, which was good— it meant she’d probably gone to school. Playing hooky was like sacrilege to her. Some part of me saw this as God throwing me a life line. A little after five she scampered in, taking a seat on the plastic chair by my bed. “Sean, are you awake?” “Is that my miracle?” I asked motioning my head to the doorway, which framed a tall, supermodel-like silhouette. Sarah turned my room lights on for me. I squinted, but then couldn’t stop staring as the girl walked towards the bed. The stunningly beautiful Latina wore her hair in a pixie cut with bangs sweeping over her eyes. She lovingly caressed my hand. “Hello, Jenny-Q.” Even with her new look, I would recognize her beauty anywhere. Up close I could see her caramel skin, high cheekbones, pouty lips and large brown eyes that sparkled with hints of gold. “Hey, Sean,” she whispered. “Sorry, I’m so nervous. I didn’t even know if you’d remember me. I have no idea what to say. I know if my dad was here, he’d try to get us to pray, or some shit like that.” “Remember you? You saved my life. I don’t know what I was thinking, that day. I should’ve run.” “No shit,” Sara muttered. She still hadn’t really forgiven me for talking back to Richie Cross like I was on some kind of suicide mission. “I knew what to expect, after my run-in with Lisa,” I admitted, not meeting Sara’s eyes. “Richie wasn’t about to let me get away with screwing around with his girl. It had to be me coming on to her, because Lisa would never cheat on him, no.” “Why I thought I’d get on better with that douchebag than Lisa had, I’ll never know.” Jen rolled her eyes. “I still can’t believe he called you an ass-cancer.” “Yeah, well. I shouldn’t have told him I had cancer. It just seemed easier than explaining Cystic Fibrosis to a dumbfuck.” Sarah folded her arms. “I get that, but you didn’t do yourself any favors with your comeback.” She glared at Jen, who was giggling. I’d told Richie that I’d rather be an ass-cancer than the only black guy at White Creek with a micro-penis, and then came the beat-down. I remembered the ‘fight’ clear as day. I’d lifted my chin, daring Richie and his gang of dickwads to attack. In the moment, I honestly felt like I could take whatever they had to give, but the blows came too fast and too hard. I could hear people laughing, even cheering. My efforts to shield my face were proving pointless as my attackers dragged my body away from the lockers and started stomping my head. It was when I’d started to succumb to the pain that I heard screams and voices coming to my defense. One by one, the attackers stepped off, but before I could start to feel the relief, Richie grabbed me by the hair and blew cigarette smoke directly into my blood-covered face. It was Jenny-Q who’d rummaged in my bag and helped me with my inhaler, preventing a choking spiral that would’ve ended me in minutes. But it got her slapped hard. Through eyes which were rapidly swelling shut, I saw Richie hauling her down the hallway by her arm, railing at her about her lack of respect. “Yo! Earth to Sean!” Sara said, shaking my arm. “Were you sleeping with your eyes open?” “Sorry.” I smiled at Jenny, still feeling guilty that I couldn’t do a damn thing about what Richie did to her after she’d defended me. “I never forgot your courage, Jenny-Q. Hell, I didn’t even get to thank you. Where did you go?” She shrugged. “I took a little ‘hiatus’ from school. Anyway, like I told Sara, Jenny-Q was a slut with super-short shorts and over-processed ringlets. Now I’m just Jen.” “I like the pixie cut,” I told her. “New era, new image, right?” “Yeah, that, and also I used so much hair product that I gave myself a scalp infection.” Covering her embarrassment, she grabbed the bed controls and took it upon herself to move my body to an upright position. Her fingers brushed a lock of hair from my face, tucking it behind my ear. “I just want to see those beautiful eyes.” I held her gaze for a long moment, trying to figure out her body language. It seemed like she was being more than gentle—I felt a little like she was hitting on me. Sara glanced back from the muted TV. She’d been surfing the channels. “Jen knows all the cool hospital tricks, like how to get nonfamily into the ICU.” I grinned. “How come?” “Her brother died of cancer.” I flinched at my sister’s total lack of tact and looked into Jen’s beautiful eyes. “Oh, God, I’m so sorry.” “Yeah, Cam died of liver cancer when he was eighteen, and I was eleven. Neither of my parents were viable donors.” She looked at the ceiling as if looking to God. “I was conceived on the off-chance I could save him. Cam developed tumors in his liver when he was two years old. All my parents’ time and energy was put into giving him a little… longer.” Sara blinked. “Wow, that’s kind of harsh. I know my mom loves Sean more than me, but—” “Sara, that’s not true,” I snapped. I hoped she was being sarcastic, but wasn’t sure. Things had been a little ropey between her and Mom for a while. Jen raised her hand. “The point is, Sara, you love him too. It was the same for me and Cam. There’s a story he used to tell me about the day I was born. I was passed off to my grandma because my parents needed to check on Cam in the ICU. Grandma thought it was inappropriate for a new mother to be away from her baby, so she took it upon herself to bring me to the ICU and put me into Cam’s arms. He told me that in that moment he felt like a superhero because he had someone to watch over, someone to love.” “Yeah, I’ll bet.” I could only imagine what that felt like, to be suddenly given the chance to be someone’s hero. Part of me wondered, at what point in his short life Cam realized that Jen was born only to serve as spare parts. To me, that would be the most heartbreaking aspect. To know that not only were you destined to die, you couldn’t protect the one person you cared about most. Jen’s voice was breaking. “When my mom tried to take the baby away, Cam cried. He was the only person who ever loved me. The day he died, I wanted to die too.” I cupped her face in my hands, looking into her eyes. “You’re too beautiful to cry.” Sara giggled. “You two are so cute together, like something out of a magazine.” Jen stuck out her tongue. “Teen Vogue or Hustler?” “Vanity Fair, at least their gorgeous supermodels keep their clothes on.” “I can roll with that, but I’ll never be a model.” Sara rolled her eyes. “I don’t do false modesty.” “No, really…” Jen lifted her shirt slightly, revealing a large scar on her otherwise perfect abs. “A chunk of my eight-year-old liver bought my brother a few more years.” I stared. “Wow. That’s quite the war wound.” “It’s a permanent reminder of how I failed him.” “You didn’t fail him,” Sara said. “Medical science failed him. That, and not enough people walking marathons while wearing colorful ribbons.” Jen covered her mouth as she laughed. “You are so bad, Sara.” I put my arm around Jen, pulling her close. “Can I touch your scar?” “Yeah, I guess.” I slid my hand over her abs, feeling the raised tissue. She released a soft sigh. Taking courage, I moved her hand towards my drainage port, but her hand recoiled. She smiled too brightly and pulled back, pulling her shirt down. “Anyway! I know how to hook up a gaming system to a crappy wall-mounted TV in Iowa, how to sneak a refill of ice chips from the unlocked faculty break room in Nebraska, how to smuggle in outside food in New Mexico, and—most importantly—how to do most of the nurse’s job.” “Uh… good?” “And pushing the little red button is a fifty-fifty shot at best, am I right? Nurse call button, my ass.” I forced myself to laugh at Jen’s joke. It was so cool that she hated hospitals just as much as I did, but I was still stung from misreading her. She got up and headed for the door, all smiles, but seeming like she needed to get out quickly. I slumped in bed, really needing her to give me a second chance. “Hey, do you need to go already?” Jen smiled. “Probably best if I do right now. I’ll be back. I promise.” Chapter 2 Jen returned as promised, and for the next few weeks, I had the time of my life. Jen would accompany Sara to the hospital. We would all talk about poetry, philosophy, and why PC gaming was better than any console package the major companies could put out. They would get my homework and help me complete assignments as I slowly regained my strength. “Why do I need four years of math to graduate?” I groaned. Geometry was a little better than algebra since it was the art of measuring shapes, as opposed to trying to find numbers that didn’t exist. “If I’m passing geometry, then it’s not that difficult.” Jen walked me through each question, massaging my shoulders, while Sara worked on my English and history essays. “You have to read Romeo and Juliet,” Sara said, tossing Jen a DVD of the late nineties punk version to put into her laptop. Jen smirked. “I cannot believe you own this movie.” “It’s the better one,” Sara pointed out. “Colorful costumes, special effects, and they still used the same script.” I laughed. “It’s frickin’ Shakespeare—they can’t change the script!” I was out of the ICU, the infection completely cleared. I had my own room in the main pediatric unit, another hospital-survival trick Jen had mastered. She explained that getting the right room was a similar process to getting the best table at a restaurant; if you could convince the staff you wouldn’t be much trouble, you could earn yourself a heavy dose of privacy. Jen and Sara snuck in candy and fast food while Mom sat in a corner, working on her laptop. She would occasionally look up and see the three of us laughing. Whenever our eyes met, I could see her smiling. Most importantly, unlike in the ICU, visitors could stay overnight. Jen often texted her father in the evening: “Spending the night with Sean and his sister. Their mother will be present.” I thought that was weirdly formal, but it wasn’t for me to say. Jen cuddled next to me in my bed (which was a strict hospital no-no), but Sara was a good human alert system. She was a light sleeper. If Sara detected movement towards our room from any approaching nurse, she’d spring out of her seat, waking both me and Jen. On more than one occasion I would awake alone, seeing Jen and Sara asleep on chairs. There was no way Jen was never caught. So, I assumed my two best friends were just that expertly skilled at talking their way out of incriminating situations. It took me a while to realize that Jen never got any reply from her father. Ever. “I guess I should just take that to mean, ‘whatever, get home eventually,’ right?” Jen said as she rested her elbows on the bed railing. “Maybe your texts aren’t going through?” “You don’t know my father.” “Ok then, let’s get to know our dads. I’ll start. My dad worked for the Red Cross.” “Worked? Did he retire?” “He passed away when Sean and I were three,” Sara answered. “We mostly know him through photos and stories. I wish I had more memories of him. So, what does your dad do for a living?” “Both my parents are in real estate.” I noticed that occasional, somber expression taking root once again. “Always? Since the dawn of time?” Sara joked. “No. Before that, my father was in the military.” “What did he do in the military?” “I don’t know—the usual soldier stuff.” Clearly, there was more to the story. Was he disabled? I knew that wasn’t any of my business, but she was pretty open about her brother’s death. I grabbed her phone and hit call. Jen grabbed it back and smacked me in the face. “Ow!” I touched my sore eye. “Was that necessary?” “Be grateful you’re already in the hospital.” “Are you seriously telling me I can’t call your dad?” Jen fiddled with her screen and then pulled up a picture. “This is my father, Master Sergeant Diego Miguel Quinto.” Sara made her way over. “I want to see!” Jen’s father was a muscular man with a tattooed chest. His dark eyes looked directly at the camera with an intimidating gaze. I blinked. “Woah. He’s… he’s not very… small.” Sara laughed. “He’s not that