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CardWiz beta release 🎉- My attempt to solve credit card rewards. Feedback appreciated.

Summary -CardWiz.com beta release. Try it and let me know what you think :)
Over the last few months many kind members of this subreddit have helped test and provide feedback on the alpha version of CardWiz. I am now submitting as a formal post the beta version to be found at cardwiz.com. The changes are innumerable so even if you’ve seen it before, it’s worth another look. Any comments, questions, feedback or bug reports are incredibly appreciated.
For those of you not familiar, CardWiz is a free mobile first web app that is a more simple, accurate and fun alternative to spending hours collecting data and creating spreadsheets. I am not suggesting that there isn’t an important subjective element to choosing a card. In fact, I think of CardWiz as an excellent first step in the process to narrow down your options and then come to this subreddit to debate the subjective issues.
CardWiz has no affiliate links or advertising. No personal info or banking credentials needed.
Features
Coming Soon (This month)
Screenshots - https://imgur.com/a/WyNNVpf
Limitations
Questions
  1. Is CardWiz useful to you?
  2. Is everything clear and easy to use?
  3. Is there anything you see as an error or design mistake?
  4. Are there any features missing?
  5. I can create a creditcards template generator to aid in posting to this subreddit. Would that be useful?
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The truth behind Puskás Akadémia FC - How Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán stole a legend, built a stadium in his backyard and guided his team to Europe

The 2019/2020 season of the Hungary’s National Football League (NB1) – being one of the first leagues to restart play - came to an end on 27 June. If a casual observer (for whatever reason) decides to check out the final standings, he would be not surprised at the first two positions: record-champion Ferencváros defended their title, while regional powerhouse Fehérvár (Videoton) came in second. However, the third place team, Puskás Akadémia FC might seem unusual and one could think that there is a story behind that. Is there a team named after Ferenc Puskás? Did some academy youths make an incredible run for the Europa League qualification? Well, the observer is right, there is a story behind all this, but it’s absolutely not a fun story. It’s a story about how one powerful man’s obsession with football stole a legend, misused state funds and killed the spirit of Hungarian football. (Warning: this is a long story, feel free to scroll down for a tl;dr. Also, I strongly advise checking out the links, those images are worth seeing).
Naturally, political influence in football has been present ever since the dawn of the sport and we know of numerous state leaders who felt confident enough to use their influence to ensure the successful development of their favored clubs – Caucescu’s FC Olt Scornicesti and Erdogan’s Basaksehir are well-known examples of such attempts. However, I fear that very few of the readers are aware of the fact that Puskás Akadémia FC is nothing but Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán’s grandiose project for establishing his hometown’s club as one of the country’s top teams. Considering that Orbán managed to achieve this goal using state funds in an EU member democracy in the 2000s, one might even say that it might be one of the most impressive attempts of cheating your way through Football Manager in real life. Now that Puskás Akadémia FC escaped the desolate football scene of Hungary and is getting ready for the European takeover, I feel that it’s high time to tell its true story.

Part 1: Part time striker, part time PM

Our story begins in 1999 when the 36-year-old striker Viktor Orbán (recently elected as the country’s Prime Minister) was signed by the sixth-tier side of Felcsút FC residing in rural Fejér County. It might sound surprising that an active politician would consider such a side job, but given that Orbán has been playing competitive low-level football throughout his whole life and has always been known as a keen football enthusiast, people seemed to be okay with his choice for a hobby. Orbán spent most of his childhood in the village of Felcsút (population: 1,800), so it seemed only natural that he would join the team after one of his old-time acquaintances became team president there.
Orbán’s arrival to the club seemed to work like a charm as Felcsút FC immediately earned a promotion to the fifth league. The Prime Minister’s busy program did not allow him to attend every training session and game but Orbán did make an effort to contribute as much as possible on the field – there is a report of a government meeting being postponed as Orbán was unavailable due to attending Felcsút FC’s spring training camp. The 2001/2002 season brought another breakthrough for the side as Felcsút was promoted to the national level of the football pyramid after being crowned the champion of Fejér County. Sadly enough for Orbán, he suffered a defeat on another pitch – his party lost the 2002 election and Orbán was forced to move to an opposition role.
No matter what happened on the political playing field, Orbán would not abandon his club. Just before the 2002 elections, Felcsút was surprisingly appointed as one of the regional youth development centers by the Hungarian FA. Orbán continued contributing on the field as well (he had more spare time after all) but his off-the-field efforts provided much more value for the team as he used his political influence to convince right-wing businessmen that they should definitely get sponsorship deals done with the fourth-division village team.
Club management was able to transform the influx of funds into on-field success: Felcsút FC was promoted to the third division in 2004 and achieved promotion to the second division in 2005. Although these new horizons required a skill level that an aging ex-PM is not likely to possess, Orbán regularly played as a late game sub and even appeared in cup games against actual professional opponents. The now-42-year old Orbán did not want to face the challenge of the second division, so he retired in 2005 – but this did not stop him from temping as an assistant coach when the head coach was sacked in the middle of the 2005-2006 season.
Success on the playing field did not translate to political success: Orbán lost the elections once again in 2006. However, this was only a temporary loss: the ruling party committed blunder after blunder and by early 2007 it became absolutely obvious that Orbán would be able return to power in 2010. Now confident in his political future, Orbán opted for the acceleration of football development in Felcsút – by late 2007 he took over the presidency of the club to take matters in his own hands. Sponsors seeking to gain favor with the soon-to-be PM were swarming Felcsút FC, so the club was able to stand very strong in an era where financial stability was a very rare sight in the Hungarian football scene, accumulating three medals (but no promotion) between 2007 and 2009.
