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The /r/hockey Trade Deadline Game - Day 2 Thread
NOTE: This is FAKE HOCKEY. To talk about actual hockey, go to the latest Daily Discussion thread Trade Deadline Tonight will continue TONIGHT! The /hockey Trade Deadline Game is back for day 2! Starting today at 8:00 AM MT trading is officially open again. Trading will run until Thursday, January 30th at 6:00 PM MT. You are not late! You can still sign up at http://www.tdgdb.com When you are traded, change your flair on hockey-related subreddits and spend the week from January 31st through February 7th cheering for your new team. Here are this year's reporters, the people who will make things up break news of trade negotiations:
What Returning to Work Will Look Like in Offices, Cafes and Factories Around the World
Expect lots of temperature checks and one-way routes. ‘As we experienced in China, this will be a journey.’ Wearable social-distancing buzzers. Masked blackjack dealers. Drive-thru electronics purchases. From cubicles to factory floors, cafes to clothing boutiques, businesses around the world are dreaming up creative ways to reopen, attempting to start revenue flowing again while minimizing the risk to customers and employees. The global economy is riding on their ability to pull off that delicate balance. A new flareup of Covid-19 cases could shutter offices, stores, restaurants and manufacturing plants once again, further choking off the flow of goods and services and threatening more jobs. Some governments, such as China, are providing rigorous oversight of the process. Others, including President Donald Trump’s administration, have offered looser guidance and are entrusting businesses to monitor their facilities. Scientists are still studying how the virus is spread, and whether keeping people six feet apart is enough, adding to the risks. The companies’ plans rely on a steady supply of masks, gloves, thermometers and tests that is likely to strain budgets and manufacturers’ ability to keep up. Social distancing will be built in, with people divided by barriers and kept apart from colleagues and customers, a U-turn after years of movement toward open floor plans. Some companies will monitor employees more closely than ever before, while others will let workers choose how much protection they need. The way we work, shop, travel and eat in 2020 – and probably beyond – is being plotted out in boardrooms around the world. Here are the changes companies are contemplating for their workplaces in the coming weeks.
Seats on the shuttle bus to Unilever’s Shanghai offices can be reserved using a chat group. Employees must be masked to board, and they sit on alternating sides, one person to each four-seat row. Upon arrival, each worker scans a QR code and fills out a health status report to get a daily pass to enter. Then comes the temperature check and the hand sanitizer. Inside the office, movement is tightly regulated. Employees keep their masks on and are encouraged to use the stairs instead of the elevator, with spritzes of hand sanitizer before and after touching the regularly disinfected handrail. In the canteen, a single person is allowed at each four-seat table. Such measures might seem predictable in a centrally controlled society like China, but some version of them is starting to appear in the West. At Britain’s former state phone monopoly, BT Group Plc, call center workers sit two meters apart, and walkways are designated as one-way to keep people from brushing past each other. Temperature checks are becoming routine at Sistema, the Russian conglomerate, which also says it’s developed its own two-hour test for Covid-19. Employees who come to the office have been tested in the past couple of weeks, though as many as half of the call center workers at MTS, the mobile network controlled by Sistema, are operating out of their homes.
Flexible space operator Knotel, which runs offices for corporations including Uber and Netflix, says workplace design has to change. Offices will likely be less densely populated, and altered to make them “antiviral,” according to Amol Sarva, Knotel’s chief executive officer. “Things like ventilation, UV light, density screening, video monitoring, and temperature monitoring, cleaning protocols — those are all going to have to change,” he said. “Certainly there’ll be more space.” In China, Cushman & Wakefield has helped move nearly a million workers back into 800 million square feet (74 million square meters) of office space. The company is creating a Recovery Readiness manual for landlords and tenants, based in part on its experience in China, that includes colored carpets to create visual boundaries around desks, plexiglass shields between desks that face each other and signs that direct walking traffic in a single direction.
Even when people do come back to the office, meetings will be limited, and large gatherings are out of the question. This week, Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg canceled all physical events of 50 or more people through June 2021. The vast majority of employees are required to work from home through May, and those who need to carry on doing so will be able to work at home through the summer. The road to normalcy may be much longer than that. At Abcam Plc, a British protein research company, 40 out of 300 China-based employees started returning to work in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Hong Kong on Feb. 14. Two months later, the company is running split shifts to maintain distancing for the roughly 50% of employees based in manufacturing, logistics and essential lab work.
On Feb. 10, Winly Automotive (Wuhan) Ltd. was assigned a checklist from the government. To reopen, the company would be required to have a one-month stash of masks and sanitizer, take a photo of the supplies, and send it to officials before submitting to a detailed inspection. “The policy has been constantly changing,” said Wang Xuepan, one of the plant’s managers. “It’s very difficult for us to handle.” In the Seattle area, Boeing Co. has worked with the Washington state labor department on a plan to reopen its factories. It will be doling out cloth masks to most workers, saving the gold-standard N95 masks for a select few in more hazardous conditions. Unlike office drones, factory workers have to show up in person to get the job done. Figuring out what basic protections they’ll need is part of the challenge. At Boeing, industrial engineers are analyzing the sequence of work on its assembly lines to find ways to spread apart workers.
Taking the Temperature
Airbus SE has divided employees at its plants into red and blue teams, who don’t see each other because they use different routes to enter and exit buildings. Volkswagen AG is allotting more time between shifts and reducing expectations for production because it takes longer for people to move around each other at a safe distance. Ford Motor Co. is experimenting with wearable devices that would buzz workers if they get too close together. While the virus can be transmitted by people with no symptoms, many manufacturers are doing temperature checks, whether with thermometers, thermal imaging cameras or — in the case of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV in the U.S. — reusable forehead strips. Fiat Chrysler, whose CEO Mike Manley is one of the executives talking with Trump about reopening the economy, is requiring workers to fill out a health questionnaire two hours before reporting to work each day. They must bring either a hard copy, or scan a QR code with their phone, to prove they aren’t displaying signs of illness or exposure to the virus, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg. Workers can’t enter the plant without it. Some companies are closing cafeterias in favor of vending machines. Dongfeng PSA in Wuhan is handing out prepared lunchboxes to employees, who must eat at least 1.5 meters apart with their backs to each other. Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. said Chairman Li Shufu wrote a song to keep workers motivated through such dreariness. “A world full of expectations/Turned to dust of yesterday,” the lyrics go. “Their sorrow flowing into the sea/But the flower of love is quietly blooming.”
When air travel resumes in earnest, it’s likely that hand sanitizers, face masks and thermometers will become standard at most major airports, said David Powell, medical adviser for the International Air Transport Association, a trade group. All three have shortcomings, but can also reassure passengers, he said. The International Civil Aviation Organization, which sets global flying standards, wants to establish a “public health corridor concept.” Under such a plan, major airlines, airports, public authorities and other parties would adopt common protocols for screening, boarding, in-flight procedures, arrivals, customs and baggage. “We cannot all just stop flying,” Ansa Jordaan, the group’s chief of aviation medicine, said during an April 15 webcast. Emirates Airline said this week it was the first to conduct rapid Covid-19 blood tests, with results available in 10 minutes for passengers flying Wednesday from Dubai to Tunisia. It plans to extend the procedure to other flights, according to Chief Operating Officer Adel Al Redha. Other carriers are attempting less invasive measures. Etihad Airways, another major airline in the United Arab Emirates, plans to deploy touchless self-service devices at its hub airport in Abu Dhabi to identify travelers with medical conditions, including the early stages of coronavirus. In the U.S., American Airlines Group Inc. plans to continue spacing customers apart during boarding and flights, conducting extensive cleanings of aircraft and reducing food and beverage service to limit contact, CEO Doug Parker said in an April 15 video message. “When you do fly, aircraft cleanliness and social distancing matter greatly,” he said.
In China, it’s become standard to have your temperature taken any time you want to go shopping. Visitors to the Wuhan International Plaza luxury mall are checked for a fever at the door, before they queue up to be served one at a time at Louis Vuitton. Levi Strauss & Co. disinfects its Chinese stores three times a day and requires temperature checks for customers, who are expected to wear masks before entering the store. Fitting rooms and products that have been tried on are disinfected each time they’re used. It’s unclear whether practices implemented in China will make their way to other parts of the world, though several companies said they’ll learn from their experience in Asia.
Another technique is to keep shoppers out of the store altogether. Dixons Carphone Plc, the electronics retailer, is considering plans for contact-free “drive-thru” style stores to limit the risk of coronavirus for staff and customers. Shoppers would park outside, call the store to select items to buy, use a contactless system to pay and then open their trunks so staff could deliver the products. Salespeople at luxury retailers in China were already using social media to engage with customers before the outbreak, but they’ve stepped up the effort since, adding clients on WeChat and sending them information about the latest trends. Louis Vuitton tried showcasing its summer product line in a livestream show on March 26 featuring a social-media star, but was ridiculed for the quality of the video. Sometimes there’s no substitute for personal contact.
Buffets and salad bars will be re-thought, and self-serve drink stations may be “a thing of the past,” said Taco John’s CEO Jim Creel, who added that other changes are afoot at the 387-store chain. Taco John’s popular salsa bar — around for the past 15 years — may be removed. “We hope we don’t have to take them out — that we’ll be able to figure out a way to make them still work — but I’m afraid the fear factor our there will force us to go to a pre-packaged option.” A test of self-ordering kiosks may also get pulled back. “It was a good idea three months ago, but not so good today,” Creel said.
In China, restaurants and even bars have opened back up in Shanghai, with varying limits on seating arrangements – some allow six to a table, others only one. In Beijing, restaurants are doing temperature checks. In Wuhan, most places are still delivery-only. “In the short run, as dining rooms open back up again, you’ll probably see many restaurants space their tables a little bit further apart,” said Jack Li, CEO of menu researcher Datassential. “You’ll see more restaurants try to adopt phone pay. So not having to hand your money or card to anyone. You’re certainly going to see more places continue to do things like contactless delivery.” Starbucks Corp. is taking a store-by-store approach to resuming business activities in the U.S., with services limited to drive-thru, delivery and takeout via mobile orders and contactless pickup. “As we experienced in China, this will be a journey,” CEO Kevin Johnson wrote in a memo to staff on Thursday.
Chains are cutting back menus, focusing on products that sell best and are easy to make. Romano’s Macaroni Grill has pared down its menu to 70% of what it used to be, saying goodbye to pizzas and calzones recently. McDonald’s all-day breakfast menu is gone. Fazoli’s Italian restaurant chain is trying to secure Purell sanitizing stations – four for each store — along with “millions” of alcohol-based wipes for re-opening the dining rooms of its 216 locations. The company is also re-thinking bathrooms and looking into touch-less soap dispensers. It’s an investment, but a worthwhile one, says CEO Carl Howard. “I want to let the consumer know I’m doing everything I can to keep them as safe as possible,” Howard said in an interview.
Large public gatherings aren’t top of mind yet in China, but Trump and the people who run the U.S.’s biggest sports leagues appear aligned in their thinking that live games, at least in some form, are a critical part of helping the country recover. “The progression needs to be open outdoor sports first, golf, tennis, swimming so that we can start to test the waters — that I’m fine with,” said billionaire Mark Cuban, who owns the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. One obstacle may be local politicians. When UFC floated plans to host an event this weekend on tribal land in California without spectators, it was pressure from politicians, including Governor Gavin Newsom, that led to its cancellation. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has reportedly discussed the possibility of prohibiting large gatherings like concerts and sporting events in the city for another year.