scary. He’s actually kind of hot, like Benjamin Bratt—muy caliente.” Jen scrubbed her face like she was trying to soap the image from her eyes. “That’s my dad you’re talking about. Oh, by the way, caliente means spicy, so unless you want to eat him—” “What if I do?” Jen shook her head as she put her phone away. “You two are a bunch of children.” I had to agree with Sara; the guy was good-looking, clearly the source of Jen’s good genes. She had his dark eyes, slender nose, and high cheekbones. They even had similar lips. Part of me wanted to meet the guy just to see if he had Jen’s smile. The days went by quickly with my two best friends by my side. I was healthier than I’d been for a long time. The doctor even authorized the removal of my neck trach. When I wasn’t trying to catch up with work from class, I enjoyed a little downtime with Jen while Sara caught a few zees on the mattress in the corner of the room. Jen and I liked watching movies on her phone. One evening, we were following a television show where contestants had to make meals out of a random section of items, like hot dogs with caviar and cotton candy. Though my cystic fibrosis usually did a number on my appetite, I watched the chefs at work, marinating and grilling. One chef even wrapped his cut of meat in puff pastry. I was becoming genuinely hungry. On another preparation table, the contestants were forced to cook bison with quinoa, saffron cookies, and guava. “Sean, if you stop drooling on my shoulder, I’ll get you a candy bar.” “I want to try bison someday. I think it would be like beef but better.” “Same here, except that I hate the idea of death; I hate giant roasted animals—” “What, like blue whales? Mammoths?” Jen rolled her eyes. “No, I mean whole chicken, whole fish, or whole anything-that-looks-like-a-corpse. I love how dead cow is called beef, and the dead baby cow is called veal. Helps us humans forget they were ever living creatures, or that they’d ever experienced thought or emotion.” “Fish is fish and chicken is chicken,” I pointed out. “And thanks to you, I’ll have to fall asleep contemplating the deep thoughts of farm animals.” “Sorry, not sorry.” “I really want to try bison. How are you with steaks?” Jen smiled. “Okay-ish. I guess I’ll take a vow to eat bison with you someday.” She ran her fingers through my hair. Jen’s face was already so close to mine. She turned and our lips touched, once then twice. I closed my eyes. I had kissed a lot of girls, but Jen was different. Her touch was pure love. “Open your eyes, Sean,” Jen whispered, caressing my face. “I want to see those beautiful eyes.” I obliged, cupping her face as our lips met for one long sexy kiss. Jen pulled herself onto my lap. She slipped her hands down my shoulders as we made out in my bed. Her abs tightened as I caressed her waist. My hands looked huge on her body. Suddenly, Jen grabbed my wrist so hard I jumped. “Did I do something wrong?” “No, no but…” She started to cry. “I can’t do this yet. I’m so sorry.” Not knowing what to say, I pulled her down to lie on the bed with me, her body resting on mine as she sobbed into my shoulder. “There’s something I have to tell you.” “About Richie Cross?” I asked. Jen nodded, but didn’t say anything more. I cleared my throat. “You don’t have to explain anything if you don’t want.” “I… I do. I need to.” I gripped her hand, and then still for what seemed like an age while she described how the guy had made her life a living hell. By the time Jen was done talking, she was hoarse and I was struck dumb—dumb enough to manage little more than a vague wave when she hopped off the bed and said she was going to get a drink. Sara went with her, trailing behind like she didn’t want to leave Jen alone, but didn’t want to crowd her, either. She’d woken up while Jen was crying and heard everything. The whole story made me feel sick to the gut, even sicker than the cheaper-than-shit jello in the tiny pot by my bedside. She’d taken a risk sticking up for me on the day that Richie and his crew tried to beat the last living daylights out of me, and the risk had cost her dearly. I had no idea what I’d done to earn her trust. I didn’t even know what to feel: relief that she didn’t blame me for Richie’s treatment of her after the day she’d stopped him from beating me, or guilt for my part in making the asshole turn on her the way he did. She hadn’t dumped him. That wasn’t an option; she was scared. Her association with Richie had driven away pretty much anyone at school who might rescue her from him. Nobody wanted to experience his rage after the example he’d made of me. She’d played meek-little-mouse to keep him happy until the inevitable escalation occurred; he sexually assaulted her and dumped her off on her parents’ lawn. I closed my eyes, as if that would erase the mental image of her being pitched out of a car, unconscious. It didn’t work. Not even fantasizing about hiring a hit man to beat eighteen shades of crap out of Richie made me feel any better. “Sorry to disturb you, honey.” The soft voice made me jump. A blood pressure cuff started tightening around my bicep. I looked up to see the night-shift nurse giving me one of her pitying smiles. I quirked one back at her and pretended to try to go back to sleep, just grateful she didn’t ask why I was upset. After a few moments, her footsteps retreated. I clenched my fists under the blankets. Following the assault, Jen’s father had tried to do what I wanted to do so badly—smack Richie in the face. He’d confronted the asshole, taking him down with a punch and then busting Richie’s car up a little, which simply led to Richie’s parents filing counter-charges for assault on their son. Telling me about her father’s response to the situation, Jen had been so venomous about his actions that I was almost a little scared at her anger towards him. I couldn’t blame her for being mad that he’d nearly undermined the investigation into Richie’s assault on her; she needed those charges to stick. If her life was ever going to be the same again, he had to be identified as the guilty party and removed from school. In the end, it was Richie who shot himself in the foot. Confident that the investigation into him had gotten nowhere, he posted the video of them having “sex.” When that video hit social media, I was still out of school, recovering from Richie’s beating, so I never got to see it. Thankfully, not too many other people did either, because he was reported by another member of his supposedly closed group and the film was taken down and saved for evidence within a couple of hours of being posted. The time stamp on the video matched up with Jen’s account of the assault, confirming his guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt, but no charges were ever pressed. Jen’s mother had accepted a six-figure hush payment from Nathan Cross while Diego was away on business. Fast, loud feet stamped across the tile floor in my room, startling me. The girls were back from the cafeteria and it looked like they’d been fighting. “What’s up?” I croaked. Sara looked indignant and shocked at the same time. “I somehow made her mad.” “Somehow?” My mouth went dry watching the two of them getting louder and louder. I swallowed to get spit back in my mouth. It didn’t work. “Guys—” “I just asked Jen why she was so pissed at her dad when it was her mother who accepted the payoff.” “This isn’t rocket science, Sara. He let my mom take a payout in exchange for Richie’s full exoneration. How did that help me? My folks got the money, but I got to remain the school slut. And you know what’s just as bad? Richie still has a clean record. He could go to college and do this to another girl, and get off—again.” “You can’t do anything about that—” “But my parents could’ve done something! Dad should’ve made Mom give the money back.” “Well… you did say your mom was kinda forceful.” Jen slammed her coke can on my bedside table. “That is so not the point! He wasn’t even around to stop this whole pay-off shit from happening. I was in the hospital for a whole week after what Richie did, but Dad only visited that first night when I woke up. Where was he after that? On some ‘urgent’ business trip, that’s where.” “Well, maybe he urgently needed to tell his senior people why he needed time off work,” Sara pressed. “Some employers are jerks. You have to shove police reports in their faces to make them understand there’s a crisis.” “He’s in real estate, he works for himself!” “What about his clients? He has to keep the business going, right?” “Oh, just… don’t!” Jen paced the room, her fists clenched. For a horrible second, it looked like she was going to storm out and not come back. As much as I loved Sara, sometimes she didn’t know when to quit playing Devil’s advocate. I cleared my throat and fixed Sara with the calmest gaze I could manage. “It’s her situation, Sis. She knows more about it than we do.” Sara shifted from foot to foot. “I’m sorry, okay? It’s just… I know what it’s like to not be able to help someone as much as I want to, and I figured he probably felt the same way when trying to deal with wealthy shitbags like the Cross family.” Jen caught her anxious glance, and released a long breath. She then made one of those exaggerated “om” gestures with her hands. “I’m really sorry,” Sara insisted. “I was just trying to help you see that maybe your dad didn’t want to neglect you.” “All right,” Jen finally said. “I wasn’t trying to rip you a new one, but I need to ask you a favor. Just… remember that I’ve seen every side of my father. You’ve never even met him.” “Sure.” Sara looked contrite. “I get it.” As the girls sat down together, sharing cautious smiles, I swear my blood pressure came down about twenty points. I grinned at Jen. “It’s not Sara’s fault she likes Diego so much. She’s depraved and lusts for anyone who looks like Benjamin Bratt.” Sarah slugged me in the arm. Jen finally cracked a smile. “If anything, he looks like Al Pacino in Scarface—if Scarface were a disabled vet who worked out nearly every day.” “Your father is disabled?” I asked. He certainly didn’t appear disabled. But then again neither did I. Especially on my good days. “A war injury,” she explained. “He gets really bad muscle spasms in his back.” Sara looked to Jen. “But he’s able to work out? In that picture he looks ripped.” “The more he maintains his strength, the less his body deteriorates.” I held Jen in my arms. “Jen, I love you. I still want to come to your house and meet him for myself.” Jen shook her head. “It’s not my dad I’m worried about. He knows how to turn on the charm when he has to. It’s my mom. She’s… she hates anything with a dick.” “As the only person in this room with a dick, I’m insisting you explain that statement.” “She hates my dad, that much is certain. And although she hated Richie, she was more than happy to sit back and watch things go wrong, just so she could call me a disappointment. And then there’s your disability.” “Your mother hates disabled people?” I asked. “After my brother died, she just lost it. She’s in mourning every moment of the day. I can just see her taking one look at you and feeling threatened by your looks, your talent—all despite your illness. She’s going to try to knock you down just to prove that she can, and I don’t want to witness that.” “I’ve been knocked down plenty of times.” Jen looked up at me. “If you guys want to push into my private life—” “I’m not doing that.” “Not taking ‘no’ for an answer is pushing, Sean.” Jen huffed a big breath and looked back at me. “If you want me to let you in, then you let me in.” I frowned. “I have been.” “What did Lisa Anders do to you?” I felt a shiver down my spine. “You know what she did to me, the whole school does.” “Yours is the only side of the story I haven’t heard.” part 2: https://www.reddit.com/Wholesomenosleep/comments/d0pu3p/dakota_son_part_2/
On this day in 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked. During the day, three NFL games were taking place.