On the other hand, Orbán realized the value of youth development as well, and started a local foundation for this purpose back in 2004 that gathered funds for the establishment a boarding school-like football academy. The academy opened its doors in September 2006 (only the second of such institutions in the country) and Orbán immediately took upon the challenge of finding an appropriate name for the academy.
He went on to visit the now very sick Ferenc Puskás in the hospital to discuss using his name, but as Puskás’ medical situation was deteriorating rapidly, communication attempts were futile. Luckily enough Puskás’ wife (and soon to be widow) was able to act on his incapable husband’s behalf and approved the naming deal in a contract. According to the statement, naming rights were granted without compensation, as “Puskás would have certainly loved what’s happening down in Felcsút”. However, there was much more to the contract: Puskás’ trademark was handed to a sports journalist friend of Orbán (György Szöllősi, also acting communications director of the academy) who promised a hefty annual return for the family (and also a 45% share of the revenue for himself). Ferenc Puskás eventually died on 17 November 2006 and on 26 November 2006 the football academy was named after him: Puskás Academy was born.
Orbán shared his vision of the whole organization after the opening ceremony: “It’s unreasonable to think that Felcsút should have a team in the top division. We should not flatter ourselves, our players and our supporters with this dream. Our long term ambition is the creation of a stable second division team that excels in youth development and provides opportunity for the talents of the future.” Let’s leave that there.

Part 2: No stadium left behind

Orbán became PM once again in April 2010 after a landslide victory that pretty much granted him unlimited power. He chased lots of political agendas but one of his policies was rock solid: he would revive sports (and especially football) that was left to bleed out by the previous governments. The football situation in 2010 was quite dire: while the national team has actually made some progress in the recent years and has reached the 42nd position in the world rankings, football infrastructure was in a catastrophic state. Teams were playing in rusty stadiums built in the communist era, club finances were a mess, youth teams couldn’t find training grounds and the league was plagued by violent fan groups and lackluster attendance figures (3100 average spectators per game in the 2009/2010 season).
Orbán – aided by the FA backed by business actors very interested in making him happy – saw the future in the total rebuild of the football infrastructure. Vast amounts of state development funds were invested into the football construction industry that warmly welcomed corruption, cost escalation and shady procurement deals. In the end, money triumphed: over the last decade, new stadiums sprung out from nothing all over the country, dozens of new academies opened and pitches for youth development appeared on practically every corner. The final piece of the stadium renovation program was the completion of the new national stadium, Puskás Aréna in 2019 (estimated cost: 575 million EUR). Orbán commemorated this historic moment with a celebratory video on his social media that features a majestic shot of Orbán modestly kicking a CGI ball from his office to the new stadium.
Obviously, Orbán understood that infrastructure alone won’t suffice. He believed in the idea that successful clubs are the cornerstone of a strong national side as these clubs would compete in a high quality national league (and in international tournaments) that would require a constant influx of youth players developed by the clubs themselves. However, Orbán was not really keen on sharing the state’s infinite wealth with private club owners who failed to invest in their clubs between 2002 and 2010. The club ownership takeover was not that challenging as previous owners were usually happy to cut their losses, and soon enough most clubs came under Orbán’s influence. Some clubs were integrated deep into Orbán’s reach (Ferencváros and MTK Budapest club presidents are high ranking officials of Orbán’s party) while in other cases, indirect control was deemed sufficient (Diósgyőri VTK was purchased by a businessman as an attempt to display loyalty to Orbán).
Pouring taxpayer money into infrastructure (stadium) projects is relatively easy: after all, we are basically talking about overpriced government construction projects, there’s nothing new there. On the other hand, allocating funds to clubs that should be operating on a competitive market is certainly a tougher nut to crack. The obvious solutions were implemented: the state media massively overpaid for broadcasting rights and the national sports betting agency also pays a hefty sum to the FA, allowing for a redistribution of considerable amounts. However, given that the income side of Hungarian clubs was basically non-existent (match day income is negligible, the failed youth development system does not sell players), an even more radical solution was desperately needed. Also, there was definite interest in the development of a tool that would allow for differentiation between clubs (as in the few remaining non-government affiliated clubs should not receive extra money).
The solution came in 2011: the so-called TAO (“társasági adó” = corporate tax) system was introduced, granting significant tax deductions for companies if they offered a portion of their profits to sports clubs – however, in theory, funds acquired through TAO can be only used for youth development and infrastructure purposes. Soon enough, it became apparent that state authorities were not exactly interested in the enforcement of these restrictions, so some very basic creative accounting measures enabled clubs to use this income for anything they wanted to. Companies were naturally keen on cutting their tax burdens and scoring goodwill with the government, so TAO money immediately skyrocketed. Opportunistic party strongmen used their influence to convince local business groups to invest in the local clubs, enabling for the meteoric rise of multiple unknown provincial teams (Mezőkövesd [pop: 16,000], Kisvárda [pop: 16,000], Balmazújváros [pop: 17,000]) into the first division.
Although it’s not the main subject of this piece, I feel inclined to show you the actual results of Orbán’s grandiose football reform. While we do have our beautiful stadiums, we don’t exactly get them filled – league attendance has stagnated around 3000 spectators per game throughout the whole decade. We couldn’t really move forward with our national team either: Hungary lost 10 positions in the FIFA World Rankings throughout Orbán’s ten years. On the other hand, the level of league has somewhat improved – Videoton and Ferencváros reached the Europa League group stage in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Too bad that the Instat-based top team of 2019/2020 Hungarian league consists of 10 foreigners and only 1 Hungarian: the goalkeeper.