That said, there’s billions on the line for sports leagues, sponsors and media networks if the games don’t resume soon. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease expert, has said that that the only way to do that this summer is to close venues to fans and keep all the players, coaches and referees isolated from society. Cinema owners are also waiting to see when health officials give them clearance to open up. Cinemark Holdings Inc., the third-largest U.S. movie chain, has been in discussions with major film studios about when to release blockbusters again. The chain’s management thinks they could begin bringing back staff starting in late June, then build up a marketing campaign for a broader re-opening on July 1. The experience won’t be like it was before coronavirus hit. The chain will either have to limit the available tickets for each showing, leaving about half its seats open. Or it may eliminate reserved seating, so customers can voluntarily spread themselves out when they arrive. Cleaning will have to be ramped up, and opening hours may be limited to accommodate the changes. “How long that will take? We’re not completely certain,” said Mark Zoradi, Cinemark’s CEO, on a call with analysts and investors on Wednesday. “But we’re planning on anywhere from one to three months to light up that engine again and then to begin with higher profile, new product.”
Las Vegas casino executives have discussed opening with as little as one-third of their rooms available, with limited entrances where guests’ temperatures could be checked. Casino employees would wear masks and gloves, and gamblers would sit at least a chair apart at blackjack tables. The moves are similar to what is already occurring in Macau, the world’s largest gambling market, where casinos closed for 15 days in February and reopened under tight restrictions. The companies are also discussing enhanced cleaning techniques, something unions have requested.
The $19.3 billion U.S. theme park industry is also making plans, though no one knows when gates will reopen. When they do, employees may be wearing masks and temperatures may be checked not only at the entrances but inside as well, said Dennis Speigel, a theme park consultant in Cincinnati. Operators may also institute virtual queues, where guests snag a place in line through an app and come to ride when it’s their turn. “The theme park of the future is going to have to take a much different turn, from distancing to wanding to cleaning,” Speigel said. “I’ve never heard the fear in the voices that I’ve heard. Nobody knows what they’re going to be doing.” Bloomberg News - With assistance from Thomas Buckley, Thomas Seal, Dana Hull, Natalie Wong, Julie Johnsson, Charlotte Ryan, Christoph Rauwald, Kyunghee Park, Gabrielle Coppola, Shiho Takezawa, Tian Ying, Chunying Zhang, Keith Naughton, Mary Schlangenstein, Justin Bachman, Layan Odeh, Jordyn Holman, Deirdre Hipwell, Robert Williams, Kim Bhasin, Jinshan Hong, Claire Che, Leslie Patton, Kelly Gilblom and Christopher Palmeri.
My husband and I are visiting Seattle in June. We are from a landlocked state and we really want to have some good seafood and lots of it. Is there anywhere you would recommend? We are also open to suggestions for things to see from a local perspective. Thanks!
Greetings from Seattle! I lived in Austin from 2000-2007 before moving to my current (rainier) home. I was going through old emails and found this list I made of stuff I loved about Austin in 2002. I bet some of these places aren't open anymore, and Leslie is no longer with us (boo)... Come reminisce with me! Best sushi: Pango's, Peony Best clubs: Plush, Red Fez, Element when there's a Feedback party there Best "cool" bars: StarBar, Saba Best crazy bars: Casino El Camino, The Ritz Best theatre: Alamo Drafthouse (duh) Best Mexican: Polvo's Best place to sit and drink on a weekday: Paradise Best restaurant in the world: Mars Best classy bars: upstairs at Stephen F. Austin, Brown Bar Best chillin bars: Dog and Duck, Crown and Anchor Best karaoke: Rhinos and Jocks Best homeless guy: Leslie Best kitschy fun thing: Adult Skate Night at Playland Best gay bar: The Forum Best street vendor: That guy who sells black and white drawings of city skylines in front of Hickory Street Best Sunday breakfast buffet: Trudy's Best pizza: Valentino's (San Marcos, if you can believe it) Best eclectic: Bahama Breeze Best cheap-ass food: Freebirds Best vegetarian: West Lynn Cafe Best place to take your parents when they're in town and you don't know what to do with them: Chuy's
2015 Offseason Review Series: Day 2 (Cleveland Browns)
Division: AFC North
I don't think I need to pontificate too long one where the Cleveland Browns stand coming out of 2014. The Browns hit a promising 7-4 record after week 12, in spite of key injuries to Alex Mack and Jordan Cameron, with Josh Gordon suspended, and well-hyped rookie QB Johnny Manziel sitting on the bench. Most seasons, this would be considered a success of the new coaching staff and front office, and a sign that maybe the team was heading in the right direction for the first time in the Jimmy Haslam era, but things ended in a complete trainwreck by most accords: hometown hero QB Brian Hoyer wasn't playing up to snuff and would be benched for Manziel, who actually played worse. The lack of depth and internal drama within the coaching staff and front office became the headlines, and to make matters worse, Manziel would manage to find himself injured only 7 quarters into his football career during the Week 16 encounter against the Panthers. Cleveland slammed the brakes hard and ended with a 7-9 record, with more questions than answers about the state of the team and the front office than ever. Hell, for most of this offseason, people have genuinely been wondering if Cleveland wasn't going to go out of its way to draft a replacement QB for Johnny Manziel, who barely played 2 games. If that doesn't tell you all you need to know how rough this season ended… Having lived through awful regime after awful regime in the ownership (Randy "Aston Villa Enthusiast" Lerner), front office (Phil "How Much Can We Trade To Dallas" Savage, Carmen "Can't Wait to Go Back to Cali" Policy, and Mike "Worst Draft Gambler Of All Time" Holmgren), and the coaching staff (Butch "Arrogant Fuck" Davis, Romeo "Carl Winslow" Crennel, Eric "Mangina" Mangini, and Pat "Incompetent Shitbrick" Shurmur), all I'm hoping to get coming out of this offseason is a sign that things are on the right path for the first time in a while, and they may just be.
January 8, 2015: Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan leaves the Cleveland Browns after disagreements with the front office.
January 9, 2015: QB’s coach Dowell Loggains is fired.
January 15, 2015: WR’s coach Mike McDaniel leaves the Browns in a mutual end.
January 21, 2015: The Browns hire John DeFilippo as the new Offensive Coordinator from Oakland.
January 28, 2015: The Browns hire Joker Phillips as the new WR coach, his first stint coaching in the NFL.
January 31, 2015: The Browns hire Kevin O’Connell as the new QB coach, his first stint coaching in the NFL
So the Browns had a busy January. >_> The issues with Kyle Shanahan and the Cleveland Browns became so prevalent near the end of his run that they nearly eclipsed the Manziel discussion (at least locally) during the 5-game losing streak to end the 2014 campaign. He clearly didn’t see what the front office saw in Johnny Manziel and there was a lack in synergy between him, Mike Pettine, and the decision makers. It was also clear that Dowell Loggains might have been a contributor to the problems, stemming all the way back to draft night rumors that he’d been texting Johnny Manziel about “wrecking this league”. The move was inevitable, but all things considered, the Browns went from young offensive minds to more young offensive minds in their replacements. While losing Shanahan’s “prodigal” offensive coaching ability hurt, gaining John DeFilippo, who had been instrumental in working with a young Mark Sanchez in his best season and seemed to have a positive early influence on Derek Carr, certainly softened the blow. DeFilippo fits with what Pettine wants in hard-nosed guys, and hopefully will be a catalyst towards some change on and off the field with this group. Adding Joker Phillips, who is seemingly eternally better suited as a coordinator, and Kevin O’Connell, who seems to be exclusively working to find young talent a QB, might have a set-up in Cleveland made for beyond 2016. It's not a sexy group of coaches, but they will be capable; inexperienced nevertheless, but still capable.
Coming off a mass coaching exodus on the offensive side of the ball, it's no surprise a lot of change in on-field personnel was coming this offseason as well:
Major Losses: Brian Hoyer, Jordan Cameron, Ahtyba Rubin, Jabaal Sheard, Buster Skrine When you’re losing 5 freaking starters from 2014, it’s never a good thing. Brian Hoyer may have completely fallen apart in the second half of last season, but it’s become more and more difficult to determine where it was lost; was it coaching? Did Hoyer just go cold or was he never that good to begin with? Were we in love with the idea of him more than what he really was; a hometown boy who was peaking too quickly? Any way you dice it, after a dismal finish, Hoyer left, hopeful for greener pastures in Houston. When Hoyer had a healthy offensive line and was on point, he wasn't setting the world on fire, but looked capable enough to work as a system QB. Maybe he'll never go on to be more than a backup in the longer term, but with what limited time he had, Brian Hoyer, in spite of a 19-19 TD/INT line, was 10-6 as a starter, which by most counts is a playoff team. I don't think anyone wishes him ill, we just wish he'd been more 2013 Brian Hoyer. He would be followed out after a, frankly, confusing free agency mess over Pro Bowl TE Jordan Cameron, which involved Charles Clay ending up in Buffalo and Cameron turning around after an offer from Cleveland and signing with Miami the same day. I heard this entirely play out on the radio as our hosts seemed to have less of a clue than I did as to what was going on. Any way you dice it, Cameron's venture out to free agency was not a graceful exit, but Cameron was an excellent athletic target when he was healthy. He removes a big piece from the passing game and if Miami can tap into him and keep him on the field, he can be a top-tier TE. On the other side of the ball, some would argue that Ahtyba Rubin became disposable after a somewhat pedestrian 2014, only logging 28 tackles on what was considered a significantly poor defensive line, but Rubin was a leader on defense since 2008. The same could be said about Jabaal Sheard, who slipped a bit in production last year but was locked into an odd spot between Krueger and Mingo in the pass rush, is only 26 years old, and still has potential for success in New England; and the fact that he was rather active with the Cleveland fan base only makes it a tougher. Buster Skrine at any given time was the most beloved and most reviled CB in Cleveland Browns history, but he earned his keep in 2014 with a strong campaign in spite of young challengers at CB behind him. Minor losses: Jim Leonard, Spencer Lanning More than anything, Jim Leonard was a good dude, who was an impactful player on special teams, with a wealth of knowledge for younger players. But retirement comes to all. There are still some great veterans on this squad, but at the end of the day, solid support from well vested veterans does matter. I'll miss you forever, Spencer Lanning.
Texans, Bills, Browns, fuck, maybe Argonauts?