December 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy. We already know what happened in Hawaii that day, but what about events on the mainland? Since the attack was on a Sunday, there was bound to be an NFL game or two, right? Indeed there were. Three games were going on at the time of the attack, and each handled the news in various yet similar ways. The weekend of December 7, 1941 was considered Week 11, the final week of the regular season.
Entering their game against their crosstown rival in Comiskey Park, the 9–1 Bears were hot in the race for the NFL title. The Packers had already finished their regular season with a 10–1 record, so in order to force a tiebreaker playoff game, the Bears needed to win. Speaking of their rival, members of the Packers like head coach Curly Lambeau were in attendance see how the playoff picture shaped up. No pressure, Chicago. Luckily for them, the Cardinals weren't the greatest of teams in the 1940s; in fact, they would be one of the worst in NFL history, going on to lose 29 consecutive games between 1942 and 1945. The Cards entered this game 3–6–1. Things did not get off to a good start for the Bears as the Cardinals scored two unanswered touchdowns. The Bears attempted to rally, and by halftime were down 17–14. A Hugh Gallarneau TD put the Bears up by three in the third quarter, but the Cards responded with a TD of their own via a Ray Mallouf pass to Bert Johnson. Late in the game, Johnson intercepted Sid Luckman to place the Cards in prime position for an upset. Then the Cards punted. A 39-yard touchdown pass by Luckman to George McAfee once again pushed the Bears to the lead, and McAfee delivered the final blow with a 70-yard TD run to win 34–24. By improving to 10–1, the Bears were now tied with the Packers at the top of the Western Division standings, ensuring a playoff game between the two to advance to the Championship Game. The Bears won that game 33–14 and ultimately defeated the Giants in the title game. Those entering Comiskey Park for the Cardinals game first heard reports of the attack from newsboys standing outside the gate. Inside, fans were not told of the news, but the public address announcer relayed messages to all military personnel in the stands to report to their stations, though he did not say why. Eight years later, Cardinals player-turned-head coach Buddy Parker commented:
"The 1941 game in Comiskey park has no equal in my memory. Until late in the fourth quarter it looked as if we were going to upset the Bears and force them into a play-off with Green Bay for the title. And don't think those Packers, from the upper deck, weren't rooting for us! News of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor added to the excitement of the day. I didn't do much in the game—I was on defense most of the time."
Happy Tuffy Leemans Day! Leemans, star running back, and his Giants welcomed the Brooklyn Dodgers to the Polo Grounds. To commemorate his special day, Leemans was given a $1,500 defense bond by former Postmaster General James Farley. Not exactly the most creative of gifts, but do remember what the world was going through at the time even if the United States hadn't entered the war yet. During his pre-game speech, Leemans opened with, "Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Chairman, Commiteemen, Mr. Farley, Teammates..." He turned to the Dodgers sideline and slowly added, "... and Brooklyn Dodgers." Figuring it was a job at Brooklyn, fans began to cheer until he added, "I didn't mean to say it that slowly." Sitting at 8–2, the Giants had already clinched the Eastern Division as the second-place Dodgers were two games behind, while the third-place Redskins were three games back so this matchup didn't have any playoff implications. Nevertheless, New York bragging rights were on the line. Well, the Giants ended up getting stomped. The game started off on a rough note as Giants kicker Ward Cuff sent the opening kickoff out of bounds, while the Dodgers' Pug Manders scored three straight touchdowns to give them the 21–0 lead in the fourth quarter. A Kay Eakin 38-yard touchdown reception prevented it from becoming a shutout. Even with Leemans, the Giants could only record 73 rushing yards. "The Giants may be champions of the Eastern Division but the Dodgers are champs of the Giants—but definitely!" Gene Ward of the Daily News wrote. "The big, bad men from the Borough of Brooklyn knocked most of the luster from the New Yorkers' eastern crown and completely spoiled Tuffy Leemans' Day right out in plain sight of 55,051 fans in the Polo Grounds[.]" During the second half, news from Pearl Harbor reached the Polo Grounds. Like in Comiskey Park, the PA told all servicemen to get to their units.Radio broadcasts of the game were interrupted by bulletins of the attack. David Hinckley of the Daily News wrote in 2003:
As fans did not habitually bring radios to ballgames in 1941, and other media were not yet omnipresent, word of the attack on Pearl Harbor spread slowly and sporadically. While some attendees would later vividly remember hearing bulletins on the public address system, the papers the next day said nothing was announced until after the game, when military personnel were told to report to their stations. During the game, according to the papers, the closest thing to a war-related announcement was a request that Col. William Donovan contact his office in Washington. Most players reportedly heard the news at halftime, from radio reports. Sportswriters, in the custom of the day, did not go to the locker room then or after the game to record their responses. Newspaper articles on the game the next day did not mention the Pearl Harbor angle. Nor did reports on that night's Rangers-Bruins hockey game at the Garden, which drew more than 15,000 fans. Sportswriter Hy Turkin of the Daily News called various sports bodies Monday and found that only two expected the impending war to cause any curtailment.
In 1943, Leemans tried to enlist in both the Navy and Army, but was denied both times because of hearing issues from a concussion he suffered against the Bears in 1942.
As said earlier, this game was pretty meaningless in the playoff picture with the Redskins and Eagles so far back, but a season finale is a season finale. The game was a back-and-forth as Sammy Baugh threw three touchdown passes. While a hat trick is nothing to scoff at, the rest of his and Eagles QB Tommy Thompson's passes were messy as they combined to throw ten interceptions (five each). By the final gun, Washington was able to score 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to hold Philadelphia off for the 20–14 win. Shortly after kickoff, Associated Press writer Pat O'Brien received a telegram to "keep [his game recap] short." Miffed at having his article size dictated, O'Brien turned to his press box neighbor Shirley Povich of the Washington Post and commented, "For five years I've been covering these Redskin games and now some jerk is telling me how much to write." After a quick conversation with his telegraph operator, O'Brien was given the following message: "The Japs have just kicked off. Pearl Harbor bombed. War now." Further reports of Pearl Harbor arrived at Griffith Stadium during the second quarter. Redskins owner George Preston Marshall decided against telling the public because he felt it would distract the fans from the game. Instead, like in Chicago and New York, the PA announcer juggled between calling the game and delivering notices to servicemen in the stands to get moving without explaining why. It shouldn't come as a surprise that something was wrong if military personnel were suddenly being ordered to their posts. "We didn't know what the hell was going on," Baugh said. "I had never heard that many announcements one right after another. We felt something was up, but we just kept playing." In the press box, further conversation continued. Povich wrote:
In a nearby box seat I spotted the former managing editor of The Washington Post, my old boss, Norman Baxter, and was prompted to alert him to the grim news. He also was an immediate skeptic. "Something's wrong," said Baxter, sharp on geography. "How could their bombers overlook our bases in the Philippines and fly all the way to Hawaii?" A good question, until my return to the press box where I was greeted with a follow-up message to O'Brien from the AP: "And they've bombed the Philippines, too." Now there was a new announcement over the horns: "Mr. J. Edgar Hoover is asked to report to his office." Soon the announcements began to cascade: "General so and so, and General so and so are asked to report to their offices immediately." Being heard also were calls for other admirals, and colonels, and Cabinet members. The crowd may have deduced there was some kind of an emergency, but a scarce few were in the know. To be remembered is that this was the era before fans took radios to the games, and the stadium was too vast for the news of war to spread quickly, even if the reports were to be believed. But now getting into the act, too, were the city's five daily newspapers. Anticipating the urgency for extra editions, they began paging their respective circulation managers over public address. By the end of the first half, only one of what had been a swarm of photographers was now working the game. Most others had been summoned to the White House, and to the Japanese Embassy to record the burning of documents, the smoke scene, and to other points of interest.
Spectators finally received the news when they left the stadium. "Everybody could feel it," said Baugh. Povich added:
For almost three hours the stadium crowd had been ignorant of the sneak attack on their country, deliberately kept from them on orders of Redskins owner George Preston Marshall. On a day when the United States was suddenly plunged into the biggest war in history, with thousands of Americans already dead or dying, Marshall ordered his staff to make no public announcement to the stadium crowd. Marshall's later explanation was a statement of his priorities, peculiar to himself: "I didn't want to divert the fans' attention from the game."