Part 3: Small place, big game!

As seen in the previous chapter, Orbán did have a strong interest in the improvement of the football situation Hungary, but we shouldn’t forget that his deepest interest and true loyalty laid in the wellbeing of Felcsút and its academy. Now that Orbán had limitless means to see to the advancement of his beloved club, he got to work immediately. Orbán handed over formal club management duties to his friend / protégé / middleman / businessman Lőrinc Mészáros in 2010, but no questions would ever arise of who is actually calling the shots.
First of all, no club can exist without a proper stadium. Although in 2011 Orbán explicitly stated that “Felcsút does not need a stadium as stadiums belong to cities”, no one was really surprised in 2012 when the construction of the Felcsút stadium was announced. Orbán was generous enough to donate the lands just in front of his summer home in the village for the project, locating the entrance a mere ten meters away from his residence. Construction works for the stunningly aesthetic 3,800-seater arena (in a village of 1,800 people) started in April 2012 and were completed in April 2014, making Felcsút’s arena the second new stadium of Orbán’s gigantic stadium revival program.
The estimated budget of the construction was 120 million EUR (31,500 EUR / seat) was financed by the Puskás Academy who explicitly stated that they did not use government funds for the project. Technically, this statement is absolutely true as the construction was financed through the TAO money offered by the numerous companies looking for tax deduction and Orbán’s goodwill. However, technically, this means that the country’s budget was decreased by 120 million EUR unrealized tax revenue. Naturally, the gargantuan football stadium looks ridiculously out of place in the small village, but there’s really no other way to ensure that your favorite team’s stadium is within 20 seconds of walking distance from your home.
Obviously, a proper club should also have some glorious history. Felcsút was seriously lagging behind on this matter as though Felcsút FC was founded in 1931, it spent its pre-Orbán history in the uninspiring world of the 5th-7th leagues of the country. Luckily enough, Orbán had already secured Puskás’ naming rights and they were not afraid to use it, so Felcsút FC was renamed to Puskás Academy FC in 2009. The stadium name was a little bit problematic as the Hungarian national stadium in Budapest had sadly had the dibs on Puskás’ name, so they had to settle with Puskás’ Spanish nickname, resulting in the inauguration of the Pancho Arena. But why stop here? Orbán’s sports media strongman György Szöllősi acted upon the contract with Puskás’ widow and transferred all Puskás’ personal memorabilia (medals, jerseys, correspondence) to the most suitable place of all: a remote village in which Puskás never even set foot in.
While the off-field issues were getting resolved, Orbán’s attention shifted to another important area: the actual game of football. Although academy players started to graduate from 2008 on, it very soon became painfully obvious that the academy program couldn’t really maintain even a second division side for now. In 2009, Orbán reached an agreement with nearby Videoton’s owner that effectively transformed Felcsút FC into Videoton’s second team under the name of Videoton – Puskás Akadémia FC. The mutually beneficent agreement would allow Videoton to give valuable playing time to squad players while it could also serve as a skipping step for Puskás Academy’s fresh graduates to a first league team. The collaboration resulted in two mid-table finishes and a bronze medal in the second division in the following three seasons that wasn’t really impressive compared to Felcsút FC’s standalone seasons.
It seemed that the mixture of reserve Videoton players and academy youth was simply not enough for promotion, and although Orbán had assured the public multiple times that his Felcsút project was not aiming for the top flight, very telling changes arose after the 2011/2012 season. Felcsút terminated the Videoton cooperation deal and used the rapidly accumulating TAO funds to recruit experienced players for the now independently operating Puskás Academy FC (PAFC). The new directive worked almost too well: PAFC won its division with a 10 point lead in its first standalone year which meant that they would have to appear in the first league prior to the completion of their brand-new Pancho Arena. Too bad that this glorious result had almost nothing to do with the academy - only two players were academy graduates of the side’s regular starting XI.
Orbán did not let himself bothered with the ridiculousness of an academy team with virtually no academy players being promoted to the first division as he stated that “a marathon runner shouldn’t need to explain why the other runners were much slower than him”. Orbán also displayed a rare burst of modesty as he added that “his team’s right place is not in the first league, and they will soon be overtaken by other, better sides”.
The promotion of PAFC to the first division made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. Supporter groups were united in hatred all along the league and not surprisingly, away fans almost always outnumbered the home side at PAFC’s temporary home at Videoton’s Sóstói Stadium (demolished and rebuilt in its full glory since then). One of the teams, however, possessed an extraordinary degree of anger against PAFC: supporters of Budapest Honvéd – the only Hungarian team in which Ferenc Puskás played – felt especially awkward about the transfer of their club legend’s heritage to Felcsút. Tensions spiked at the PAFC – Honvéd game when home security forced Honvéd supporters to remove the “Puskás” part of their traditional “Puskás – Kispest – Hungary” banner – the team answered the insult with style as they secured a 4-0 victory supported by fans chanting “you can’t buy legends”.
Despite Orbán’s prognosis, other better sides did not rush to overtake his team, so PAFC, now residing in their brand new Pancho Arena, came through with a 14th and a 10th place in their first two seasons. Naturally, conspiracy theories began to formulate, speculating that government-friendly owners would certainly not be motivated to give their best against PAFC. However, as the league size was reduced to 12 for the 2015/2016 season, PAFC found themselves in a dire situation just before the final round: they needed a win and needed rival Vasas to lose against MTK in order to avoid relegation. PAFC’s draw seemed to be unlucky as they faced their arch-enemy Honvéd at home, but Honvéd displayed an absolute lackluster effort – fueling conspiracy theories – and lost the fixture 2 to 1 against a home side featuring four academy players. Vasas, however, did not disappoint, their 2-0 victory resulted in PAFC’s elimination and a very relaxed sigh all over the football community.