Major Additons: Tramon Williams, Randy Starks, Brian Hartline, Dwayne Bowe The Browns were sitting on a ton of draft picks and still had a lot of talent (when that talent decided to play...looking at you Justin Gilbert) from last year's draft. They needed to get younger while providing leadership on defense, and that's what two of these signings did. The other two were simply pick-ups that were by utter necessity. But there was still cap space to be shed by the Browns, and although they approached FA lightly (so as to accumulate compensatory picks in 2016) Tramon Williams got himself $21 million because if you're a CB, Mike Pettine wants you on his team. I believe we currently have brought 94 CB's to camp this year. But beyond Pettine's depth-in-the-secondary fetish, Williams is a solid cover-man who can help alongside Joe Haden to add veteran leadership to the motley crue of CB's. Yes, he's 32, and he did get a bit big of a pay-day, but at this point, if you want Pierre Desir, Justin Gilbert, and Ka'Waun Williams to reach their potential (that's not even counting the other 2 freaking CB's we drafted), you need more than Haden to get them there with Skrine departing. In the same vein, Randy Starks. Starks isn't going to set the world on fire on that defensive line, but he will likely not be asked to be the anchor with some other additions this offseason in the draft, and can provide guidance to the young players on a defensive line that was frankly...well, shit, and has been shit for any number of reasons for several years. Be it the health of the team or the lack of talent, stopping the run was a key point from this offseason, and the Browns actually took action to fix it. Rounding out the big pieces on the FA class, your 2011 fantasy WRs! Neither Dwayne Bowe nor Brian Hartline has been anything more than above-average in their long-term careers, and there's any number of things you could blame that on; poor QB's, poor coaching staffs and offensive schemes, or their own limited ability as WR’s, but both bring one thing Cleveland lacks; veteran targets. With the departure of Miles Austin and...well, something else we'll get to shortly, the Browns have no weapons for whoever ends up throwing the damn ball aside from slot guys like Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel. Even if the Browns get very little in the long term from either guy, they are going to be the Browns' receiving corps in 2015; and both have plenty to prove. Minor Additions: Josh McCown, Rob Housler, Andy Lee Let's be clear: the signing of Josh "It's Josh Fucking McCown, Do We Even Need a Nickname?" McCown was not because the Browns thought he was some incredible QB who could be the answer. He's 34, he's coming off an awful season, and I think we all know the McCown "career backup" legacy he and his brother Luke have created. Honestly, McCown is here to be a quiet backup. Although he may be called on to start a bit this season, he's not here to be the long-term QB. The Browns fielded him a bit extra money because of the cap room, but he's here as a very, very short bridge to either seeing what we have in Johnny Manziel or "Cardared Hackookiel" next year. And that's fine. I'm not a huge fan of it on the whole, but in that sense, it at least is rooted in some reason. Another injury-bugged TE in Rob Housler, Housler at least offers some hope of finding a target at the position for a team that lacks it. And he's only 27; he's still got a little time to get it right. The trade to the 49ers was an odd one (mainly because if I wanted a special teams player from San Francisco, it would be PHIL WE MISS YOU) but Andy Lee is a damn good punter who will do one thing; facilitate the defense. If the offense is struggling as it seems they may, Lee should be able to pin the opposing team deep in their own territory to allow the defense to try and make them make mistakes.
...wait, there was supposed to be an angry rant here. Where'd I put that? ....no. No fucking way. The Browns didn't completely muck up this draft?
Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
The main commitment from the Browns this year was to fix the run D, and Feast Mode is here to do just that. Shelton is a big, BIG boy at 339lbs, and although most expect him to be a 2-down player, he's an animated, deceptively quick anchor NT who happened to do his workouts for the draft in a fucking lava lava. He then won the hearts of America when he attempted to hit Goodell with the belly-to-belly suplex. We already love this dude, his story is incredible, and I hope he becomes a fixture on the defensive line for years, maybe even as a 3-down player if his weight keeps in check. It's high time we got the D-Line right in the long term.
Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State
In the bar I was sitting in watching on draft night, almost everyone walked out when the Browns passed on Breshad Perriman. Perriman may turn out to be a fantastic WR, but this pick was honestly way smarter than Farmer's gotten credit for: One, it provides a safety net for if Alex Mack opts to leave Cleveland after this offseason, as Erving was a more than capable C at FSU. Two, it pushes Mitchell Schwartz and John "Get Pushed Back Seven Yards Every Play" Greco into competition on the right side of the line. If you aren't elite, shoring up the lines is never a bad idea, and this was an investment with not just 2015 but 2016 and beyond in mind. That's something you don't see in Cleveland often.
Nate Orchard, OLB, Utah
A theme of this draft was "Let's pass on Jaelen Strong and make JohnnyFire angry", but we made up for that getting a guy who was just an awesome fit. Orchard may have been a bit of a "one-year sensation", but he also fits exactly the character and play style that Pettine is looking for in the pass rush and will quickly make up for the loss of Jabaal Sheard, as well as pushing Mingo and Kruger to keep up. This seemed so obvious even dumb me was able to predict it on the /Browns contest this year.
Duke Johnson, RB, Miami
At this point in the draft I'd accepted the Browns were just not going to take a WR, especially since now all of the ones with any hype (aside from Sammie Coates) were well off the board. That said, Duke Johnson possess speed that Terrance "Instagram Failure" West lacks and escapability that Isaiah "Lunchables Enthusiast" Crowell lacks, and he can catch passes. Yes, the Browns maybe didn't need Duke Johnson, but who cares; if there's a special player available as the BPA, you get him, and if Johnson lives up to his potential, he could be a huge get for the Browns.
Xavier Cooper, DL, Washington State
Much was made post-draft of how heavily the Browns scouted the Pac-12, and this is true when they garnered (to some) the best two D-Line prospects in the conference. Cooper actually fits a bit more of the mold of Randy Starks, and although he is a raw talent, he'll have a great mentor and get time to develop. To sneak up and grab a second highly-touted piece to stop the run and improve the Front 7 was incredibly solid of this FO.
Ibraheim Campbell, SS, Northwestern
Oh hey, the guy I always grabbed using the First-Pick simulator to bump up my final score in the 4th round! Truth is that Donte Whitner isn't going to be around forever, and Campbell was a strong S prospect (albeit in a weak class) that could learn well from the veteran, and will contribute heavily on special teams with the loss of Jim Leonard.
Vince Mayle, WR, Washington State
Okay, Farmer, let's talk a moment. I love what you did with this draft. I really do. But this is the first WR you opt to take? Yeah, Mayle has prototypical size, and yeah, he could certainly be molded into a solid weapon due to his raw athleticism. But in order to get to this point, you left on the board Devante Parker, Breshad Perriman, Phillip Dorsett, Devin Smith, Dorial Green Beckham, Devin Funchess, Tyler Lockett, Jaelen Strong, Chris Conley, Sammie Coates, Ty Montgomery, Jamison Crowder and Justin Hardy. Many of those guys I honestly didn't even want, but this pick sadly reeked of just being too-little-too-late. But I'm gonna root for Super Smash Bros. Mayle and hope he develops quickly.
Charles Gaines, CB, Louisville
Mike Pettine has a fetish for CB’s, we know this. Gaines lacks a lot in size, and that's the main thing that kept him from getting over the hump, but working in the slot and using his speed, he could be beyond just a depth or special teams guy when called upon. An okay depth move all things considered.
Malcolm Johnson, TE/HB, Mississippi State
With the Browns going run-first in 2015, you need to get someone who can work better as a FB than...god, I can't even make a joke here because I can't remember the name of a Browns FB to save my life. Johnson will probably end up being asked to be an H-Back TE who could slot in at FB and help open lanes, or push forward.
Randall Tefler, TE, USC
Another Pac-12 find. I wasn't a huge fan on many TE's in the draft class, although I would've liked to see the Browns make an effort to get someone more dynamic. That said, Tefler is a solid blocker who will likely be used to add depth/replace Gary Barnidge or Jim "Forgot About" Dray in the blocker TE role. If nothing else, a low-risk depth move.
Hayes Pullard, ILB, USC
A very patient player who seemed to lack the killer instinct that other ILB prospects showed on the field, Pullard this late was a decent pick-up. He'll have a good mentor in Dansby and he can function well as a role-player and special teams guy.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
I was actually watching the pre-Kentucky Derby at a casino in Cleveland when this pick was made, and there was an audible "HOLY CRAP!" from so many people around when the pick was finalized. There will be a lot asked for Captain IEO (He needs to moonwalk for his touchdown pick-6 return celebrations while "Another Part of Me" plays, real talk.) to get back to full strength in 2016, but if Ifo manages to get back to there and meets his expectations, this secondary could be fucking insane. Haden, Williams, a ton of young talent, and a guy who would've been a first round pick if he'd come out one year earlier. There was no risk in this; this late in the draft, see if you can't find your next Richard Sherman.
The main thing we didn't touch in this draft was WR, and yes, that list from earlier is true. I would've liked to see us add a pure WR1 here, but the commitment was clearly to round out this defense, which is exactly what the FO did. It was almost refreshing; a draft that wasn't going for splash players, but was made as honest-to-god building blocks for 4-5 years down the line. Using foresight in a Cleveland Browns draft, who'd have thought that was fucking possible? Note: I also did a defending the draft piece which sums up most of what I said. Check out the whole series over at /NFL_Draft.
Other Offseason News That Affected The Team
Johnny Rehab: Johnny Manziel basically hit the wall, and hit it hard, starting with a party on the Friday night before the season ending game in Baltimore, which resulted in a ton of drama and punishments for multiple members of the team. After every hot take that could ever be made about Manziel's ability to succeed and his potential dependency on the party life, Manziel finally checked into rehab on February 4th. I'm not sure where Manziel goes from this, honestly. Since his check out from rehab, he did have what seemed like a majonon-incident at a golf course, but he also left his party-enabling lavish apartment at "The 9" downtown to move to the suburbs, dropped the "Johnny Football" moniker, and by most accounts seems to be working his ass off after a first season that went absolutely off the rails. The Browns have dug themselves into a Manziel shaped hole, and 2015 is going to either tell us if Manziel can dig his own way out, both on and off the field, or just keep digging deeper until the Browns have to give up and try again in 2016. We'll see.
Text-gate-gate: Ray Farmer will be suspended for the first 4 games for sending texts down to the field discussing play calls. I'm conflicted, because it feels like Farmer is a good guy with an eye for late-round talent and UDFA's, who was jerked around in 2014 by Old Man Haslam. Was he doing Haslam’s stooge work here, or was he just passionate about righting the ship? Just...Ray, I like you for the most part. Please just stay out of trouble for 2015. I don't wanna turn over this organization yet.
Josh Gordon Suspended...Again: ..........sigh. Josh Gordon gets caught drinking on a plane after the regular season had ended during a trip to Vegas and gets tested upon landing. He didn't know he couldn't drink until the end of the entire season, and writes a passive aggressive letter about how he doesn't have a substance abuse problem and the entire team starts getting fingers pointed at, even drawing "Uncle" Phil Taylor into a response. Whether you think Gordon is an addict or not, it doesn't matter; he's been through the ringer and still doesn't fucking know better. If he's back in 2016 and can keep his moronic ass on the field, fantastic, because the Browns need him, but if not, this might be the end. Inevitably, he'll go win a Super Bowl somewhere else, we know this. But if you're trying to change the culture, you can't let this guy fuck up again, and they did. This many chances to play in the rules of the system he backed into on his own accord, it's frustrating to watch. He's got Megatron-level talent but his biggest enemy seems to be himself.
The new Browns, Same As the Old Browns: This year was Nike's rebranding for Cleveland, and things did not start well with the new logo, which was the same logo with a brighter gradient in spite of media hype and some internal push for how exciting the rebrand would be. It resulted in an insane amount of mockery early on as a result. Although the "brown was unchanged", the uniforms were not, and although the damn stripe that cuts off just before the shoulder pisses me off, they've grown on me a bit, so kudos on that much. Hopefully this is a catalyst to the culture change that front offices and fans in Cleveland have been dying for.