At Least 17 NBA MVP Votes Will Change Hands In 2019
This year I'm estimating that at least 17 NBA MVP votes held by media members will change hands. Meaning they're being given out to different reporters or publications than had them in 2018. That's 17% of the vote and can significantly influence the outcome of the league's most prestigious individual award. So why shouldn't we try and predict who these folks are and will be. Who am I and why should you believe me? Short answer... I'm a random dude on the internet. Long answer... In 2017 I determined Russell Westbrook's MVP victory over James Harden nearly six weeks before the NBA Awards show by identifying votes then running simulations. Last year I tried to predict the 2018 MVP voters here on Reddit before the All-Star Game. Which I'm going to do again now. By my estimation there are at least 17 NBA MVP media votes, or 17% of the total vote will change hands this year. This includes the potential for an impressive construction of clout by The Athletic. How The All-Star Vote Impacts The MVP Vote The All-Star starters are determined by a voting pool of: 50% fan vote, 25% player vote and 25% media vote. Full rules from the NBA, (sorry Luka). In 2017: 94.7% of the All-Star media voters also voted for NBA MVP at the end of the year. In 2018: 93% of the All-Star media voters also voted for NBA MVP at the end of the year. It's safe to assume that more than 90% of media members who vote for the All-Star starters will also vote for MVP at the end of the year. So let's get to it... Predicting the Composition of the 2019 MVP Vote Repeat Voters (73 votes): To start... the NBA MVP voting poll is 100 media voters and one NBA fan vote. View the 2017 ballot results here and 2018 ballot results here. That a total of 101 ballots. As of now 73 of the 100 media voters from last season are still with the same publication or media outlet and cover the NBA. For this exercise it is assumed these voters will retain their votes. Find a full list of the 73 voters I built here. Last year this number was 86 (!), which is why there's so many more uncertain votes this season. Assuming all of these journalists are in good standing with both the NBA and their publications then this puts us at 73 of the 100 MVP media votes. International Publications (3 votes): I'm monolingual and can't identify with certainty if a few of the 2018 international voters are still at their past publications.
China: Lisa Shen Yang, Tencent (two-time voter)
Mexico: Diego Martinez Cabrera, Periodico Reforma (one-time voter)
Philippines: TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN (two-time voter)
Lisa Shen Yang had a pretty strange ballot last year. troyatwork did a great project that identified her as the second most unique NBA awards ballot last year. If the NBA swaps in a different Chinese media member don't be surprised. We're going to assume these three still do their thing for these publications and will retain their standing as international voters. This puts us at 76 of 100 MVP media votes. TWO NOTES: It's not certain Nira Khurana with Excelsior (Mexico) is still a reporter, she may be working for the NBA in Mexico now. But the NBA allows its digital journalists to vote. If she does work for the NBA in Mexico then she probably still has a vote. China's Weiping Zhang with CCTV has virtually no online presence, but has voted the last two years. Each of these votes are in the "repeat voters count." Dallas and Eddie Sefko (1 vote): When the NBA introduced the current voting structure it was reported that they would give each NBA media market one vote. Which is why Dallas and Eddie Sefko are in their own section. Eddie Sefko was let go by the Dallas Morning News during the first week of January. He was the longtime beat writer for the Morning News, but it's possible he retained his ballot for the All-Star Game starters. BUT... it was also announced yesterday that he's now working for the Dallas Mavericks. Team employees are not allowed to vote for NBA awards. League employees are, but not team employees (example: your local broadcast team who calls games). It's safe to assume this vote stays in Dallas to have that market represented. If it was pulled from Sefko then it's likely with the Dallas Morning News still. The other most likely option is ESPN's Tim MacMahon. Though I'd give it to The Athletic's Tim Cato. This puts us at 77 of the 100 media votes. Repeat Publications (11 votes): Eleven regional/local publications lost a 2018 MVP voter since last season, but have replaced the journalist. There is a complication that many of these publications lost their writer to The Athletic's new local coverage. It's possible the NBA shifts the local media market vote to The Athletic, example: Salt Lake City's vote. More on this later. Here's the publications who lost voters, but could offer a new voter:
Arizona Republic: Voter Scott Bordow now covers the Arizona Cardinals. Duane Rankin is now the Suns beat reporter.
Indy Star: Voter Clifton Brown left for the Baltimore Ravens. J Michael Falgoust is now the Pacers beat reporter and voted for MVP in 2017 for CSN Washington as the DC media market vote.
Memphis Commerical-Appeal: Voter Ron Tillery left the paper. David Cobb is now the Suns beat reporter.
Miami Herald: Manny Navarro joined The Athletic Miami. Anthony Chiang is now the Heat beat reporter.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Voter Jerry Zogda now covers Minnesota United FC. Chris Hine is now the Timberwolves beat reporter.
NBC Sports Northwest: Voter Jason Quick joined The Athletic Portland. Dwight Jaynes is the "Trail Blazers Insider" for the network, but that could be a team-related position. Joe Freeman is the beat writer for the Oregonian and cast an MVP vote in 2017.
New Orleans Times-Picayune: Voter Will Guillory joined The Athletic New Orleans. Andrew Lopez is now the Pelicans beat reporter.
Oklahoman: Voter Brett Dawson joined The Athletic OKC. Erik Horne is the Thunder beat writer and cast an MVP ballot in 2017 for the Oklahoman.
Orange County Register: Voter Elliott Teaford now covers the Anaheim Ducks. Kyle Goon is now the Lakers beat reporter and Mirjam Swanson is now the Clippers beat reporter (more on this one later as the paper also lost Bill Oram to The Athletic).
Sacramento Bee: Voter Jason Jones joined The Athletic Sacramento. Jason Anderson and Noel Harris now split Kings coverage (more on this later as Ailene Voisin was let go from the paper as well).
Salt Lake Tribune: Voter Tony Jones joined The Athletic SLC. Eric Walden is now the Jazz beat reporter.
NOW -- It's possible the NBA allowed reporters who left newspapers and joined The Athletic to keep their votes. Last year Anthony Slater left the San Jose Mercury News but kept his MVP vote at The Athletic Bay Area. This could impact the votes in Miami, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Portland, Sacramento and Salt Lake City, keeping the vote with the local reporter who had the vote last year. Bottom Line: By the NBA's stated intent these eleven votes will stay in their local media markets either with the new beat writer, staffer at the same publication or The Athletic. This puts us at 88 of 100 media votes. National Reporters Who Switched Publications (2 Votes): We're counting this section as two votes due to how these reporters are moving between publications which have open votes if the NBA's goal is to keep votes with major national publications even if they lost a reporter. These three voters left their past publication, but still cover the NBA with their new publication:
Chris Hayes: Left ESPN for Yahoo! Sports.
Chris Mannix: Left Yahoo! Sports to return to Sports Illustrated.
Vince Goodwill: Left NBC Sports Chicago to do national NBA coverage for Yahoo! Sports.
For this tally we're going to presume that either Chris Hayes or Vince Goodwill will retain an MVP vote under the Yahoo! Sports banner. We'll also presume that Chris Mannix will retain an MVP vote as two 2018 voters from Sports Illustrated have left voting eligibility (Ben Golliver and Lee Jenkins). The NBA may decide to move votes around, but for this it seems likely two of these three folks retain their votes. This puts us at 90 of 100 media votes. The Athletic Again (Counted as no votes here): If you didn't gather from the last section... The Athletic has done a very solid job of swallowing up local NBA reporters and coverage. We touched on all the local reporters who joined The Athletic in a previous section, but there's also some national reporters who transitioned. The Athletic flexed its muscles by picking up several reporters who may keep their votes because they cover the NBA from a national perspective or have a relationship with the NBA which supersedes being a local beat writer. For example: David Aldridge now works for The Athletic in DC. He'll have an MVP vote. Meanwhile Gina Mizell voted for MVP from the Denver Post last year, but likely because she was the Denver media market vote as a beat writer. She now covers the Suns for The Athletic, but the Arizona Republic can easily offer a local media market vote. By my presumption of how these votes are doled out it seems unlikely she'd vote again this year. So here's our national reporters now at The Athletic...
Bill Oram: Covers the Lakers for The Athletic coming from the Orange County Register. It seems likely he would retain a vote as the Register previously had two votes and that the Lakers and their local writer is generally considered a national writer.
David Aldridge: He left Turner and is now the editor-in-chief of The Athletic Washington DC. He's in the freaking Hall of Fame as a reporter. Dude is gonna have his vote.
Frank Isola: Covered the New York Knicks for the New York Daily News but also hosted a show on Sirius Radio and appears on Around The Horn. He's now with The Athletic New York and seems likely to retain a vote as a national voice.
Sam Amick: Left USA Today to cover the NBA at large for The Athletic.
Seems likely that this will produce four more votes. But we won't add them right now. The NBA likely had to decide how much influence they were going to give The Athletic as an organization. Missing Votes (10 Votes, includes the previous section): So with all of this we can now deduce who the 10 missing MVP votes are as of now.
One Vote: Publication Swap. In one of the prior sections we identified three media members who moved but only credited them with two votes.
Four Votes: National Reporters at The Athletic. This is Bill Oram, David Aldridge, Frank Isola and Sam Amick.
Ailene Voisin: She voted in 2017 and 2018 for the Sacramento Bee where she covered the NBA and sports at large for the newspaper. She was laid off in budget cuts and the paper did not replace her position.
Ben Golliver: He voted in 2017 and 2018 as a writer for Sports Illustrated. He's now at the Washington Post which does not allow writers to cast ballots for awards.
Brent Barry: He voted in 2017 and 2018 as a broadcaster for Turner. He's now in the San Antonio Spurs front office.
Gina Mizell: She voted in 2018 and may keep her vote. She moved from the Denver Post to The Athletic Phoenix to cover the Suns. Phoenix has not had two MVP votes since the creation of the new voting system in 2017. She could keep it, but it seems unlikely.