PAFC’s relegation seemed to be in accordance with Orbán’s 2013 statement, so public opinion supposed for a while that Orbán’s project came to a halting point and the Academy would go on to actually field academy players in the second division (especially as rostering foreign players was prohibited in the lower leagues). However, if you have read through this point, you know better than to expect Orbán to retreat – obviously, PAFC came back with a bang. With a ballsy move, PAFC didn’t even sell their foreign players, they just loaned them across the league, promising them that they would be able to return next year to the newly promoted team. The promise was kept as PAFC went into another shopping spree of experienced players (easily convincing lots of them to choose the second division instead of the first) and easily won the second league.
Orbán – now aware of his negligence – opted for the doubling the team’s budget, making PAFC the third most well-founded club in the whole country (only coming short to his friend’s Videoton and his party minion’s Ferencváros). With an actual yearly influx from TAO money in the ballpark of 30-40 million EUR, PAFC management had to really work wonders in creative accounting in order to make their money look somewhat legitimate. The books were now full of ridiculous items like:
Naturally, in the country of no consequences, absolutely nothing happened: PAFC went on with its spending and signed 35 foreigners between 2017 and 2020. They did so because they could not hope to field a winning team in the first league consisting of academy players, despite the fact that Puskás Academy has been literally drowning in money since 2007. This seems to somewhat contradict Orbán’s 2013 promise, stating that “Puskás Academy will graduate two or three players to major European leagues each year”. To be fair, there have been players who managed to emerge to Europe (well, exactly two of them: Roland Sallai plays at Freiburg, László Kleinheisler played at Werder Bremen) but most academy graduates don’t even have the slightest the chance to make their own academy’s pro team as it’s full of foreigners and more experienced players drawn for other teams’ programs.
Despite their unlimited funding, PAFC could not put up a top-tier performance in their first two years back in the first division, finishing 6th and 7th in the 12-team league. Many speculated that the lack of support, motivation and even a clear team mission did not allow for chemistry to develop within the multinational and multi-generational locker room. Consistency was also a rare sight on the coaching side: club management was absolutely impatient with coaches who were very easily released after a single bad spell and there were talks of on-field micromanagement request coming from as high as Orbán.
Even so, their breakthrough came dangerously close in 2018 as PAFC performed consistently well in the cup fixtures and managed to reach the final. Their opponent, Újpest played an incredibly fierce game and after a 2-2 draw, they managed to defeat PAFC in the shootout. Football fans sighed in relief throughout the country as ecstatic Újpest supporters verbally teased a visibly upset Orbán in his VIP lounge about his loss.
Obviously, we could only delay the inevitable. While this year’s PAFC side seemed to be more consistent than its predecessors, it seemed that they won’t be able to get close to the podium - they were far behind the obvious league winner duo of Ferencváros and Videoton and were trailing third-place Mezőkövesd 6 points just before the pandemic break. However, both Mezőkövesd and PAFC’s close rivals DVTK and Honvéd fall flat after the restart while PAFC was able to maintain its good form due to its quality roster depth. PAFC overtook Mezőkövesd after the second-to-last round as Mezőkövesd lost to the later relegated Debrecen side. (Mezőkövesd coach Attila Kuttor was fined harshly because of his post-game comments on how the FA wants PAFC to finish third.)
PAFC faced Honvéd in the last round once again, and as Honvéd came up with its usual lackluster effort, PAFC secured an effortless win, confidently claiming the third place. PAFC celebrated their success in a nearly empty stadium, however neither Orbán, nor Mészáros (club owner, Orbán’s protégé, now 4th richest man of Hungary) seemed to worry about that. While Orbán high-fived with his peers in the VIP lounge, Mészáros was given the opportunity to award the bronze medals (and for some reason, a trophy) to the players dressed up in the incredibly cringe worthy T-shirts that say “Small place, big game!”. Big game, indeed: in the 2019/2020 season, foreign players’ share of the teams playing time was 43.6% while academy graduates contributed only 17.9%.
On Sunday evening, less than 24 hours after PAFC’s glorious success, György Szöllősi, now editor-in-chief of Hungary’s only sports newspaper (purchased by Orbán’s affiliates a few years back) published an editorial on the site, stating that “the soccer rebuild in Felcsút became the motor and symbol of the revitalization of sport throughout the whole country”. Well, Szöllősi is exactly right: Felcsút did became a symbol, but a symbol of something entirely different. Felcsút became a symbol of corruption, inefficiency, lies and the colossal waste of money. But, hey, at least we know now: you only need to spend 200 million EUR (total budget of PAFC and its academy in the 2011-2020 period) if you want to have a Europa League team in your backyard. Good to know!

Epilogue: What's in the future?

As there is no foreseeable chance for political change to happen Hungary (Orbán effortlessly secured qualified majority in 2014 and 2018, and is projected to do so in 2022 as well), PAFC’s future seems to be as bright as it gets. Although consensus opinion now seems to assume that Orbán does not intend to interfere with the Ferencváros – Videoton hegemony, we can never be really sure about the exact limits of his greed. One could also argue that entering the European theater serves as a prime opportunity for making splashy transfers who could be the cornerstones of a side challenging the league title.