Projected Starting Lineup
QB: Josh McCown, followed by Johnny Manziel - Kind of hilarious that every pundit is suggesting that Josh McCown is being asked to be the long term starter for Cleveland as a 34 year old career backup, but I have a feeling that he'll be starting off the season. But at the end of the day, it's all down to Manziel to play this season. You must see what we have in this kid and take the good and the bad, because learning you have nothing is better than blindly hoping you have something. Or McCown. RB: Duke Johnson - If you read into camp, Duke Johnson has been playing his dick off. I think that the RB1 role is going to be fluid with Crow and West, but Duke's pass-catching ability might move him into a prominent role faster than expected. FB: Malcolm Johnson - We’ve got nobody else. WR1: Dwayne Bowe - Bowe is the closest thing on this team to being a pure WR1 right now in the absence of veteran help or a true star, so he'll have this role. WR2: Brian Hartline - Hartline worked well as a WR2 in Miami and he'll be called upon to be more of the same here. I expect Vince Mayle to be waiting in the wings. Slot WR: Andrew Hawkins - After getting a...well, absurd contract in the steal from Cincinnati in 2014, Hawkins lived up to what was needed in the absence of big-bodied WR's in 2014 and should continue that trend. Taylor Gabriel and Travis Benjamin will be waiting. TE: Rob Housler - This is honestly the biggest toss-up coming out of camp stories, because we don't know if Housler can truly make the jump this year. But I'd venture that Housler will be the top option with Barnidge getting some other opportunities and TefleDray getting blocking reps. LT: Joe Thomas - ...duh. LG: Joel Bittonio - ...yawn. C: Alex Mack - ...zzz. RG: Cameron Erving - Erving has been exponentially better as an inside lineman. I figure he will be moved between RG and RT as needed to see what sets work best with Greco and Schwartz, but I think he is ultimately an upgrade over Greco. His next best option would be to be at RT, and to move Schwartz into the RG role. RT: Mitchell Schwartz - I believe this is his contract year, so he'll have a lot to prove either here or at RG, that he’s beyond his 5th round evaluation.
LDE: Desmond Bryant - Desmond played a tough 2014 campaign, and although Cooper will probably push him for this spot (along with Armonty Bryant), I think Desmond will have it locked down to start. NT: Danny Shelton - Feast Mode is having a luau. RDE: Randy Starks - Veteran presence wins out. Xavier Cooper might see some play time, but I don't see him completely lapping Starks. Expect Phil Taylor to also be in the mix here, if not at NT. LOLB: Barkevious Mingo - Yes, a baby did eat my Mingo. Hopefully he can continue his progress into this season, because he needs to with Orchard nipping. LILB: Karlos Dansby - A veteran leader coming off injury who should continue to be a spark in the LB corps. RILB: Craig Robertson - I'd like to see Robertson make a stronger push this season into becoming a more well-rounded open-field defender, but he’ll do for now. ROLB: Paul "T-1000" Kruger - THOSE EYES CB1: Joe Haden - Haden's emergence as a leader and great talent at the CB position locks him in. CB2: Tramon Williams - Tramon is going to have to battle to keep this all year; you've got a hungry bunch behind him in Gilbert/Williams/DesiGaines. FS: Tashaun Gipson - Beyond the contract struggle, Gipson has been rock solid at the FS position lately and hopefully continues his progression. SS: Donte Whitner - Twitter Troll Supreme
P: Andy Lee - Put 'em on the 1 yard line, Andy. K: Not Billy Cundiff - At this point, fucking anybody. If I had to watch Billy Cundiff botch one more close distance FG I was going to lose my fucking mind. KR: Marlon Moore - Moore's role on this team is pretty much exclusively this, but Duke Johnson and Travis Benjamin will likely challenge him. I hope Benjamin can turn back the clock and get his KR status back to the shape it once was.
Position Group Strengths and Weaknesses
Manziel is still young. McCown won't do anything too stupid.
Manziel is still a rookie. McCown won't do anything too smart.
Depth. Three dynamic backs bringing something different to the table with each.
Lack of experience; two sophomores and a rookie.
Lots of guys with a lot to prove.
That proof needs to come fast: no proven talent, no proven game-changers, no proven big-bodied true WR1.
Depth has been added, the left side is fucking impeccable, could be a top 10 line this year if all are healthy.
The weakest point (Mitchell Schwartz) will be pretty weak comparatively.
Heavy investment in developing the Lake Erie Buffet Line with Starks, Shelton, and Cooper.
A few odd-men out in the rotation, need to get Shelton to speed quick.
Strong veteran presence, Mingo getting better.
But if the pass rush does improve, is it time to revamp again?
Deep as fuck, young, two strong starters and solid nickel options.
I still wouldn't want to run sets with Haden not on the field; where does Gilbert fit?
We don't have Billy Cundiff anymore.
Our kicker is not Phil Dawson.
Training Camp Battles to Watch
QB - Manziel vs McCown: The obvious answer here. Will Manziel make enough progress to wrestle away the starting job from McCown before we need to go with McCown being forced into high-pressure situations? COULD CONNOR SHAW EMERGE AND DESTROY SOME WORLDS AND SHOCK EVERYONE?! RB - Johnson vs West vs Crowell: Early line says Crowell will be the starter because he appears the most well rounded; West has a plow-forward play style that might be in better shape with the healthy offensive line; Johnson is a dynamic pass-catching back with elusiveness. I'm with the Duke, and all 3 should get touches, but who knows? TE - Housler vs Barnidge: This is the closest thing to competition in the receiving corps we'll have due to proven talent ahead at everything else. I think Housler locks it down but both should find playing time. RT/RG - Greco vs Schwartz vs Erving: How this eventually plays out should be interesting to watch; it's going to come down to whatever two make the most sense opening up on the line. For me, it's Erving at RG and Schwartz at RT, but it all depends. DE - Bryant vs Starks vs Cooper vs Taylor vs A. Bryant: With Armonty Bryant and Uncle Phil healthy, there could be serious competition for the ends this year; Cooper and Taylor have to fit somewhere, and Armonty played his ass off in limited time in 2014. CB2 - Tramon Williams vs The field: Can Justin Gilbert step up and take away the CB2 role from the veteran? Can a Ka'Waun Williams jump into the lead role, or even Pierre Desir? Is Charles Gaines capable enough to tap into finesse and take the spot?
Let's Talk Schemes, With JohnnyFire, Who Doesn't Know How Schemes Work For Shit
This was an optional point of the review, but hey, lemme attempt to work it out. Offensive scheme: In case it wasn't obvious, with the offensive line shoring and the addition of another talented RB, the Browns are going to be working a run-first offense. Everything will be going through the ground game, meaning the interior of the line will be called on to open up big run lanes early. It also means that we're not going to be gunslinging, least of all with McCown in there. The short passing game and smart out-routes will likely be the staples for this offense until we get another weapon in 2016, so I expect Hawkins (and Johnson as an option) to get tons of looks. Long term, it’s also key that we play into what strengths Manziel actually exhibits, and not try to fit a square peg into a round hole here; Manziel's legs and deep-ball awareness can still be tapped into if asked. It's going to be a bit of a mish-mash ground-and-pound short-game offense in 2015, unless Manziel's skill set has expanded far beyond what we think. Defensive scheme: Jim O'Neill's D shouldn't be changing up too much, only becoming expanded on with more playmakers. O'Neill suggested that although the Browns are currently running a 3-4, the talent they have could open up some 4-3 sets (likely meaning we would see a front 4 of Bryant/TayloShelton/Starks or Cooper, with a 3-rush LB of KrugeDansby/Mingo. That's very intriguing.) I wish I could go more technical into this, but quite honestly, it's not my forte; I just know that Pettine and O'Neill wanted a strong all-around D, and although we need to see what the new additions actually do, on paper, it looks like a strong squad now and moving forward.
The Browns have a tougher schedule than they did in 2014, and with much of the same defense and an offense in transition, they went 7-9. The offense is now in limbo while the defense got better, so...ehhhhhh? I'll aim for as reasonable as I can. Week 1: @ New York Jets: New York's revamped D is solid, but their offense could still sink them. If the Browns can make their offense falter early, they'll have a chance, but winning week 1 on the road isn't exactly easy. Let's assume the D is up to the challenge for NYJ right off the bat and make this a close defensive effort on both fronts, with Cleveland losing a tough one. Cleveland loses 17-13 (0-1) Week 2: vs Tennessee Titans: Here's the coming out party for this defense and the first chance to see if this offense is good enough. Tennessee's team is just flatly lacking in overall talent right now, although they do have some playmakers here. The last thing the Browns want is to get spanked by oft-mocked-to-them Mariota. I think they can pull off a motivated home opener win. Cleveland wins 20-14 (1-1) Week 3: vs Oakland Raiders: Oakland, in my view, had a pretty solid draft, but I'm not sure they've entirely turned the corner, even with the emergence of Derek Carr. I think a strong defensive front and the strong secondary can keep him in check long enough for whoever is slinging the ball to keep it together into a solid but close win. Cleveland wins 24-21 (2-1) Week 4: @ San Diego Chargers: Unfortunately I can't see Cleveland heading out to the West Coast and dominating a still fairly tough Chargers team. Unless they rattle Rivers hard and fast right off the bat, but that's doubtful honestly. They could keep it competitive though. Cleveland loses 28-17 (2-2) Week 5: @ Baltimore Ravens: The Browns have not won in Baltimore since 2007, and only 3 times since 1999. That's...bad. And Baltimore is still good enough to keep that trend up I fear after an offensive reload. Cleveland loses 35-20 (2-3) Week 6: vs Denver Broncos: You have no idea how much I'd love to spank Peyton Manning at home, and I'd imagine this will probably be closer with the Browns getting some attention against the tougher team. But I can't doubt Denver just yet; I do think the downfall for Denver may be on the horizon, but not yet. Cleveland loses 31-21 (2-4) Week 7: @ St. Louis Rams: Another "Tough D vs so-so Offense" matchup. My hope is by now the offense will have settled in with whoever's at the helm (I'd assume Manziel by this point) and can get the big road win, even though this could be a toss up if Nick Foles and the strong D finally make this St. Louis's "next year" we've been waiting on. Ah, fuck it. Let's call it an upset. Cleveland wins 18-17. (3-4) Week 8: vs Arizona Cardinals: I have pretty high hopes for Arizona if they stay healthy, and at the mid-point of the season, that's pretty much all it will come down to. This is the start of a tough 3-game swing for Cleveland and if Carson and the D remains upright, I think they dispatch the Browns post haste. Cleveland loses 24-13 (3-5) Week 9: @ Cincinnati Bengals: ALERT! ALERT! Primetime Andy Dalton Game! Primetime Andy Dalton Game! We probably will actually get blown out as revenge for last season, but fuck it, I have to rip on someone other than my own team at some point in these predictions! Cleveland wins 24-21 (4-5) Week 10: @ Pittsburgh Steelers: Fucking Steelers with their good drafting and respectable organization and history of winning and Super Bowls. And then they have a solid 2015 draft too. But hey, their RB smokes weed and got caught and got suspended everyone point and laugh, please, my self esteem needs it, HAHAHAHA--we're not winning this game are we? Cleveland loses 30-13 (4-6) Week 11: Bye Week 12: vs Baltimore Ravens: Monday Night Football in Cleveland, OH. Reason dictates that this will be the biggest game of Cleveland's season, and coming off the bye and a tough in-division loss to Pittsburgh, I'm going to buck the trend here and say that Cleveland pulls off the upset and wins a key game in primetime in the division, shutting down the revamped offense and Sam the Eagle. Cleveland wins 27-21 (5-6) Week 13: vs Cincinnati Bengals: Damnit, I wanted two games with Primetime Andy Dalton. If we take the jokes aside, the Bengals are a strong squad that will be in playoff contention, and this late in the season, this will probably be a must-win for them. Cleveland loses 28-14 (5-7) Week 14: vs San Francisco 49ers: I honestly feel bad for San Francisco at this point. They're probably not going to completely fall off, but coming into a year wish such promise, there has just been so much turnover in that organization this year it's almost mind numbing. I'd hope Cleveland can keep their heads up and take advantage of it. Cleveland wins 31-18 (6-7) Week 15: @ Seattle Seahawks: ......fuck. Cleveland loses 35-13 (6-8) Week 16: @ Kansas City Chiefs: Because going from the loudest stadium in the NFL to the second loudest stadium in the NFL is just a thing that happens. Cleveland loses 27-24 (6-9) Week 17: vs Pittsburgh Steelers: There is nothing more important in any given season than logging a win against the fucking Pittsburgh Steelers. At least until we get over this mental and metaphysical hump that has held the Browns down for so damn long in their own wallowing. After two tough challenges on the road, I think the Browns can pull off one season-ending upset in spite of everything to end the season strong and accomplish two things: match last year's record without an elite QB, and hit .500 in the division. Cleveland wins 17-14 (7-9)
Reasonably, I'd say between 6-10 (drop either the STL or PIT game) and 8-8 (win against SD early?) is pretty solid. Our offense just plainly is not good enough right now. If Cleveland shows up for some big games or takes advantage of their strength on defense early, they might be able to break .500, but I don't see this squad hitting the playoffs in 2015. The lack of a franchise QB limits my optimism for toss ups.