Lee Jenkins: He voted in 2017 and 2018 as a writer for Sports Illustrated. He left journalism and joined the LA Clippers front office/media relations team.
It's safe to believe that there are 5 NBA MVP votes which will be distributed as the league sees fit to national publications. They of course can do whatever they want and have not stuck hard and fast to their stated rules. In total that's 100 predicted votes for the NBA MVP. By this projection at least 17 NBA MVP votes will go to new voters. I'm sure I made a few mistakes and I hope you'll point them out. As the 2019 MVP award has the makings of a contentious one you can bet league offices are tracking who these folks are and where their promotional packages will be heading, probably pretty soon.
I'm 30 years old Male Married and have a 4 months old baby Boy have bachelors degree in Business Administration Major in Marketing I'm Filipino Citizen, I live most of my life here in the Philippines. I have 8 years experience in Sports Betting. Last 2017 I have a chance to go to Australia for 2 months to train and replace employee's who are going to holiday season. I've gained working holiday VISA through my employer as we have Invitation from them to visit Australia. It's always a deam of mine to move abroad with my family. I'm currently thinking living my country for better job/education and life opportunities. Is there anything I can do guys? any advice is really appreaciated.
I'm an 18 year old student from the Philippines and I've been online gambling since 2015. It wasn't all that bad until recently. Since I started gambling until August 2018, the total amount of money I lost was around 2000$. Then at the start of september I was added to a Facebook group dedicated to sports betting and esports betting. I dont know what got into me but I just kept on gambling more money than I have ever had my entire life. It came to the point where I owed a total of 800$ in 3 days of gambling. I even had to lie to my parents to get that much money and after the debt was paid, I gambled again until I owed 900$. This time my parents got suspicious as to why I kept asking for that much money, I had to fess up my addiction. My Dad gave me a second life, he paid all my debts and made me promise to never gamble more than I can afford ever again. NOT EVEN ONE WEEK LATER, I gambled again. This time I owe 1150$ and if I tell my parents this, Im sure they will never help me. I used up all my extra lives and I think this is it. I have to pay 900$ in a week or else I'm fucking toast. Im still a student and bank loans or any other type of "official loans" are not possible since I just turned 18 and I need to get all those valid IDs to start getting loans. Im so fucked and the worst thing is I keep on gambling to catch up with my losses. I keep thinking that this next sports game will make my debt go lower but in reality I keep getting fucked over and over again. Ever since I had this much debt I went and sold everything I owned, even my gaming pc which was my only source of happiness. Im depressed as it is already. I just dont know why I keep doing this to myself. Im pretty sure in a bit Im gonna gamble again to try make the 1150$ go lower. I just dont have any other way of paying. I guess this is my cry for help on reddit. Im too ashamed to post this on my main acc, hence the throwaway. Someone please help my gambling addiction. How do I stop? Im gambling this much money and I dont even have a job yet. Im afraid in 4 years when I graduate Ill use all my salary for gambling. How do I get 1000$ in less than a week, should I beg my parents again? what if they say no? am I going to jail for not paying a debt? Im so lost, I cant even think straight in school. I sold everything and its still not enough to pay. God why does this happen to me. Sorry for the long rant with broken english, its not my mother tongue. If you have good advice to help me through this, please do share, I need a little positivity at this time.
Lacsirax's Long Post #7 - Asia Region Votes (and Oceanian Leaders)
Another week, another enormous batch of civs to sift through. And this week we’ve got my favourite continent of them all – Asia. Why are these regions so exciting? Well, not only does Asia often host more than a few powerhouses (see: Vietnam, Sibir, early Yakutia, Finland) but many of the mods available to vote on are known for their expansionism and knack for war. We also have a lot of civs this week made by our community. So I’m really excited to tear through the lists to pick out the best of the best. We’ll also be doing the Oceanian leaders because there’s like two of them. As usual, make sure to take a gander at the table of uniques. Have you gandered? Then let’s get on with it! REGION #19 – Central Asia and Persia (Pick 2) Asia is split into super-competitive regions and regions where the civs are essentially already picked out for you. This region is firmly in the former camp. There’s a leader vote for Afghanistan, but I’m very interested in either making the final cut, although LS’ Durrani are fairly expansive. Far more expansive however are the Afsharids, who start right in the middle of this region. I’ve not seen any AI game where they haven’t immediately built up a strong military and used it too (although as ever, I’m sure Admiral_Cloudberg will probably contradict me). They also gain production boosts when killing units, so those great biases just stack up. If you’re into powerful civs, look no further. A more culturally unique pick in central Asia might be Oxus, a Neolithic people perfect for those who are still bitter Cucuteni-Trypilia didn’t make it in. They were, however, first to die in my AI Central Asia match, so take them with a grain of salt. Staying in Central Asia, the Samanids are one of AW’s stronger civs, with science bonuses that should make them the Korea of the desert. I would avoid Parthia; while their uniques are enticingly militaristic, they’re also fairly boring, and in any case I’ve only ever seen them turtle – and, on top of all that, they’re in Mk 3. Moving over to Persia and Afghanistan, and there’s even more interesting contenders. The Achaemenids are a solid pick for Persia fans, though their similar colours to the vanilla variant and placement in Mk 3 might make them a somewhat boring pick. I’d rather have the medieval Seljuqs, who have three different strands to their UA, all military-focussed and all powerful. They also have a very dynamic UI, and you know by now how I feel about UIs. The Qajars are another very interesting pick, with uniques that actually work best when they’re the underdog – a very likely scenario for any civ that starts in the difficult Persia region. They also gain free mounted units at ludicrous rates. The Ghaznavids are your best shout for an Afghanistan-centred civ, with a nice UA that offers production boosts to units from trade routes. They’re also made by TopHatPaladin, discord regular and CBR watcher, so you’d be remiss not to give them a vote. Finally, one to avoid at all costs – the Ilkhanate might look fun and sound great, but much like the Golden Horde and indeed vanilla Mongolia they’re an unlikely turtle, far more likely to raze their own capital than anyone else’s (yes, this happens, all the time). We already have one lacklustre Mongolian civ in CBRX; there’s absolutely no reason to have two. My top picks for this region are so hard to narrow down, but I think I’ve settled on the Afsharids, the Seljuqs and the Ghaznavids, in that order. REGION #20 – India and the Himalayas (Pick 3) Another competitive region, but fortunately we can choose three civs to start here, which eases some of the pressure. Many of the civs here are up for region vote; of these we can entirely rule out peace-loving Bhutan, who somehow got into Mk 3. They’re a nice country in the real world, but much like Switzerland, it would be a disservice to their nation’s values for them to thrive in something as cutthroat as the CBRX, and their AI biases reflect that entirely. Regrettably, I have to rule out Maurya too – not because they’re awful, but just because there’s a civ that starts nearby who are far better. That would be Privthi Narayan’s Nepal, whose super-mountains, expansive biases and XP hungry riflemen should see them thrive. Hopefully they win the leader vote, as they’re a real favourite of mine. Another must-have is Indira Gandhi’s India. Built especially for this vote by our very own PR extraordinaire Scissor_fingers, Indira Gandhi takes her namesake’s love for nukes and takes it to the limit. They haven’t been tested on the AI game playing-field yet, but it’s hard to see them being anything other than vicious. I’m into both Sikh Empires, too; both have proven successful in AI games, though I’d still rather see the Sikh Empire over Punjab. Outside the leader votes, and the rabbit-hole gets deeper. The Harappans are one of my favourite civilizations in history, and this mod comes one of my favourite modders, Tomatekh. All that said, average uniques and a patchy AI track record rule them out of this strong region. The Indus’ most reliable civ comes in the form of Pakistan, who field a strong late-game UU and were the eventual victors of AI India (spoilers, I guess, but it was years ago!) Over on the peninsula, we have two of MC’s India split, both with solid selling points. The Chola have a great history, being one of India’s few thalassocracies… but their unique ability is wasted here, and their UU is equally pointless (barbarians don’t spawn in 61 civ AI games). Instead, my heart sides with the Maratha, a more expansive nation that can draft infantry units from their population. The peninsula needs a civ for balance, and these guys eat the Chola for breakfast. My top three, assuming all the leaders I’m supporting get in, would be Indira Gandhi’s India, Privthi Narayan’s Nepal and the Maratha. In a freak turn of events where none of my preferred leaders get in, I would opt for the Maratha, Pakistan and the Sikhs (even though the balance there should all three of those get in would be… questionable). REGION #21 – China (Pick 3) Yet another incredibly dense region (don’t worry, the two after this are much lighter), and even looking only at the leader votes it’s clear there’s competition a plenty. So let’s rule out the Xiongnu now, confirmed for Mk 3 already and with a somewhat irritating AI. The Qin are a tougher call; while LS’ Qin are normally incredibly handy, they performed terribly in Mk 1, and I don’t think they deserve another chance. I’d like to see Captain’s Qin, though, with their unique-feature hording. But the competition is so fierce that I’m not sure they’ll make my top three. Senshidenshi’s Manchu sure are fun to use, but their uniques will be somewhat lost on the poor AI. Still, they’ve proven pretty fierce when tested in AI games, and if for some reason you really want to watch Korea suffer, you could do a lot worse. In China proper, we have a myriad of different dynasties on offer, all more interesting than plain old Wu Zetian. And of course the most exhilarating are the Xia, with their incredible unique ability that alters the nation’s name and city names as the dynasties go by. It’s a phenomenal mod, and a famously terrible AI; while I’ll always have a soft spot for them, I can’t endorse them too much as they’ll likely be eliminated long before their unique abilities kick in. Indeed, if a fierce China is what you’re looking for, the Great Qing (yep, great’s in the name) will do just the job. They dominated a recent series of Cloudberg’s Groundhog Day, with their UA ensuring their military is always up-to-date. The Song are sure to be another popular pick for those looking for a warmonger in this region – both their UUs are incredible. Again, I’d stay clear of the Yuan, whose uniques are actually a little ambiguous (and again… we’ve already got one sub-Mongol nation in this game). My final shoutout then goes to Qocho – it’s not a glamorous civ, but the extra food on deserts and production from plains will come very much in useful for their starting position in the Tarim Basin, far away from anyone else in China. If you’re looking for something to fill the gap between China and Central Asia, Qocho are the best (in fact, only) option. My top three here are, again, very difficult to pick. I think I’ll hand it to the Great Qing in first, Qocho in second and the Manchu in third. REGION #22 – Central Siberia & Kazakhstan (Pick 2) Finally, an easy region! We have two to pick and four to pick from – it’s like sub-Saharan Africa all over again. And it’s also essentially cut into two sub-regions, so let’s start with Siberia. I voted for Gedemo’s Nenets over Senshidenshi’s, but both are fairly strong picks, with deer-based bonuses and faith focusses. The Khanty-Mansi on the other hand are