However, as all political systems are deemed to fall, eventually Orbán’s regime will come apart. Whoever will take upon the helm after Orbán, they will certainly begin with cutting back on the one item on Orbán’s agenda that never had popular support: limitless football spending. Puskás Academy, having next to zero market revenue, will not be able to survive without the state’s life support, so the club will fold very shortly. The abandoned, rotting stadium in Felcsút will serve as a memento of a powerful man who could not understand the true spirit of football.
But let’s get back to present day, as we have more pressing issues coming up soon: PAFC will play their first European match in the First qualifying round of the Europa League on 27 August. We don’t have a date for the draw yet, but soon enough, a team unaware of the whole situation will be selected to face the beast. I hope that maybe one of their players does some research and maybe reads this very article for inspiration. I hope that the supporters of this club get in touch with Honvéd fans who would be eager to provide them with some tips on appropriate chants. I hope that other teams gets drawn as the home team so Orbán wouldn’t get the pleasure of walking to his stadium for an international match. But most importantly, I very much hope that this team obliterates PAFC and wipes them off the face of the earth. 5-0 will suffice, thank you.
And if this team fails to do that, we don’t have to worry yet. Due to our shitty league coefficient, PAFC would need to win four fixtures in a row. And that – if there’s any justice in this world – is a thing that can’t, that won’t happen. Ball don’t lie – if I may say.
TL,DR
Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán redirected some 200 million EUR of taxpayer money over 10 years to fuel his ambition of raising a competitive football team in his hometown of 1,800 people. He built a 3,800-seater stadium in his backyard, expropriated football legend Ferenc Puskás’ trademarks and heritage and built up a football league where almost all clubs are owned by his trustees. His team, Puskás Akadémia FC was originally intended to be a development ground for youth players graduating from Orbán’s football academy, but eventually the team became more and more result-orianted. Finally, a roster full of foreign and non-academy players came through and finished third in the league, releasing this abomination of a team to the European football theatre. Please, knock them out asap!
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2019 One of the Greatest Miami Dolphins Seasons Ever!

2019 One of the Greatest Miami Dolphins Seasons Ever!
“Whoa! That is a big statement! Winning five games should not be counted as a great season to anyone” I hear you shout at your screens.
But look, these were not just any old 5 wins, in any of the old greatest Miami Dolphins seasons ever discussions!
Ok, ok, excluding the Perfect season and the other Superbowl seasons, those deep Marino led playoff runs and the wildcat season oh and the mighty D seasons of the late 90’s/early 2000’s. The wild cat year? I knew it could not last (it was a gimmick)? Gases 10-6 season? I was duped to be fair. I still stand by the statement “2019 being one of the greatest Miami Dolphins seasons ever”.
Firstly, a little about me. I am from the UK and first started watching the beautiful brutal game way back in 1984. The games were on in the early hours of the morning at 14 years of age, I had to sneak downstairs (we only had one TV in those days) and watch the game of the week on Channel 4 (yes, back then we only had four channels). Watching games with the volume down (so my parents couldn’t hear me), was tough but the excitement and the “violence” was new to me unlike rugby the speed was immense, my eyes darting around the screen trying to locate the ball. Those same eyes came to hate the horrible Mondays in school, where I was falling asleep, but this new game (new to me) with bright colours fanfare and cheerleaders made it all worth it. Getting to watch teams like the Bears, Redskin, Raiders, and 49ers (what was a 49er? I could only imagine some behemoth gold digger with huge hands and gap teeth). English football teams seemed rubbish by comparison, we had the “Blues” “the “Reds” or worse the “Canary’s” or the “Magpies” hardly the type of names to instill fear in your opponents. In those early days, I had not decided on a team to follow, would it be the Lions or Bengals (with the cool, tiger stripes on their helmet) or those New York footballing Giants? I just could not decide but come January 1985, that changed, I “snook” downstairs to watch this thing called a Superbowl, the team in white, a team called the Dolphins v the team in red those behemoth 49ers. As the game progressed, I wanted that team in white to come back and win, sadly, as we all know, that never happened but I felt it was my duty to see if that team in white could win it all next year. After all, they had a “quarterback” named Dan Marino who not only wore no.13, to f**k with the footballing Gods but made throwing the football look magical as well as being supposedly the best young quarterback in football. So, I became a lifelong Dolphin fan, and imagine how my affiliation for this team grew when I found out they had the ONLY perfect season. The year I was born!! I was meant to be a Dolphin fan!
So, back to that great 2019 season, I know some out there have already scoffed at the title and not bothered to read, which is shame because I’m hoping to show everyone why I think it was one of the best ever.
Let us go back to the beginning and relive it together.
New coach, new beginning, haven’t we heard that before? See, being a Dolfan, we were spoilt we had the great Don Shula (RIP) for what seemed like ever and we won consistently with perhaps only the Packers, Steelers, Cowboys, and the Patriots with the same luxury. Yes, occasionally we would drop a 6-10 or 8-8 season but those years we had excuses, an “injury” or we were unlucky against a bad team or two. But after Shula, we fell into the trap of the lower teams the ones not worthy to be in the same sentence as the Dolphins. that trap was inconsistency in the head role, did we love Jimmy Johnson really? (yes, we felt he could win us a Superbowl) but to me he replaced our mini deity. Ok, Shula had some issues like, why, why, why keep Tom Olivadotti around? I had a hard time understanding that (frankly still do), anyway love him or hate him Johnson built a good foundation then buggered off. Dave Wannstedt next, hmmm, even though his tough running program would eventually be good enough for second most wins for a head coach in Dolphins history and our first division title in the 2000s, we just did not have the same feeling for him.