I said last year that the most important thing for Cleveland in 2014 was not to make a playoff push or to win "x" amount of games; it was to facilitate a culture change, to get away from the "LOLBROWNS" and the "woe is me" that has permeated the organization since their return from expansion. Many people have tried to make that happen, but stupid moves, or regressions, or giving up too early, or just plainly getting the wrong players at the wrong time, it's all added up to misery. With that said...this is the closest I've seen this team to having a long-term plan in place to get over that hump. Yes, you have some issues on offense, but the offseason, the draft, the move to get more compensatory picks in 2016, the feeling that Pettine and Farmer are locked in, it's a good feeling. Are the Browns going to light the world on fire in 2015? No. But they don't need to right now. Get that defense up to working speed. Keep the run game and offensive line strong. Don't panic fire Pettine or Farmer because things don't add up to a 10-6 finish. Don't start scrambling around or getting cheeky with your QB if things go crazy. I no longer see this team as rebuilding, but rather finally fucking building; investing heavily in the trenches and crafting a strong defense. There have been growing pains of this regime, but unlike in the Holmgren era, or the Policy era, or the Savage era, it doesn't feel for naught. There is something being established, and if we as fans can have some patience for a change, I think we could see the second half of this decade be very, very fun if the course stays. ...or we'll be LOLBROWNS again. Such is the cycle of Browns fans. Special thanks to admiralkit, TheFencingCoach, skepticismissurvival, TheVetNoob, everyone over on /Browns, and Dusty Rhodes. We been through some Hard Times, bay-beh.
Hey /yugioh, it's time for another long in-depth tournament report. This time for YCS Seattle where I failed to do anything significant but here we go anyways. Turn up the tunes and enjoy the story. Background If you aren't interested in a story, skip down to the bolded actual tournament report. A little background on the months leading up to this event. Originally, I wasn't planning on playing YCS Seattle. I was testing and playing Magic the Gathering's Modern format in preparation for GP Vancouver. However, several months before GP Vancouver (MTG YCS), YCS Seattle was announced on the same weekend as GP Vancouver (fuck me, right). I still wasn't going to go play YCS Seattle anyways because I already committed so much of my time, and money to that format. Not to mention it was Zoodiac format and I didn't want to join the mad rush for cards. With my decision made, a close friend of mine who knows the owner of Yuigioh Dank Deals tried really hard to change my mind. Yugioh Dank Deals, a facebook buying / selling group, was putting together a team. Being part of that team meant that your cards would be provided to you for a large event. Seems kind of convenient for Zoodiac format. My friend talked to me about it and I suggested a well known player (who top 32'd YCS Seattle), Chancy aka Squiddy. However, the owner wanted more than just Chancy from the pacific west coast. For reasons unbeknownst to me, he also wanted me on the team because a Nationals top means something. With that, I was now part of Team Dank Deals, which makes naming these kinds of reports kind of difficult because I'm also part of MST.TV. Well. sigh. I guess I'm playing Yugioh then. Time to shelf the MTG cards I just spent a small fortune on. I spent the last month preparing for the event, testing the Zoodiac deck with my play-group and with my team, and requested from my close friend and well-known vendor. I started with the popular Zoodiac Kaiju build, straight net-decking from Japan, but ultimately came to the conclusion that Raigeki & Dark Holes were superior to the Kaijus and it made the deck more consistent for the mirror match that I expected to play a ton of. I also drew Terrortop like a motherfucker in testing. The deck was designed to grind games instead of focusing on the Slumber + Rat OTK by just throwing a fuck ton of traps at my opponent while gaining a very nonpunishable advantage with the Zoodiac engine. Days before the event, I finalized my list and sleeved up, what I was told, a $1,000 yugioh deck. Shout-outs to Hector and Marcus for providing me with my list. You can check out the group here to pick up some sick deals on cards. Irrelevant Decklist that sucks because I didn't top: Monsters 16 3 Zoodiac Rat 3 Zoodiac Snek (Whip Tail) 2 Zoodiac Throughblade 3 Terrortop 1 Taketomborg 2 Maxx "C" 2 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit Spells 15 3 ROTA Tenki 3 Zoodiac Barrage of money 1 Raigeki 2 Dark Hole 2 Twin Twister 2 My Body As A Shield 2 Instant Fusion Traps 9 3 Dick Barrier 3 Solemn Stroke 1 Torrential Tribute 1 Vanity's Emptiness 1 Seasonal Shit of Zoodiac Combo Extra Deck 15 2 Zoodiac Drident 2 Zoodiac BroadBull 2 Zoodiac TIGER AKA BEST GIRL 1 Zoodiac Boarbow 2 Daigusto Emeral 1 Gagaga Samurai 1 Steelswarm Roach 1 Totem Bird 1 M-X-Saber Invoker 1 PK Break Sword 1 Norden Sideboard 15 3 Imperial Iron Wall 3 Anti-Spell Fragrance 1 Gameciel 1 Dogoran 1 3300 Kaiju 2 Interrupted Kaiju Slumber 2 Forbidden Chalice 1 Coach King Bearguy 1 Coach King Giatrainer The sideboard was designed to make the best out of turn control. Flood gates for going first, Imperial for Mill.dek, Coach King engine for going first to +90259230, and the Slumber engine to go 2nd and murder guys. Originally, I was siding the entire 7 card Kaiju engine, but cut it down to the 5 because I was siding out Dark Holes when I was boarding in Kaijus. With the 5 card engine I would be boarding into a total of 5 board wipes, 3 kaijus instead of 4 board wipes, and 4 kaijus. I wanted to draw more board wipes so this made sense. Chalice was sided as an insurance card against shitty Vanity's Fiends & Flying "C," which I knew untested players would play. Our group was already well past those cheese cards in terms of developing the meta, but a lot of people from our area was playing Quaking Mirror Force, which I did not agree with. At one point I considered siding Twin Twisters, but felt that it would be too greedy and I needed it for rogue decks. Overall, I was incredibly happy with the deck list, even after the event. To the Tournament! Day 0. I got a sick airBnB for our crew and it could fit like 20+ people. We decide to go down in the morning so that we have time to enjoy our place, cook dinner, and test a bunch! Great idea! We have 2 cars go down in the morning, and 1 car in the afternoon for a total of 15 people. We get to the US Border while making Trump jokes at 12:00. We leave the border at 2:30. We didn't know one of our friends was flagged and we spent an hour and a half in the border. Great start. We drive down to the venue immediately to pre-register. I submit my registration in hopes of getting the token, but they tell me I need to submit my list. I hand my packs back and go contemplate if it's worth it to write my list now. I think it's not, and then run back to register. The line was dead at this point and the guy hands my packs back. I crack them open and pull Zoodiac Barrage! It was truly destined for me. Later on Nishi picks up the token off a trade and gives it to me. I give my two binders to my vendor friend (Marcus) who supplied me with Zoodiacs to get the most for them, but he spends almost an hour with the vendor selling his own cards and the venue closes. If only we had an extra 2 and a half hours. We wait outside the venue like rats as Marcus is still dealing with the vendors, somehow even after the venue is closed, and he manages to secure 9 more Terrortops, and 2 more invokers to finalize 3 more Zoodiac decks for our group. At the end of the day, our group had 7 Zoodiac decks and we even had extra Barrages. Crazy. We go pick up some shit at Target, then go get vanilla white food aka Red Robins. We catch our 3rd group coming in to Red Robins by pure coincidence and we all go back to the house to chill. If you wanna see the house check out our vlog. The house is absolutely massive, and the master bedroom shower had this magical heater that made the room super warm even after you got out of the shower which was probably the most important thing in this whole trip as I now know exactly what kind of bathroom I want when I buy my house. Yes, this is still a tournament report. I don't make any changes on my list, and write the deck list after minor testing. I was honestly all test-ed out (is that even a term? it is now), and at this point I just wanted to sit down and play 12 rounds of YGO, preferbably back to back with no breaks and no food. Actual Tournament Report Time for actual YGO! My mindset is YGO ready, but I'm a terrible morning player. I'm hoping for some easy rounds to start with, and know later on in the tournament is where I will shine. Round 1 Vs. Rodrigo playing Zoodiacs Great. Mirror match. It's okay, I'm totally prepared for this match-up as it's fairly skill based and I have a TON of practice with the mirror. I'm feeling pretty confident. Game 1, I open the absolute nuts and I beat him to death with a Totem Bird, Drancia while under Emptiness and he was just throwing Dimensional Barriers at me in the battle phase and I would just instantly pass turn when he did. Solid start. Game 2, I lose out because he went first and I didn't draw any answers for Drident, making it very hard. Game 3, I board into the Coach engine to open nutty turn 1 boards, but brick out with Taketomborg and Zoodiac Combo turn 1, and he manages to establish a solid bard into my shitty opening making me lose. Not a good tournament start I hoped for. 0-1 Round 2 Vs. K.C. playing Dinomist Okay. I felt kind of bad. I was literally just throwing money on the board to win the game. At one point his one Dinomister card was staring down 2 Emerals, 1 Drident, 2 D-Barriers, and a Solemn Strike with 6 cards in hand. He was a chill guy though and he lost R1 to Zoodiac which made me feel worse. 1-1 Round 3 Vs. Calen playing Majespecter I 2-0 him pretty handedly. Game 1 he opens poorly and I proceed to level him. Game 2, he opens strong with Bunbuku 4 backrow. I summon terror top into it and use it to force Bunbuku off the board so he can't tribute Bunbuku to use his traps. To thin out live backrows. Then I combo into him and he just loses because he's playing dead backrow against Zoodiacs and I keep poping his scales. 