provably expansive in the Iroquois way, which is to say, city spamming – they can build settlers twice as fast. Overall though, I think the Nenets still cut it for me, mainly because I’m not sold on Khanty-Mansi’s orange/pink colour scheme, to be quite honest. In Kazakhstan, we have the choice of the Kazakhs and the Massagetae. For me, the choice here is easy; while the Massagetae have some interesting bonuses for mounted units and unit manoeuvrability, none of them complement each other too well and, in general, the nation tends to turtle. That isn’t the case with the Kazakhs, who are a surprisingly competent nation that expand often and throw their often large militaries around very generously. In fact, they’re one of the few civs I’ve seen that are actually quite competent on the seas – ironic, as Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in the world. My top three here, then, are the Kazakhs, the Nenets and Khanty-Mansi. I know. Voting for the Mk 3 picks. Well, in this region, it’s hard not to! REGION #23 – Eastern Siberia (Pick 2) This is an enormous region geographically, but there are relatively few options on offer here. The biggest difficulty with this region, though, is that the two best options are in the western half. I don’t think this horribly unbalances the region, though; one is close to China, while the other is far to the north. The former is of course the Khamug Khanate, made by Lungora, who also made the very map this game will take place on. Her Khamugs benefit greatly from pastures, and produce mounted units very quickly. If you missed having a Keshik carpet in Mk 2, these guys should fill that mantle. To the north are the Evenks; while Gedemo’s is unspectacular, Senshidenshi’s civ has two UIs, one that offers massive yield boosts to the tricky territory, while the other damages enemy units (it’s a one-off thing, though). I mean – two UIs, what’s not to love? Over near Kamchatka, our frontrunners are the Chukchi; yet again, I’m not a huge fan of Gedemo’s variant, but MayorS’ civ looks to use the snow even more efficiently than the Inuit. Of the other two civs here, I’m more interested in Yukagir, primarily for their UB that apparently supplies mammoths (I’m not sure they can be used as mounted units, sadly). But the Chukchi still lead the way. I ordinarily can find it in me to rank every civ one by one; for once, I think I have to put the Khamug Khanate and the Evenks joint first, assuming Senshidenshi’s Evenks win the leader run-off. Third will be the Chukchi, or Yukagir if MayorS’ Chukchi lose. REGION #24 – Korea (Pick 1) Our first “Pick 1” region of the day, and it’s a tough one. I’ve seen a few different leaders attract support in this area, and fortunately, one of those doesn’t seem to be North Korea. I don’t normally directly advise people to place a civ last, but I find the strange ironic support of North Korea from Mk 1 far more uncomfortable know I’ve learnt more about the inner workings of the country and the widespread atrocities that are being committed as we speak. But beyond that… they’re not even great mods. That said, I’ve seen support for a few civs here, so let’s go through the other four one by one. Goguryeo won the Mk 3 runoff, and it’s fairly easy to see why, with their unique building offering experience points to, well, pretty much everything. That said, they’re not exactly inspiringly unique, though I do prefer them to Silla, whose bland colour scheme and unique ability that wouldn’t have any visible effect for an AI render them fairly unappealing. South Korea are more promising, with a marine unique that can gain extra combat strength apparently infinitely. Its UA is entirely gold-focussed though, something the AI has no need for. That leaves us with plain old Korea. And you know me – I’ve no interest in seeing Mk. 2 civs in the game… right? Well, for Seonjo I’ll make an exception. These guys get free naval units in every coastal city when someone declares war on them. And when that naval unit is the fearsome turtle ship (identical to the vanilla variant), that’s a fierce power. Plus – look at those colours! I have a soft spot for anyone sporting pink or purple, that’s for sure. My runaway favourite here is Korea, with South Korea in second and Goguryeo in third. REGION #25 – Japan (Pick 1) Well, this is the big one. There are a whopping twenty-four options here for just one slot, and that’s excluding the leader variants we’re voting on now. Fortunately, we can excuse both those leaders – nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to see Japan again, and none of the remaining Japan civs have ever proven to be inspiring in an AI game anyway, not least vanilla Oda. And while I do love island civs, neither Ryukyu are the best the game has to offer (and we’re about to hit Indonesia, anyway). I’ve made it no secret that I am a huge fan of Homusubi’s Rising Sun civs. I ran a whole AI game using only them, and so many of them performed superbly. Now factor in that he’s a very active member of the CBR community, having even narrated a part a short time back, and it’s very clear that it would be doing him an enormous disservice to even consider voting for any others – like the Ainu, whose name I’ve seen banded around a fair amount. These guys have a cool culture, no doubt about it – but oh Lordie, their AI is appalling. Japan is one of the hardest starting locations in the a game, and a civ that’s routinely about two eras behind everyone else and having founded no cities except their first two probably aren’t going to be an interesting competitor, no matter how great their history is. So the choice is very clear – Homusubi’s civs are competent, interesting and lovingly crafted. But they’re not all created equally. I’ve spent a fair amount of time with these civs, so I’ll try to whittle down my favourites. Oda’s Chubu are surprisingly useful, with far more bite than the vanilla counterpart, and a ninja UU that functions like a land-submarine. Still, it has a patchy AI game record when compared to other civs here. Like Hokuriku, who were unspectacular in my AI game but have gone on to impress in many of Homusubi’s own. Their unique pikeman, 2/5 cheaper (though very slightly weaker) than the vanilla counterpart, complements their bias towards a large military. Of course, if a large standing army is what you’re after, North Kyushu are the ones to pick – they won my AI Japan game, albeit having been slightly nerfed since, and have by far the most aggressive AI in the mudpack. Their flat production bonus across all cities will see them build a considerably difficult-to-crack core. Still, we’re focussing on civs with great land units here, and Japan is an archipelago – I think a naval bias is actually more important. And for the naval powers, we turn to Japan’s smallest island – Shikoku. East Shikoku performed outstandingly in my AI Japan, uniting their island and crossing the sea to forge an empire on Honshu, too. That’s no doubt thanks to their 20% attack bonus to all cities, from all units – oh yes, these guys have the Statue of Zeus right out of the gates. And like all my pet favourite civs, they come with a UI, the beautiful Henro Temple. But Shikoku’s true naval power is plain old Shikoku (or should that be West Shikoku?) Their military units can embark immediately, and their unique frigate has a longbowman-style extended range. More to the point, they’re navally minded and immediately expansive; more than being a powerful nut to crack, both these civs have the potential to pose a real threat to their continental counterparts. My top three then are Shikoku, East Shikoku and North Kyushu. But I’ll be ecstatic if any of Homusubi’s civs make the cut. REGION #26 – Southeast Asia (Pick 2) I’m content to ignore both the leader vote-offs here, as not only have we seen both before in the CBR, there are far more interesting choices on offer here. Island civ fans will surely revel over Taiwan, a notably competent example with bonuses to all ranged ships and a lovely privateer replacement. But of course, pirate fans are sure to turn the Canton Pirates, another civ from Power Ranker Scissor_fingers. It made the Mk 3 cut and it’s sure to stand a chance here too, with its own lovely privateer replacement and a UA that allows all their naval units to capture enemy ships in Golden Ages (which is, for a Deity AI, almost all the time). They’re a close match, but I have to hand it to Canton. Indochina has a fair few decent combatants, all more interesting than the incredibly overplayed vanilla Siam. Lanna’s unique elephant cavalry surpass Siam’s on account of having a great boost to attacking cities, but I’ve never seen them excel in an AI game. The real standouts in this region are EmeraldRange’s two Burmese civs, Konbaung and Taungoo. Konbaung have beautiful colours, and also have a great mechanic that allows them to move their capital, which I’m surprised no other nations have, in all honesty. They’re sure to be an interesting contender, but they’re not particularly militaristic (not that it matters so much in one of the less competitive regions). The same is absolutely not true of Taungoo, who spawn free melee units in their puppeted cities. Have you seen the amount of puppeted cities in the CBR? That’s a very useful mechanic indeed. They also have a natty unique library that offers experience roughly equal to the population of the city, and given Mk 2’s Hanoi, Hoi An and Bago have been some of the largest cities on the map, that’s sure to add up fast (and that’s not counting all the usual XP bonuses from barracks, arsenals etc.) My top three then are Taungoo, Canton and Konbaung. REGION #27 – Indonesia (Pick 2) Our final region of the day is not one of the busier ones, and certainly not one of the more competitive ones. I’m not overly keen on either of the options on the Malay Peninsula. CL’s Malaysia has a beautiful UI, but in AI games they’ve always proved unspectacular, while Singapore is, understandably, a civ built around gold, profoundly useless in the CBR. Demak on Java have some very long-winded uniques that, again, are built very much for players, and would be invisible to an AI game watcher. Brunei don’t have that issue, with their own UI and another enemy-capturing naval unit, but by all accounts they’re an enormous turtle (I suppose fitting, giving their modern counterpart). Fortunately, as travel further east, things start to heat up. Gedemo’s Papua are probably the most expansive civ in this region, and have a handy UI that makes great use of their limited starting place. Meanwhile Cardboard, another member of the CBR-dom, has given us two great Philippines civs. Now, I’ll have to admit, I have a huge bias here – Cardboard and I were two of the (admittedly few) supporters of Mk 2’s Philippines, who were of course eliminated in 59th place. And both his civs share a unique component that has ‘revenge’ written all over it – a 25% combat bonus against larger civilizations, similar to vanilla Ethiopia. My preference here goes to Aguinaldo’s Philippines over Sulu; not only is their rifleman replacement fairly handy, they also have a temple replacement that gives all units experience, which should be a huge boon in the early game. I know I’m against Mk 2 civs in general, but the Philippines’ brief appearance in the CBR is a very distant memory now. And they deserved better. My top three here are the Philippines, Papua and Sulu. And with that, we’re onto the leader votes. AUSTRALIA LEADER VOTE If you watched Australia flail around in Mk 2 with increasing disappointment, your best bet this time round is with Bob Hawke. His UA and UB are entirely unexciting, but the UU is where the magic happens; a paratrooper with a larger range and occasionally a greater combat strength (though it relies on Australia being scientifically ahead of the curve). It sure beats digger spam, that’s for sure. TONGA LEADER VOTE ‘Aho’eitu’s Tonga is reliant on city-states and has underwhelmed in every AI game I’ve seen them in. That would be reason enough to vote for ExplosiveWatermelon’s Saosi instead, but there are a hundred other reasons too. Not only is this the first mod from one of our Discord’s most frequent residents, it has an incredible UA that gives all naval melee units a 50% boost to attacking cities. This would be ludicrously OP in the hands of a human, but for an AI it’s the much needed kick that could actually see a tiny island civ wreak havoc on the Pacific. If it does make serious landfall, its natty rifleman upgrade will make it hard to shift too. This Tonga is actually my pick for the whole region, so I’d definitely recommend voting for Saosi. And it’s finally over! That’s the longest writeup I’ve done since Europe, so thanks for sticking with it. Let me know what I missed or what I got wrong. And vote Homusubi!