Then it spiraled out of control • Jim Bates • Nick Satan • Cam Camuuurgghhron (thank you Camarillo) • Tony Sparano – RIP • Todd Bowles • Joe “wet lettuce” Philbin • Dan Campbell – My choice for the next full-time head coach, sadly not to be • Adam “Stare through a wall” Gase
A sorry bunch, no wonder we only had two winning seasons with that lot.
After all the “new head coach, new beginnings bullsh*t over the years, forgive me, if I wasn’t waving the flags for this “new beginning”. After all, how many 7-9/8-8 seasons do you have to go through, before you become cynical?
Brian Flores – new coach bringing, a wining attitude and new culture blah blah blah. Win big year one, then disappear like most of the others. I suppose I was happy we had addressed the minority coaching element. Yeah, sure, and he just helped coach that Pats defense in the Superbowl! Again, yeah, OK. Something a little different than all the Offensive minded geniuses that have come and gone over Don Shula express way piqued my interest but I certainly had lost hope that Cowher would come out of retirement, so here we go again.
Preseason woes I understood the jettisoning of older talent. Sorry, I loved Cameron Wake, I liked Kristian Alonso and Kenny Stills, but we needed a fresh start. I liked this approach, I liked the fact we were tearing it down and starting again, for the first time in over 20 years I had some optimism. I knew this coming season would be tough but at last, not the same old “overpay for a couple of names” and hope for the best approach. To be honest, I was thinking, why Stills and not Devante Parker? Weren’t you? Minkah Fitzpatrick, shocked me but hey if you do not like it here, there is the door. Laremy Tunsil? Hmmmm, not sure what is happening, let us see how it all plays out I thought.
When the preseason rolled around and new faces were churning through., I still felt its was a good thing, knew there would be painful things to come and could not understand the media giving Flores a whooping “he’s putting players lives in danger” etc. I wanted to give this guy a chance, we were finally doing something different.
Tank for Tua or Fitzmagic? I never understood the whole tanking notion. No one plays to lose and even if the coaches were coaching to lose, individual players own pride would force them to go against the coaching. I just do not get it!! No one player can change a franchise fortunes, yes, the great ones are instrumental in a franchise’s direction, but you need fifty plus players to play this game (Eighty if your Miami). Quarterbacks do not block for kicks, do not play in a 3 deep cover shells, and rarely catch their own throws. I had seen too many franchise’s push all their chips in, on a number one quarterback draft pick only to flame out and be right back where they were three years later. Was I concerned about our QB situation? Dam right, we had an unproven Josh Rosen and an aging Ryan Fitzpatrick, that could not win over 16 games. My thoughts were Fitzpatrick for 4-6 games and Rosen all the way.
Boy was I wrong.
But still, I liked what we had done, created massive cap space, acquired a sh*t load of draft picks and we would probably end up with the no. 1 pick as well. Bring the hurt, next year’s our year!
Week 1 v Ravens – 0-1 FUGLY is the only word that can be put here. Nothing to be happy about, apart from not being shut out! (I hate it when, we cannot even muster a field goal) Jason Sanders put our first points of the new season up with a 54-yard field goal. Then later some kid wide receiver called Preston Williams, scored a wonderful toe tapping 6-yard TD. The rest of the game, we will just leave behind us shall we.
Not getting shutout felt like a blessing and that undrafted free agent wide receiver showed a little. Come on guys? what did we really expect. We had newly signed offensive lineman and defensive backs playing their first NFL snaps ever! It has been reported since that half the players did not even know each other’s names for heaven’s sake.
Week 2 v Patriots – 0-2 See above but worse!! My pet peeve we did not even get a single score. Come on are we really that bad? Absofudginlutley! Bad, bad, bad game but come on, typically for us, the only game Antonio Brown plays for the Patriots is against us!
102 points given up in two weeks, how is this one of the greatest seasons in Miami history you ask? Well that is all part of it. These lows were low, like snake belly low. Somehow, I felt like this was part of the plan? Was this what tanking for Tua looked like? How would we turn it around? Fitzpatrick was being Fitzpatrick. Rosen, Rosen, Rosen, we chanted in unison. Rosen’s going to come in and light it up, I thought. Yes, massive lows but still I had optimism
Week 3 v Cowboys – 0-3 Another drubbing but signs of some life were showing, Rosen was in, though not great he seemed to be able to handle it, no interceptions even though he like Fitz before him was running for his life most of the time and we also held them to 31 points. Was there improvement? No, not much.
It was around this time the “takes no talent” war cry came into my consciousness. I had seen it all over the years, no more “fail forwards” or copied “winners within” bull, please.
I’d seen it mentioned through the preseason but watching this team I started to hear the “it takes no talent” mentioned where coaches ran with their groups, I saw the early buds of accountability show through, not the fake accountability that Gase talked about. I saw actual accountability DB’s holding their hand up owning blowen assignments, not the pointing fingers, I saw a really bad O line start to fight through to the whistle. Yep, losing felt awful for this storied franchise, especially the way we were losing but I felt this is going somewhere. Didn’t you?
Flores was growing on me.
Week 4 v Chargers – 0-4 Hmmm, liked seeing Walton out there he looked good in his little time on the field, Grant’s good return would have been great if a penalty had not brought it back. As for Rosen, doubts were forming in my mind. Yes, a fairy tale ending would have seeing him doing great things, but his play was erratic, and that interception was UUggllyyyy. On a high note, Parker and Williams were both starting to shine, and it was our second game with only allowing 30 points.