2-1 Round 4 Vs. Rodrigo playing Metalfoe Zoodiac I was honestly fearing this match-up because we underestimated this deck as a group during testing. I saw the results it was putting up in the last weeks regionals and was honestly, quite scared of the match-up. But I chalked it up to people not being able to complete full Zoodiacs, and trusted my teammates advice that 3 strikes, 3 dimensional barrier, and 3 anti-spell was very good against Metalfoes. G1, he goes first and establishes a Kirin board. I play patient and set 3 backrow into it. I eat a ton of damage, but he passes another turn to me. I flip Dimensional Barrier, calling Pendulums, and play Dark Hole to clear his board of answers. Then I proceed to play scale control, while being backed up by a Solemn Strike. Game 2, he doesn't open the nutty board and I quickly grind him out of resources. 3-1 Round 5 Vs. Matthew playing Metalfoe Zoodiac I guess lightning always strikes twice. Game 1 he goes first and drops Kirin and I make a joke about Kiring being banned. I try the Dimensional Barrier + Dark Hole Trick again after cycling into 2 dark holes and a Raigeki but lose out. Game 2 I open traps, and game 3, he bricks going first and I open Rat + Anti-Spell + a whole fuck ton of traps. Pink cards are good when you are playing a 1 card engine. 4-1 Round 6 Vs. Cameron playing 60 Cards Infernoid He was from California, and BOY did he look BAKED the whole time. I'm pretty sure he was high out of his mind thanks to Washington's marijuana laws. I enjoy a good puff every now and then but this guy was clearly not going to let yugioh from stopping him from enjoying himself. With that said, he choose the best deck for playing while baked. Game 1 goes exactly how it usually goes with testing. He mows the lawn and I have about 14 dead cards in my mainboard against him. Game 2 I open sub-optimal but he doesn't open lawn mowing (which is a 43% chance to open, by the way, according to my smart teammates). I win out with a grind game. Game 3 he opens lawn mowing but is low on utility. I Rat + 2 Imperial Iron Walls + Strike + Spells. I play around his D.D. Crow monster that he dropped onto the board. Then, I set my backrow. Games in the bag. I flip Imperial, He shows me Decatron, I let it through and flip another Iron Wall. He Snows my Emeral and I don't care. He passes to me and I start the combo, he tries to D.D. Crow it with Decatron and I strike it (which is honestly not a good play because I could have striked Decatron to begiin with and saved an Iron Wall, But I wanted to hold Strike encase of any shenanigans. I put lethal on board and he extends the handshake. 5-1 Round 7 Vs. Johnny playing Zoodiac Kaiju Another California guy who was a very good player and was super chill. At this point, all my friends are tired but I'm hitting the magical YGO runner's high that I get after playing 6 rounds and not eating anything and I'm at peak mental fortitude. I go first and think I have the advantage and he slamsTwin Twisties, Slumber, and Rat on does the YGO equivalent of yelling out "I WIN, YOU LOSEEEEE." Game 2, is very similar with me opening shitty and he takes me to the dumpster. So much for runner's high. 5-2 Round 8 Vs. Josef playing Zoodiacs A guy not from this area. He looks uncomfortable in the mirror match and we go into G1. I go first and the game goes exactly like how it goes. The guy is unable to develop onto my board and I have too much advantage on him and eventually take him out. After game 1, he complements me on how "I know what I'm doing," with the match-up. I don't know what to say as it's round 8 and I think my opponent is trying to psyche me out. I find out after that he was truly genuine as he approaches me later on and starts talking to me about his Zoodiac plays and whether they are correct are not. G2 he wins due to inherent turn advantage. Game 3, I open the absolute nuts and resolve Coach King Combo against him and go +9 million. My ending board is Emeral, Coach King Giatrainer, Drident, Invoker, Tenki, with Torrential, Dimensional Barrier, 3 Solemns in the backrow, and with 6 cards in my hand. He Raigekis my board of 4 monsters but goes -1, and I continue to bury him in advantage. 6-2 I end day 1 with a X-2 record which means I'm a sure-in for day 2, and all I need to do is win tomorrow's first 2 matches to get top 32. Sounds easy enough. We go back after getting cheese cake factory with our huge party and we sing the loudest happy birthday that restaurant has ever heard with a 15 person ensemble to our mate who played YCS on his birthday. I go back and instantly sleep to prepare myself for day 2. I pass my deck to my friend who pieces out the foreign cards for english cards in preparation for day 2 rule sharks. Round 9 Vs. Daniel playing CHAIN BURN Fuck me right off, it is too early for this shit. I'm not losing my YCS run to fucking chain burn, is what I told myself. G1, he lets me go first and I assume he's playing Mermail so I wall up with everything in defense. He goes set, demise, set 6 and passes. I attack into a set Card Car D, and I know what i'm dealing with. This guy has been X-2 playing chain burn purely against Zoodiacs. He's built to fuck me up. Great. I lose game 1 to burn while trying to pop my own cards at the end of chains so that he does less damage to me. Game 2, I push through him and he doesn't draw enough to kill me. Eventually the game ends with a 2800 Tigermortar attacking into a set Maxx "C," for piercing. He picks up the Maxx "C" to move it to the grave and I say "piercing damage?" He tries to backtrack and say that "oh I want to activate Waboku now" but it's too late in the game. A judge is called and the judges says him picking up the Maxx "C" into the grave indicates that he was okay with it being destroyed. Ultimately, it's not my responsibility to know if my opponent understands my cards are not. He did not ask any specifics of my monsters, so I assumed he knew. I mean it is round 9 of a YCS in Zoodiac Format. I take game 2. Game 3, I go first and he draws a lot of big burn cards and murders me. YCS Tournament run ended by chain burn anyways. I go outside and CHAIN smoke a bit. 6-3 Round 10 Vs. No Show I end the tournament strong, and chill out beside a guy from London for a non-consequential free win. We talk about the YGO scene in London and how I could not find card shops when I was there. I do not make top 32, as all the X-2-1s didn't even make top 32, as expected. I go enter a regionals side event but lose out round 1 because I'm playing on tilt. I enter academy duels with Team MST.TV and we lose out x-2 due to the rules changing in the middle of the tournament (Round 1 was played in matches, but Round 2+ were played as BO1). Our group does some crazy tokens with like 16+ people and the token guys get mad at us. Finally, we give Nishi a surprise gift (see the Vlog, or our channel) before calling it a day as a group. BONUS WIN-A-MAT REPORT If you didn't know. I have an infamous "win-a-mat" curse. In my 7 years of playing YGO, I've never won a win-a-mat. It's said that my final round opponent always begins the game with 5 cards of their choosing. I secretly enter a win-a-mat to try and break the curse on the down low. It's the last win-a-mat of YCS Seattle to fire. Round 1 Vs. Zoodiac Guy was clearly very good at the game because he drew Maxx "C" every game. In game 2 I had Maxx "C" too, but he had a second one. I still win the match anyways because he didn't know how to play the match-up and over extended into backrow while I kept my board presence and movement to a bare minimum. Round 2 Vs. Zoodiac Guy was, again, fairly inexperienced and I 2-0 him. Last memorable play was in game 2 where I bricked and I had 1 face-down. I bluff Dimensional Barrier against a Terror top and my opponent makes Totem Bird instead Invoker which would have killed me. He passes to me and I show him the Rat combo. He tells me "why did you make Samurai you don't have lethal." I tell him I know and attack him bringing him down low, I attack with Drident equip a Viper, and flip my face-down Zoodiac Combo to kill him. My final opponent is playing against Metalfoe Yang Zing beside me and was doing the standard strategy of going +1 million and just throwing cards at his opponent until they gave up. By this time it was already pretty late and my friends were finishing up whatever events they were playing. Everyone was looking for me and by the time I was ready to play round 3 a large crowd of friends have gathered to watch me lose my win-a-mat final Round 3 Vs. Zoodiac By this time, basically all my friends are here and even the my opponent and the judge are making win-a-mat jokes about me. Game 1, my opponent opens the absolute nuts (as I was told later on by a friend) including traps, Rat, Maxx "C." Basically everything you could ask for the in the mirror. He sets up and I try to push into his set-up unsucessfully while eating Maxx "C" and a dimensional barrier. I set 3 and pass. He shows his inexperience tries to push into the backrow and I bluff empty backrow. I let him make whatever and on the last possible monster he could have summoned I torrential him. Game 2, he's going first and I board into the Kaiju engine but don't see it. He opens the nuts again and shows me Maxx "C" when I play Instant on turn 2 after getting my monster Drident poped. I elect to play into Maxx "C" as I really had nothing and he goes to like 7 cards in hand. I felt buried and scooped. My friend later tells me that his hand of 7 cards was literally all dead and I probably could hae won that one. Game 3, I open the nuts and the game goes into the standard slippery slope. I FINALLY break my win-a-mat curse! I'm honestly celebrating more than when I topped nationals and it made this entire trip worth it. The judge makes me sign a invite form for some reason and i'm confused. We get to the prize table and he they hand me the Zoodiac Mat and a regional deck box, which is not the prize for a win-a-mat. I celebrate with my friends and the judges come back to rip my prize out of my hand. Apparently there was a mistake. They hand me a shitty Aster Phoenix mat instead. Whatever, a win-a-mat is a win-a-mat. The Judge apologizes to me and tells me he is willing to sell me the Zoodiac Mat when he gets it for his Judge goody bag. I pick up the Zoodiac mat and the Beatrice Judge mat for like $50. What a bro. Post Tournament We finish strong and go out for buffet. I got me a metric fuck ton of Prime Rib to celebrate my first ever win-a-mat. My friend drinks a waffle with a straw, and they double or nothing on red at the casino. Good way to end a YCS. Anyways, I hope you all have enjoyed my very long, YCS tournament report. I would like to thank Team Dank Deals for supplying me with cards that I wouldn't normally have and letting me play YGO instead of MTG. Shout-outs to YGO Fam, and MST.TV for being a solid crew for YCS. Shout-outs to breaking win-a-mat curse, which confirms I win nationals this year. Until next time... remember to hold onto your backrow because Zoodiac mirrors are an aboslute nightmare... MST.TV Oscar [TDD] ?? TDD & MST.TV Oscar ?? MSTDD Oscar ?? TDD Oscar from MST.TV ?? Oscar.