[Thursday, May 3 2018] EU to give young people free train tickets to explore Europe; Mystery pooper at NJ high school track turned out to be superintendent; Australia finally gets a space agency; Stephen Hawking's final research paper suggests that our Universe may be one of many similar to our own
madazzahatter Pakistan’s largest province has ordered energy-drink manufacturers including Red Bull to remove the word “energy” from their labels, saying it is scientifically misleading and encourages a population unaware of the beverages’ contents to guzzle them in potentially dangerous quantities. Comments || Link
madazzahatter Tyson Foods the largest U.S. meat processor, has invested in Israeli biotech company developing way to grow affordable meat in laboratory that takes live animals out of equation...focuses on producing fat and muscle cells that are core building blocks of meat. Comments || Link
mvea [Title Post] Stephen Hawking's final research paper, just published in an open access journal, suggests that our Universe may be one of many similar to our own. It points a way forward for astronomers to find evidence of the existence of parallel universes. The study was submitted 10 days before he died. Comments || Link
digitalminerva This is my grandfather, fighting for the Dutch resistance in Delft during WWII. He says he looks all cool but was actually shitting himself. He is still alive, 96 years old, driving his Prius around like a boss. True hero! .... and look at those shinie shoes!! Comments || Link
US-based casinos are having a hard time staying afloat especially during this time of the year, but thousands of miles away in Asia, similar resorts flourish. It comes as no surprise that major players are more interested in opening new ventures here instead of taking a leap of faith with American casinos. They don't have to worry about competition from over the Internet, because the two industries have very little to do with each other. In fact, the number of those who play online is on the rise all over the world, yet the market has ups and downs, regardless of how these numbers change. Deuce Club Casino for example runs a lucrative online business and most of its customers have never stepped inside a brick-and-mortar casino. Similar games are offered on both locations, but those who choose to compete over the Internet don't have to worry about unnecessary delays. Meanwhile, Malaysia is just a couple of steps away from getting a second resort casino, with Tan Sri Vincent Tan being the catalyst. The billionaire is willing to invest almost $1 billion in a new project that will attract thousands of players every day. The investment depends on whether a permit will be awarded to build a brand-new casino that will include an outdoor theme park, dining and retail options as well as a huge convention center. The reason for why local authorities are very likely to give the green light for this project is that in the best case scenario, it would employ more than 10,000 residents. New jobs are scarce in this country and the prospect of having foreign money flooding the local economy is appealing to say the least. Tan is already spinning billions of dollars all over the world in an industry that is closely related to sports betting and gambling, but also owns the Cardiff city football club. He promises Malaysian authorities that if he is given the permit to build his project, the local economy will be the main beneficiary. The country will see the tourist revenue surge to new heights, instead of having money slipping through its fingers, to Macau, Philippines and Cambodia. For the time being, these are the places where avid gamblers travel to get their fix and if a new casino will be built in Malaysia, many of them would choose not to travel abroad. A single operator exists now in Malaysia and it goes by the name of Genting Highlands, but competition is always a good thing. The industry as a whole would benefit from having several operators competing for customers in Malaysia, while the authorities will get more money flowing to state coffers. from via Casinoreviews
Hello! Welcome to our last season on the Unova Region! This time we will celebrate the 3 main traits necessary to win this games! All the explorers are divided in three tribes each one focusing on a trait: Brains, Brawn and Beauty!
Please leave your comments :) _______________________________ Chantal Tribe - Brains ________________________________ Name: Landon Tribe: Brains Species: Lugia Gender: Male Nature: Calm Short Background: Landon tends to be relaxed and rational, rarely raising his voice and being able to peacefully settle disputes, how well that will transfer to explorers is a different story altogether, he will most likely try to take a subtle leadership position, using a more abrasive fellow as a puppet to control things, which could very easily explode altogether if he gets figured out, He signed up for explorers along with his lifelong friend Holly, as a bet to see who would last longer. Name:Jr. Tribe: Brains Species:diglet Gender:male Nature: gentle Short Background:Jr. Is part of triplets and was born the smallest. He was bullied a lot for his size but that won't stop him for reaching his dream. He is very intellegent and strategic a lot of people see him and say "awww he's cute he'll probably be first to go" but this is his time to show his family and others that he is not weak and small. Name: Mievsa Tribe: Brains Species: Purugly Gender: Female Nature: Sassy Background: A no bs lady who runs her own beauty company, spends a lot of her time judging Pokemon contests. She wants things done her way, which has payed off in her business career, and even though she seems like a stupid model type she is deceivingly smart and runs her company hard, with her employees respecting her. Name: Lilly Tribe: Brains Species: Lilligant Gender: Female Nature: Sassy Short Background: Lilly is a rebel through and through. She quit her office job a while ago to pursue a writing career and though she hasn't yet been successful, she hasn't stopped trying and believes she has the social and mental skills to win on Survivor. Her biggest obstacle will probably be fitting in with others and making herself likable rather than abrasive and condescending. Name: Raymond Tribe: Brains Species: Galvantula Gender: Male Nature: Quiet Background: Raymond loves statistics, and he analyzes everything in front of him. He's a bit socially awkward, and can sometimes be very petty, but he can charm a crowd on a good day. Name: Nicolas Tribe: Brains Species: Eevee Gender: Male Nature: Lax Short Background: Nicolas has a very good memory, and his laid-back personality makes him very few enemies. He often tends to like to be friends with smarter people such as himself, which makes others feel a little left out. _______________________________ MarshalTribe - Brawn ________________________________ Name: Myst Tribe: Brawn Species: Flygon Gender: Female Nature: Serious Short Background: Myst acts as a guardian of sorts to those who find themselves lost in her desert home. Don't let her motherly personality fool you though, she's one tough customer. She signed up for Pokemon Explorers to test herself, and entertain her latest desert rescue, who may or not have been a certain bitter Victini... Name: Ueli Tribe: Brawn Species: Zygarde (10%) Gender: Male Nature: Bashful Short Background: Ueli is an athlete, known for being a winner of multiples marathons of his country. As a young Zygarde, Ueli is shy, but confident enough of his abilities to make it to the end, and be a good representation of the Brawn tribe. Name: Sheri Tribe: Brawn Species: Noibat Gender: Female Nature: Calm Short Background: Do not let her size confuse you. Sheri has been around fighting Pokémon her life. Raised and trained by a Medicham and a Lucario, Sheri spends her time practice fighting or meditating. Sheri is best known maintain a calm demeaner and using her quick wit to find a solution even in the toughest of situations. Sheri signed up for Pokémon Explorers because she want to put herself though the toughest physical and phycological challenge ever made. Her plan is the same as her life; Go all in on the challenges, maintain a calm persona, and back at camp, Always Make a big move when she has the chance. Name: Rodriguez Tribe: Brawn Species: Pangoro Gender: Male Nature: Adamant Background: Growing up in a tough neighborhood Rodriguez had to learn how to fight, he has been a fighter all of his life, and loves to do it, for him everything is about strength he trains hard 5 days a week, and battles more or less every day, his strength is as much of an asset is it is his own worst enemy, due to his villainous nature. Name: Britney Tribe: Brawn Species: Furret Gender: Female Nature: Bashful Short Background: Britney was brought up by the greatest runners at their school. She grew up in an orphanage and doesn't like to talk about her past. Britney wants to win for fun and to meet some people, she is openly bisexual so she is looking to be with somebody she is close to and a guy or girl who she has a spark with. She doesn't want to make a huge threat out of herself but she wants to talk to others for the first time in a while. She isn't bothered about winning competitions which may be her downfall but she still wants to try and win the game. She regrets talking to nobody when she was a child and she wishes to be more open about herself. Britney is determined to win or find somebody close to her. Name: Donny Tribe: Brawn Species: Shiny Skuntank Gender: Male Nature: Adamant Short Background: Donny is a former and now-retired professional tennis player and was well-known in his sport for years before he was forced to retire thanks to a severe injury. Now having had recovered, Donny is ready to show his skills on one of his favorite shows, Survivor. He's ready to dominate the physical game and generally gets along well with others, but may fall short when it comes to strategy. _______________________________ CaitlinTribe - Beauty ________________________________ Name: Cilla (short for Priscilla) Tribe: Beauty Species: Lopunny Gender: Female Nature: Oblivious Short Background: While she may not seem like the brightest, Cilla certainly shocks a lot of people with how smart she is. But some know that Cilla is just practical. Cilla is blind to even her own intelligence and instead relies on flirting with guys to get on their good side and make a good impression. She's even become so used to doing so that she does naturally for almost any guy unless he looks ugly—she has a great eye for those sort of men. Going