I couldn’t complain, I knew this first month would be tough, but we had a bye week coming and the Redskins were next, I felt we could take the Redskins and get our first win, excitement building, FINS UP.
Week 5 bye week
Week 6 v Redskins - 0-5 Bring it on! This is our week! Two winless teams, my excitement for the “takes no talent” crew against a poor Redskins team was palatable. Then BUMP! Down to earth like a stone, Rosen was like a scared kid, sacked a bunch and those picks. Fitzmagic, Fitzmagic, Fitzmagic! We chanted, oh’ how fickle we fans are. After watching our defense playing its best and Fitz back in the fold, doing his thing we were on the up. Flores deciding to go for two points was gutsy, showing belief in his players and a belief in the “process”. Maybe if we had tied that game with momentum on our side, for sure we would have won. But he went for it all and the skins knew they got away with one.
Week 7 v Buffalo 0-6 Our AFC East rivals always give us a game and we were ready! The excitement that Fitz brought from the previous week was still coursing through my blood with names rising through the ranks like Walton, Williams, Gesicki and Parker on offense and Mcmillan,, Wilkins, Biegel and Charlton on defense things were looking up. I honestly felt good, we were 0 -6 but it was coming together, and our play was improving.
Week 8 v Steelers 0-7 We traded Drake. Walton must be the guy now? The coaches must see something, maybe it was the fumbles for Drake? This season is weird every week there is a new name for the defense and O line and now it seems a new runner. The game: We were winning! Can you believe it! We are out in front against the steel curtain, alright not the “real” steel curtain but you know where I am coming from. It was Fitz v Fitz, their Fitz, our old Fitz won this battle. “tosser” (English for w**ker) with our Fitz throwing two picks, that gives me fits! A weird call from the defense allowing for a Pittsburgh touch down allowed us a great glimpse into Flores mindset. Flores response “We can second guess a lot of calls. I am not going to second guess that one. I thought we had success with the call, and they made a play." Competitive and a true belief into the process. I am really starting to like our coach. 0-7 never felt so good.
You could feel we are ready to start winning, we were close, so close. Watching no names start to play ball, seeing defensive lineman Christin Wilkins in the endzone every time we scored on offense was fun! Watching other teams rejects perform at a high level was infectious! We are doing something that never has been done before, yes there have been tear downs and rebuilds before but nothing on this scale and now we were being competitive too!
Week 9 v FTJ 1-7 The ol’ enemy, why we hate the Jets more than anyone else I’m not quite sure. They have never kept us from the Superbowl’s of the early 90’s like the Bills had and they haven’t dominated the division like the Pats either. I blame Marty Lyons and Jason Klecko for taking the best center in football Dwight Stephenson down. Yes, the Jets, we just do not like em!
What a game, our first win of the season, over the FTJs and one in the all staring eyes of Gase.
With some great plays from Gesicki, Williams (sadly Williams was injured in this game) Beigel and Needham, who for an undrafted free agent that may or may not have made it on to the practice squad in other years has really been improving each week. This was our first complete game and though not perfect we had one in the win column 1-9.
Hearing complaints that the Dolphins were not tanking right (incredulously chuckling to myself while I type this), can you believe it?
Week 10 v Colts - 2-7 8 beers, large bag of bacon crisps (potato chips to you guys) I am all in for this one. After last week’s game, the talk all week, the Indianapolis Colts will bring the Dolphins down to earth and the tank was still on. Where do we begin?
Defense, defense, DEEEE FENCE, with 3 turnovers and a stout end to the game the D kept us in it all day, on one particular interception I found myself shout “YES, PARKER, YES!! Then asking myself “Parker? Who the hells Parker? I had to check that Miami had not done a Gronk special and put Devante Parker out there but another new defensive back Stephen Parker had made a great play in the secondary! That is just how this season is rolling, unknowns stepping up and doing things that “takes no talent” (I use this on my kids now, honestly). I now am in awe of how a 37-year-old QB can move and run and duck and slide go headfirst into defenders. I hold my breath each time, thinking, get up son, get up! And he duly does with his chin strap over eyes and the beard flowing everywhere. This season is now fully infectious (bad choice of words considering the year we are having) but this was last year, and I am loving it!
Two wins, feels like 10. We are competitive, with everyone saying we should not be, everyone apart from Flores who all year talked with belief that they were sticking to the process. THE PROCESS WAS WORKING!
Week 11 v Bills - 2- 8 This game brought us back to an ugly reality, we can win but we are not quite fully there yet. Did any of us really think we would go 3 in row?
The score line seemed remarkably similar to the last game v the Bills, but the stats were not. Fitz threw for over 300 yards and Parker (the Devante one) caught 135 of them. Another player who I feel could do some great things used right, is Jakeem Grant and he showed us that explosive talent with a kick return, which to me is the single most exciting play in football (please don’t replace the kick off NFL) he then added a seven yard TD run as well as three catches. I am loving seeing him in the endzone surrounded by everyone at least a foot taller than him (I’m 5’5) go Grant!!
Week 12 v Browns 2 - 9 The Browns game was a strange game to me, all the euphoria of wining a couple of games and the recent good play seemed to fizzle out a bit in this game and it is the game I least remember. Jarvis Landry makes me cry. He scored two touchdowns against us, but I loved him when he played for us. His energy and physical play were awesome, and I would have loved to see him retire a Dolphin for life, with all the team receiving records but alas it was not meant to be.