I will have 5 day weekends during my summer (only 2 of them) and I was thinking of London, Las Vegas, California, Seattle, and Ocean City, Maryland as options
So both times, my 5 day weekend will be Starting on Thursday and end on a Monday. Ideally, I want to schedule my departing flight on a Thursday morning and then my arriving flight back home on Monday morning or afternoon. My interests include some history, I just got interested in hiking so some beginning hiking would great, outdoor adventure (like kayaking, biking and zip lining), unique city secrets and hidden gems, haunted/ paranormal stuff (just not too much), FOOD, ALCOHOL, DINING, meeting and partying with people in their 20s and older, geek/nerd culture, historical buildings, scenic views, things particular to the city/area/culture and etc. Here is what I have so far and any recommendations and suggestions are more than welcomed! London I went almost three years ago and realized how beautiful the city was. Las time I was there with my aunt and we did some sight seeing. I want to do some sightseeing but maybe do more! Here is what I had in mind:
Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour
Jack The Ripper Tour
Abbey Road (Yea, do that thing!)
Tower of London
Museum of Natural History
King's Cross Station and other Harry Potter film locations!
I also remember seeing on Globe Trekker there was this small row boat you can take along a river in London and head to a beautiful place in Oxford and has tremendous views! I was thinking about having a Sunday breakfast with charcuterie and glass of wine (if permitted). I'm also interested in anything that looks like the Shambles of York! Las Vegas Last summer, I had a blast but to the point where I drank myself stupid. This time, I want to do it right because last time, I wasn't able to do many activities due to a huge ass hangover but I still want to party and drink (just not too hard). Here is what I had in mind:
Visit the area around Area 51 and its shops
view the Grand Canyon scenery and do zip lining there
Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars
Hotel/ Casino Pool Party
Rides at the Stratosphere
Cirque De Solei show
I have a feeling there are hidden gems in Las Vegas too but I haven't found them. I heard of this really good pizza place at the Cosmopolitan but you have to explore the place to find it. I wasn't able to find it last time. California I've always wanted to go the the west coast. From my perspective, everyone is chill, welcoming, and good looking too! The Spotify ad makes LA sound soooo good too! I want to do some nature hiking, a bunch of activities in the city, eat, drink, and party too! I also heard Venice Beach is nice. I want to go to a place where I can easily meet people too. Any suggestions and recommendations will be appreciated! Seattle I remember doing my first Reddit Gifts exchange and the theme was snacks. My Secret Santa blew me away with her care package that was from the People's Market! From then I wanted to visit that Market! I also want to visit the original Starbucks too! Ocean City, Maryland This will just be a little weekend getaway with me and my friends. We're coming from NJ. We'll leave on our motorcycles on Thursday, spend a night in Cape May then catch the ferry going down to Ocean City, Maryland the next morning. We'll do some beach time on Friday morning and get unlimited crabs at the Crab Bag then head out to Seacrets for the whole time. Then we'll just head to Seacrets the whole day on Saturday. Not sure what's the best thing to do on Sunday though! Any recommendations and suggestions will be more than appreciated. To anyone who went to these places, what did you do and how much fun was it?
I have no title for my fucked up life, so I'm just going to write it all down. (Super long)
Well, let's start it off back when I was 6 years old. I really don't have any memories before then anyway. On December 12th, 1988, I was on my mom's lap while she was sitting on the stairs. Across from us, my dad was sitting on the loveseat watching TV. My brother-in-law was sitting on the couch relaxing before he went to work. It was your typical morning, everything was going just fine until my mom had a heart attack. I remember her leaning back on the stairs and basically going limp. I remember my dad rushing over to pick me up and hand me to my brother-in-law. I didn't know what was going on but the way they were panicking and checking on my mom I knew something was wrong. My brother-in-law then drove me to my grandma's house which was only 3 blocks away. I remember as we were pulling away from the house seeing the ambulance pull up outside with the sirens and lights going off. So now I'm at my grandmother's house, and she puts on The Wizard of Oz for me. I remember her crying majority of the time, but she wouldn't tell me what was going on whenever I asked her why everybody was acting weird. I ended up watching The Wizard of Oz three fucking times. To this day, I hate that movie, and haven't watched it since. Then my dad showed up to pick me up later that night. He was crying pretty bad. I remember him hugging me and telling me mom was dead. Seeing both him and my grandmother crying led me to start crying. Believe it or not, that was the last time I cried up until very recently, but I'll tell you about that when I get there. I didn't even cry at her funeral. This is the only memory I have of my mom and the earliest memory of my life that I remember. Kind of fucked up, right? To this day, this scene plays over and over in my head. I'll never forget it. So after my mom died, two of my sisters moved back into the house with my dad to help him move on from the loss. To help babysit me and take care of me while my dad worked. My dad was a workaholic, he would work 12 hours a day basically 3/4ths of the month, so I never really saw him. So here we are, my dad, my 3 older sisters (18, 21, and 23 years old), their kids, and their husbands and boyfriend, and me all living in a 3 bedroom, 2 story house. 8 months go by after my mom's death, and my dad is lonely, I mean he did just lose the love of his life. They were together for 30 years. My dad was not someone who could function without a relationship, so he went out looking to find someone. He ended up with the worst choice I could have ever imagined. This evil lady has ruined our family and separated us from him. He was in love, though. So he basically shut all of us out of his life and let her rule his life for him. So now it's my dad, my stepbrother, stepsister, and I living in the house. All of my sisters left because of this women. She hated me from the start, I didn't do anything to this women at all to deserve the treatment she gave me. She would lie to my dad and tell him that I would call her names, throw stuff at her, and not listen to her. Tell him that I was a menace and needed to get punished. She wouldn't tell him this when he got home from work, though. She would wait until he was drunk. My dad was a heavy drinker and would drink after coming home from work. When he was drunk she would tell him these lies, and my dad would beat the living shit out of me. Throwing full beer cans at me, hitting me with anything he could find, and basically verbally abusing me because I was an "asshole" to my new "mother". At 12 years old I going through a rough time in life. With all the abuse my dad was giving me because of my stepmother, and having no friends besides my mentally retarded stepsister and stepbrother. I was a weird kid. I was picked on at school constantly because I was the fat smelly kid. Nobody showed me the basics of life, I basically had to learn by myself how to wash myself, how to brush my teeth, and how to get dressed. Nobody told me anything about that, and apparently I failed at the hygiene department because kids are fucking assholes and let me know about it. So many times I got sent home from school because I smelled, and my dad or stepmother didn't do anything to help me out and show me how to properly bathe. I really wish my dad would have been so strict with me about overeating. I'm not going to blame him for that, because it's my fault that I ate all the time. But I feel he could have helped me out and not allowed me to eat whatever I wanted. That basically was the beginning stages of what my life would become, and I'll tell you about that when I get to it as well, because obesity plays a big role in my fucked up life. I started hearing voices when I was 12 years old as well. It freaked me out because nobody was there. I didn't know what was going on. I was really scared. I tried telling my dad about what I was hearing but he wasn't having any of it. He claimed I was just seeking attention. I tried telling my sisters what was going on and got the same thing. It was so bad I even had a heart to heart with my stepmother and tried to convince her that something was going on with me, and that I was hearing voices that wanted me to hurt animals and people. I thought I got through to her and she would help me out, but I was wrong. She told my dad and yet again, I was beat for making up stories. At 13 my stepmother and I got into a really huge fight that couldn't be fixed. So my stepmother made my dad give me away to one of my sisters or she would leave him. So he chose her over me. My dad unannounced, showed up to my oldest sister's house and told her this exact quote that I'll never forget, "Helen said it's either him or her, and I choose her because I can't get pussy from him, so you take him". And then he got back in his car and left. A couple years later my dad and stepmother was moving to Florida, and they wanted to take me with them. They promised me that shit would get better between us. They promised that it would be a fresh start for all of us. I decided to go with them and give it a shot. Nothing got any better, in fact shit got worse. I'm now 15 years old and the voices are getting louder. It's not all of the voices that want me to do bad things. It's only one male voice in particular. He would only come around once a month and start demanding me to kick the neighbor, or squirt someone with a hose, or push, punch, kick someone at school. The only way he would leave me alone is if I did what he wanted. He would get so loud that I couldn't take it anymore and give in. The other voices weren't bad, though. They were actually kind of cool. I like to call them my radio station voices because they just basically added commentary to what was going on around me. They never demanded me to do things, they were just there. They were there 24/7 and never went away, I even hear them to this day. Yes, I'm aware that they are probably just my thoughts, but they seem very real to me. They are not inside my head, they are outside my head and sound like they are next to me having a conversation with me, but I can't see them. Occasionally I'll talk to them, but that can be really awkward when someone catches you talking to your voices. It's happened plenty of times lol. I have done some horrible things in my life that I regret when it came to listening to my voices. I have harmed people, pets, and even started cutting myself. I got so tired of it I swallowed every single pill in my house and went into the garage to die. My plan backfired when my dad came into the garage to look for a tool and found me passed out. He called the ambulance and I got my stomach pumped. I didn't get committed, though. Which was fucked up, because I told the nurses I wanted to die and I would try to commit suicide again if they released me. Even they didn't believe I was hearing voices. I told them everything I did too. Even about harming neighbor's pets and even harming younger neighborhood kids. Nothing, I was set free. I'm in 10th grade now and 16 years old. I've had enough of my dad's bullshit abuse. I want nothing more to do with his alcoholic, pussy-whipped ass anymore. I get home from school one day and we get into an argument because of my stepmother. I've never ever defended myself from him, hell, I was always scared of my dad. I believe that's normal for all young boys. You look at your dad as some kind of superhero who has all the strength in the world. Nothing felt better than the day I defended myself and punched him in his drunk fucking face. Unfortunately for me, the neighbors saw me punch him, so they called the cops and the cops arrested me. I went to juvenile for 3 weeks because of that. When I got out I ran away from home and never looked back. I hitchhiked from Naples, FL to Pitman, NJ and it was the best time of my life. It took me 3 weeks to get there, but it was worth it. I gave my guitar to this kid at school for him to take me to the nearest truck stop on I75. Then from there I found a trucker that was going to Jacksonville. He was a cool old man who took me with him, we chatted about a bunch of stuff. When I told that I was running away he got kind of nervous and wanted to take me back. I assured him I wasn't going to tell anybody that he drove me there. I wasn't going to be a dick if I got caught, but from that point on I told everybody that I was 18 and trying to get back to NJ because a family member died. I ended up sleeping at the Greyhound station in Jacksonville for 3 days before finally finding a ride to Atlanta, Georgia. Jacksonville was a nice city, there was a lot of drugs at the Greyhound station, though. I had so many people come up to me and try to sell me hash, weed, coke, and even meth. It was crazy, and at 16 I couldn't believe that shit was happening out in the public like that during the day. It was quite an eye opening experience for me. So I ended up getting a ride from a young couple to a truck stop outside of Atlanta. At this truck stop I found a trucker who was going to Maine, he said he would give me a ride to NJ, which was awesome because that was where I needed to go anyway. So as we pull out from the truck, he says to me, "Hey man, have you ever tried Acid?". I told him no, and he proceeded to give me a paper hit. I took it and tripped balls for a long ass time. I lost track of time, so I have no clue how long it took us to get to NC, but somewhere in NC he started to ask me really perverted questions. We stopped at a truck stop and he proceeded to put his hand on my knee and started rubbing it. I asked him to stop, but he wouldn't. I then proceeded to punch him in the face and got out of the truck stop and ran inside to the truck stop, I figured that would be the