into the game, she's going to work her flirtatious magic into her strategy to build a good social game and then make the moves when the time's right and she knows she'll be safe doing them. Her only flaw is, of course, her blindness to her own self and may not realize that she's overplaying or not trying hard enough. Name: Kasumi Tribe: Beauty Gender: Female Species: Salazzle Nature: Sassy Short Background: Kasumi's not afraid to use seduction to get what she wants, and this time she has her eye on the Pokemon Explorers prize. She's a master manipulator with a sharp tongue, and seeks nothing more than to wrap the rest of the game around her finger. Her favorite past players tend to be the more villainous ones, and she strives to be a memorable villainess herself Name: Holly Tribe: Beauty Species: Ho-Oh Gender: Female Nature: Gentle Short Background: The "Team mom" of sorts, Holly is always trying to make people around her better at what they do, she has a tendency to draw people in due to her likable personality, and will probably focus more on winning the challenges to avoid having to eliminate them, She hopes to do well on explorers mostly for the bragging rights and appearing on television. Name:Ellen Tribe: beauty Species:gardevoir Gender:female Nature:calm Short Background:Ellen likes to spend her free time gardening and relaxing while reading a book. She doesn't talk much but she is very smart from all the books she read. She will most likely go into the game not talking to people but then after a bit she'll kick in her strategy game and try to win comps she is willing to betray people to win. Name: Kaiti Tribe: Beauty Species: Dewgong Gender: Female Nature: Jolly Short Background: Kaiti is full of energy, and is known to be the one who always see the bright side of things. She is surprised to be on the Beauty tribe, since she doesn't consider herself pretty, but she is happy to be on the show and knows that this is her opportunity to shine and that she is destined to be the winner. Name: Heidy Tribe: Beauty Species: Sylveon Gender: Female Nature: Elegant Short Background: Heidy has won several pageants across many regions in the Pokémon world, known for her extremely elegance nature and kidness, she decided to join this season to prove that she not only has the beauty but also the brawns and brains to win it all. ________________________________________ If you're interested in their original seasons: S01: Viridian Forest s02: Mt. Moon s03: Safari Zone s04: Power Plant s05: Cerulean Cave s06: Berry Forest s07: Seafoam Islands s08: Victory Road - All Stars s09: Mt. Silver s10: Ilex Forest s11: Ruins of Alph s12: Lake of Rage s13: Whirl Islands s14: Jagged Pass s15: Sky Pillar s16: Meteor Falls - Fans vs Favorites s17: Mirage Tower - the Battle of Types s18: Mt. Pyre s19:Lake Verity s20: Hall of Origin - Heroes vs Villains s21: Floaroma Meadow s22: The Great Marsh - Redemption Island s23: Distortion World s24: Explorers of Floccesy Ranch s25: Explorers of Chargestone Cave 26: Explorers of Lostlorn Forest - Fans vs Favorites II s27: Explorers of Undella Bay - Blood vs Water Voting chart EDGIC
Hello all, I perused the rules and FAQ and while not explicitly banned I know this post isn't exactly on target for the typical FIRE audience. I read this subreddit every day and I think I can accurately assess that the average position of the majority is that graduate school is a bad financial choice. I realize that for those planning to retire before 40, almost universally the college grad who gets a job (and if you’re getting into grad school I suppose you’re probably a pretty hard worker who could manage one right out of college) will have had the opportunity to accumulate more wealth than the grad who opts for 4+ years of more school. This is particularly true for those getting advanced degrees that they must pay for. With all that out of the way here are some reasons I think graduate school (speaking specifically for STEM pursuits) is worthwhile. Let the reader be warned that you could probably pick apart many of my points or say that they are specific to my circumstances.
Graduate school is a great opportunity to slow down and think. My entire undergraduate career flew by. Between classes, partying, club sports, non-sport clubs, undergraduate research, and a social/ dating life, I like most was barely able to process what was happening and more or less going through the motions as one does in high school. By sharp contrast, graduate school has given me the intellectual freedom and respect to work hard but think about what I actually value in life. It wasn’t until my first year that I discovered what FI/RE was and that it was something I wanted to achieve.
Graduate school provides the opportunity to relocate with a certain degree of stability. Certainly the stipend one gets will only cover basic living expenses, but in my opinion it seems like a much safer bet than moving somewhere brand new for a job that you may discover you hate or be fired from. Graduate students are also often able to switch lab groups and screen professors that they will fit well with through rotations and class interactions.
Graduate school classes are what I always imagined college would be like. The classes demand a fair bit of reading and the tests are difficult, but grades aren’t a priority and the focus is on understanding principles. Relearning an undergraduate curriculum in a short period of time sounds tough, but things make much more sense the second time around and you have the context of all other subject knowledge to internalize it much better.
Graduate school gives you a much greater degree of freedom than traditional jobs. I had to take my wife to the airport Friday afternoon and I have to pick her up Tuesday afternoon. For many, this would be problematic or lead to a taxi/ubeexpense. Not for me. I simply came in early, did a quick experiment and set something up for later, came home, had lunch, and sent her off. I am currently working right now at 1030pm but I’m on reddit and watching John Oliver, which is pretty similar to what I’d be doing if I wasn’t working, thus its not so bad.
Graduate school is full of wonderful people from many walks of life. In high school, all of my friends and I were assholes to one another. I honestly think it fucked up my development as a person a bit. But high school was full of shitty people and it seemed pretty normal. In college, people were better, but too many of them seemed like the same people I hoped to leave behind when I finished high school. Many of them didn’t care about learning or knowledge, or philosophical questions. In grad school, mostly everyone I know has at least a strong appreciation for knowledge, ideas, and hypotheticals. The people in my lab have been immensely helpful to me learning my field and in turn I have helped them as I developed specializations and will soon be co-author on a paper as a sign of appreciation. The diversity of graduate school is another wonderful and almost universal given. I grew up in the northeast and I knew white people. That’s just how it was because those were the people around me. I’m very happy to say that today I have many friends from around the world: China, India, Japan, Brasil, Iran, Spain, Ethiopia, Russia, the Philippines, Germany, and perhaps a few others. Bonus: I recently fell in love with soccer and now have tons of awesome people who will regularly play on weekends =)
Graduate school is one of your greatest opportunities to pursue your own ideas and ingenuity in life. This was something my boss told me and its absolutely true. I’ve always loved thinking and solving problems and diving into the unknown (and its surrounding literature) give you great freedom to try new things to achieve progress. Personally, I find this to be very much in line with my definition of the meaning of life. I should also admit that the ability to do this now is awesome because its pretty much the main reason I want to retire early (to keep doing it, but for other interests… homebrewing related specifically).
It helps you build your frugality muscles. Maybe this is the optimist mustachian in me talking, but grad school didn’t afford me the chance to inflate my lifestyle before I knew better. And while I bring in only ~22k/yr right now, my better half is doing about double that, and we are still saving ~40% of our income =). When I increase my salary 5-7x you can bet that I’ll be on track to retire shortly after.
It lets you not accrue interest on your student loans . This is pretty huge for me because now that I hate debt, I’ve decided to never pay it. I budget 350$/month so that I can graduate debt free and never pay a dime of interest.*if they’re subsizided
It might afford you the opportunity to work a job you’ll never feel the need to retire from. Many here regularly complain about their jobs and how they want out. With where I am right now, I can’t say that I’m unhappy with my job. Its awesome and if it paid me 3-5x as much with the same flexibility I might never feel the need to stop. Research scientists I think can end up with pretty awesome jobs like grad school but with better pay and the alternative, academia (which seems pretty brutally competitive) can lead to an awesome career that I know I’d love (after the first 5 years or so).
Seriously, flexibility. I know I already said “great degree of freedom” but I wasn’t really done, and as George Carlin says, the list should be 10, because 10 sounds official. Nobody’d take 9 reasons to consider graduate school seriously…but I digress. The flexibility is such that the term weekend is sort of nebulous to me now. I generally work 6 days a week but which day I don’t work is kind of up to me. And If I want to work two weekends in a row, I can take a week vacation right after. My boss doesn’t care about hrs, he cares about results and a hard work ethic.
Oops, one more: Minimal meetings. You guys bring up on occasion, and I’ve also seen enough TED talks and Dilbert comics to know, that meetings can be a colossal waste of time. I saw a fair bit of this when I interned at a Fortune 100 company. In grad school, we meet with our boss once a week for 2 hours to give progress reports and get feedback and ideas from others in the group and practice presentation skills or conference talks. In the summer, we don’t meet. We also submit weekly progress reports that mainly serve to keep us honest with processing data, citing sources, etc. We occasionally meet to discuss those results or can meet for 5-10min whenever. That’s my kind of efficiency.
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