safest bet for me because he wouldn't even try to come inside and grab me. There was no way he would do that. So I waited 3 hours until the fucker left and then found someone to take me to the Fayetteville, NC greyhound bus station. Let me tell you something about the greyhound bus station in Fayetteville. It was one of the worst places I have ever been in my life. It's a real bad area down there. I also got robbed for the first time in my life while inside the bus station. This black dude pulled a knife on me inside the bathroom and stole my backpack full of clothes and other little shit I had with me like my cds and cd player. This one guy walked into the bathroom and basically broke it up before anything else could happen. He then proceeded to take me to a truck stop outside of Fayetteville. I stayed there for 5 days until I found a ride with a group of teenagers going back to Baltimore from Disney World. They were really cool too, we smoked weed all the way up I94 too. That was probably the best time I've ever had. In Baltimore I found an older couple in a RV that took me to Philly. Then once I got to Philly I took the NJ Transit bus to my sisters house. She was surprised when I showed up. Apparently my dad never told them that I ran away from home, so it was all a shocker to them. From 16 to 18 I basically bounced sister to sister. I went from NJ to Detroit, MI, back to NJ, back to Detroit, and then back to NJ again. I basically watched my nephews and nieces for my sisters in order to live there so they didn't have to pay a babysitter. It worked out for all parties. I made sure I didn't stay at one place too long to wear out my welcome. Once I turned 18 I went to a young adult homeless shelter for young kids in Atlantic City called The Covenant House. I have really bad paranoia and anxiety from my voices, which leads to panic attacks at random times. I had a bad episode with my voices and they sent me to the mental health unit in Atlantic City. Who then committed me into Ancora State Mental Health Hospital. I was diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder, which is basically someone who suffers from Schizophrenia and a mood disorder, most like bipolar or depression. IN my case it was severe depression. I was stuck there for 6 months. I don't recommend going to a state hospital, they don't care about your health. Their goal was just to keep you there as long as possible to milk the insurance money. In Ancora I applied and got approved for SSI, so something good came out of it in the end I guess. Once I got out of there I ended up going to a homeless shelter in Camden, NJ. This place is the worst place I've ever been in my life. I got robbed, beat up, pushed around, and fucked with just about every day I was there because I was the fat white kid. It was horrible, I had to leave, I couldn't survive there, I knew I would end up dead if I stayed. So I went to a homeless shelter in Philly, which was a little better. Still was the ghetto, but at least I didn't get robbed every other day. During this time I would go spend my days at a library in Philly and just read books and use the internet. I started talking to this girl on AIM one night from a chatroom. She was my age and from West Virginia. We hit it off very well, this was the first girl that was ever interested in me. So I thought I was in love. Fast forward 3 years, I was staying in my band's practice shed behind the lead guitarist/vocalist's house. We were a punk band who played fast, loud, and crazy music. We booked a show in Virginia and I told that girl I was talking to, to meet up with me at the show since she was only 45 minutes away. So we meet up at the show, and afterwards I went back to her place. The band went back to NJ the next morning. I told the band I would take a greyhound in a few days to get back. The girl and I fucked all night long, and really hit it off. I never left. This girl and I ended up getting married 6 months later. I know, we moved way too fast, this was the first time I've ever gotten any poontang and I thought I was in love. My life was finally changing for the better and I was finally stabilized in life with a roof over my head. I was happy! During this time I got extremely fat. I mean, I was always the fat kid, but when I met this girl I was around 350 pounds. Fast forward 6 years and I'm now over 800+ pounds. I ended up getting hospitalized because I couldn't walk. I was so swollen with fluid at the time my legs were huuuuuge. I couldn't even wobble along because they were so fat. When I got to the hospital I got on a bed scale, and I error'd the scale. The bed scale only went up to 800 pounds. It was at the moment I realized that I'm really throwing my life away, and I needed to lose weight. I just didn't have the motivation to do it, so I struggled with it for a few. Anywho, I suspected something was up with the wife. She wasn't the same anymore. Something about her has changed, she started distancing herself from me. I decided to check the bank account one day to see what was up since she was using the "I'm going to my dad's house for a few hours" excuse like 4 times a week. Which was weird because her dad and her never really got along that well. So when I checked the bank account I was seeing charges on the debit card to a Chinese buffet place in town, the charges were usually $25, which is the equivalent of two buffet dinner meals. I know for sure that I wasn't eating at the Chinese buffet several times a week. So instead of questioning her I decided to snoop around on her computer (I know, it's fucked up and I shouldn't have done that, I still feel guilty for breaking someone's trust). I saw a forums that she frequently visited all the time. It was then that I found out my wife was a secret feeder. I don't know if you what a feeder is, but it's basically someone who gets off on feeding someone so they get fatter. Once I read her posts that she was posting I felt sick because it all made sense. At the time I thought maybe she was just a freak and liked food play. Maybe she really got off on baking brownies and giving them to me before we would get it on. Maybe she just really liked baking sweets and giving them to her man. I was so oblivious to this it hurts whenever I think about it. I had no clue what a feeder was, and if I would have known in advanced I would have never agreed to it before. I confronted her about everything and she confessed she was having an affair with her best friend's husband. At first, I just wanted to leave, but I couldn't I was so fat I couldn't go anywhere. So I moved out onto the couch and slept there for the next 6 months saving up every penny I had. I ended up having this dream about my mom. She came to me in my dream and told me that I needed to change my life because she couldn't protect me anymore. I woke up the next day terrified as hell. She never came out and said she was protecting me from death, but I can only assume that was the case. So I started to diet and lose weight. Right when I was getting ready to leave back to NJ the wife begged for me to stay. Telling me she was sorry and we could work it out. Stupidly, I stayed and gave her another chance. This was the first girlfriend I've ever had. The first poontang I touched. I didn't want to lose her, I loved this girl even with the fucked up shit I found out about her. Even with the fucked up cheating she did to me. Two weeks go by and she is getting distant with me again. So this time, I confront her again and ask her what's up. She confessed that she started having another affair with a client from her job. I was livid, and mainly heartbroken, again. This time I was leaving, there was no 3rd chance to fuck me over. Not only for cheating on me again, but with a client of hers! she works at a fucking HIV/AIDS clinic for fucks sake. Not only is she putting herself at risk, but she put me at risk for it. I lost my cool and broke just about everything in the house. I went into the mental hospital for 3 weeks because I was losing my cool and my voices were fucking me hardcore about hurting her. I didn't want to hurt her. When I got out of the mental hospital I left. Every 6 months for the next 2 years I got tested and thankfully came up negative every time. So now I'm 28 years old, living with my youngest sister in NJ again. My main focus is losing weight. Which I did with a vengeance. I wanted my weight gone and I wanted my life back. For two years I went hardcore on my diet and got down to 440 pounds. I was feeling better than I have ever felt in my life. I was almost happy again. Then I met this chick over Facebook from Boston. We started chatting every day over messenger. She drove 6 hours to come see me one weekend. We went to Atlantic City and stayed at a casino hotel since she has never seen Atlantic City before. She loved it! I really thought I ruined any chance I had with her though. She drove 6 hours to see me and I was too damn shy to make a move that night. I honestly didn't think she would ever talk to me again, but she did. We kept on seeing each other once a month for a year. She would drive down to see me, and then I would rent a car and drive up to see her. Eventually it got brought up about me moving up there with her. I went for it, and never looked back. so it's January 1st, 2013, I'm 30 years old and I'm moving up to the Boston area to start over again in a new relationship. One that wasn't a feeder! I made sure of it this time. I flat out told her about my past and that if she was I couldn't be with her since my new life was focused on losing weight. That dream about my mom really scared the shit out of me. It's not February, 2013 and something is seeming off with the girlfriend. she's getting distance from me like my ex wife. This time I don't snoop and I flat out ask her what's up. Told her I wasn't liking the distance between us. She told me that she was having mixed feelings and that she is craving girls again. She told me before she was bi, but I didn't mind. So I suggested that maybe we open up the relationship, which would allow her to explore her girl side some and get some poontang of her own. So we agreed to do that, but we had some rules. I told her she couldn't do anything with any exes because that's just going to bring back lovey dovey feelings. She assured she wouldn't do anything with any ex girlfriends and anybody that she does explore with will be new and only a fling. She wouldn't go back for seconds with anybody. It's now September, 2013 and she tells me that she's still in love with her ex girlfriend who she has been seeing these past few months. My heart sank because I knew this would happen, but tried to salvage the relationship. For some reason this one hurt more than the ex wife. I don't know why. I wanted to run away, and that's exactly what I did. I asked her if I could stay until November to save up some money and move out and she agreed. So when November came I wanted to get away as far I could from the east coast. My buddy in Seattle offered me a room to rent from him out there. So I sold everything I had worth any value and bought an Amtrak ticket to Seattle. I went from Boston to Toledo, OH. Stayed with a friend there that I met on Facebook a long time ago for a few days, got a wham bam thank you mam from her while I was there as a pity fuck, basically. The best head I ever had. Seriously. She was 15 years older than me, no fucks given. Then went from Toledo, OH to Seattle. All in all it took me 79 hours on the train in travelling time. It was the best season to travel the train too. The foliage was beautiful! For the first 5 months, Seattle life was awesome. I was on a main road with a bus route on it. So I could take the bus into downtown and check out the iconic places like Pike Place Market, The Space Needle, etc etc. I wasn't trapped, but then the landlord sold the house on us, and decided to move us into another one of his apartments. Which was cool, at least he switched us over without having to get another security deposit or changing rent or anything. This new place sucks so much ass for a fat person. We are seriously up on this huge ass hill, and I can't walk up the hill without feeling like my heart if going to jump out of my chest. I made it up one time and passed out up top of the hill, that was the last time I attempted the hill. So I'm stuck up on this damn hill. The bus routes are at the bottom of the hill. So if I want to go anywhere I have to use Uber, which I can't afford. The last 9 months of my life I have been an emotional wreck. I'm crying all the time, it's bullshit. I haven't cried since my mom died, why am I crying so much now? I don't understand it. I'm going through a major bout of depression and have been doing nothing but eating my life away at the top of a hill. These last 9 months I have gained back 135 pounds. I'm now 575 again, and I feel like shit. It's sad, because food is my drug, and I can't escape it like a drug addict can. You need food to survive, and I can't control my eating anymore. It's a vicious cycle, you eat because you're depressed, and you're depressed because you're eating. At the end of my lease in March I'm moving to Nebraska because it's so cheap there. I can get a 1 bedroom for 400 a month. Hell, there is an apartment I'm looking at that will go by my income that only old people and SSI people can get into. They charge you 30% of your income, which is awesome because that will help me be able to live more freely and breath. Right now I'm barely surviving off of $700 a month. You know how hard it is to survive off of $700 a month in Seattle? Extremely hard! By the time my rent is paid and my cellphone is paid, I'm left with $25, and that is used to take Uber to the grocery store twice a month. I survive off of $175 of food stamps, if I didn't get them I would be fucked. I also had another dream the other day about my mom. She came to me again and told me that she warned me to change my life. I'm not scared this time. If death is what is coming to me, then so be it. I'm ready to move on to the other side. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suicidal or anything, as my stance on suicide has changed since my teenage suicide attempt, but I'm not afraid of death. I'm not going to let the fear of death make me worry. It's not worth it. If it's my time, then it's my time. Take me! Feel free to AMA if you wish, I'm an open book. Pick my brain!
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