Week 13 v Eagles - 3 - 9 Was not looking forward to this game, really needed to see the life return to the team, needed to feel renewed but to be honest I expected a hammering. So, to my surprise a bunch of cast off’s, undrafted free agents, a couple of rookies with just a sprinkle of seasoned vets put a beat down on a recent Superbowl champion, YES!! that’s my Piggin team, right there!! GO FINS!
Fitz played a great game throwing high point balls to Gesicki and Parker all day, along with three TDs. It was also time for the intern, another running back Patrick Laird was proving he could be counted on and finally we saw a glimpse of the old Albert Wilson who has quietly come on late in the season after last year’s injury. Of course, we will never forget the Mountaineer Shot! Haack threw an under-arm throw to the waiting Sanders in the back of the endzone what a play! What a formation! what the hell!! That was audacious! It ranks right up there with the other great Miami’s moments, the Miami Miracle, the Wildcat, the Clock Play, the Sea of Hands and Longest Game, you name em!
Did I mention I was really starting to like our coach!
Week 14 v FTJ - 3 -10 A team that was supposed to flop badly, who had no chance of winning a single game, a team of deadbeat and losers, anyway enough about the Jets. There we were, sitting right there with three big juicy wins. Honestly, at this point in the season, I am more excited for the upcoming game than I had been in years. We had so much to like, an aging QB journeyman, playing some of his best ball in years, a budding superstar at wide receiver, a genuine threat at tight end and a defense playing with “out any talent” and as we already know it “takes no talent”. But with all that said and done, we were coming into the dreaded December! 30 years ago, December was our month, especially at home. Lately it has seemed like December was our Achilles heel. How many times did we need one win in December? How many times where we stood with 7 wins in our pocket only to walk away with those same 7 wins? How many seasons wasted because we panned out in December? I hated December and low and behold, a game we Couda, Shouda Woulda won, we lose by a single point to those stinking Jets.
Week 15 v NY Giants - 3 -11 Staying up north, we faced a NY Giants team that hadn’t done sh*t all year, with a better roster than ours may I add but this was Mannings day and the whole team rallied around him (even though I’m sure he was trying to lose with all those picks) but we just couldn’t get over the “last home game for Manning” hype. I am not too upset about this, after all it was Manning that twice denied Brady & co, let him have this one in lieu of saving the 72-perfect season for us I thought.
Those dreaded December blues were kicking in though. It would have been a shame to flame out like so many teams of the past.
Week 16 v Bengals – 4 - 11 I had ordered pizza in, beers were chilled. I thought no way are we going to lose to the Bungals! (well, I actually prayed we would not lose to the Bungals)
WE WON? WE WON!! In December! yeah! “Ok, calm down, it was against the Bungals”, I can hear you thinking but come on, what a game, the two worst teams put on the best show this Sunday (tanking my backside). We came back from a couple of down weeks and showed that this team, this organization is now different from previous years, there was no “not playing for this coach” or “we’re not good enough” mentality anymore. There is a pick ourselves up and let us keep working attitude and I love that.
Good game from Fitz and his magic with a “big man” TD for Wilkins, yep you read it right, Christian Wilkins the defense end, Wilkins joined William "The Refrigerator" Perry as the only rookie defensive linemen with a touchdown reception in the Super Bowl era (and to see him celebrate was so much fun, love it!). Parker, Gesicki and most of all Albert Wilson who looked exactly like he did before he was injured. Our defense was playing lights out till the 4th quarter. Then we had an implode and I thought, as did all of us “here we go again” but into overtime we managed to get the wining field goal and we galloped away with a sneaky but well deserved win.
As a fan, that game gave you everything you’d want, the thrills of an offense, rolling to its own tune, a defense playing tough, the dreaded completed onside kick and finally on to the field goal to seal the win. Our ““fourth”” win of the season!
Do not forget the fans singing happy birthday that day to the” Jaw” Mr. Shula at the 72 reunion. What a day to be a Fins fan! I was all in, on the “process”.
Week 17 v Patriots – 5 - 11 You want a fair tale ending?
Well alright, I will give you one. Miami beating New England in their own back yard to finish the season 5 – 11 (feels like 11-5). How about them apples! Pats fans. We had not beaten the Patriots at home since 2008 (I do not even know how that is possible)? But yep, this win was the proverbial cherry on top. Our man Fitz led a final drive to take the win and give us all, lots to celebrate A. Our fifth win B. Force the Pats into third place (no home field advantage for later in the playoffs) C. Ruin Tom Brady’s final regular season game, with a little extra help from our very own Mr. Rowe’s early pick six!
Two massive wins in late December and the last one probably the sweetest of them all. Man, what a season, probably one of the greatest in Miami’s history wouldn’t you agree?
How does that make you feel? I feel like, this last season is the turning point for our next decade. Yes, there’s lots variables injuries, trades, rookies not panning out but to think we can win five (could easily been six or seven) with the squad we had. To feel like we finally have some direction. To see players, respond to a coach in the right way, I would say the futures bright, the futures aqua, white, and orange!
Thoughts on the future Brian Flores Have I mentioned I like this guy, we have had enough of the one hit wonders, the, lets all be friends and the downright letdowns at the head coach position, haven’t we? I think, Brian Flores is fair but hard and every report says the players like him, so yeah, he has got four more years and I would like to see those extended after those four years, if we are still trending in the right direction. Am I expecting Superbowl’s? of course I am, I’m a fan but realistically, playoff runs, consistency and an identity would suffice, just some overall stability. Bringing back the glory days, where we are in the conversation come January for a few years, A HOPE, A CHANCE, that is what fans want. A feeling that this could be our year (every year) not having to deal with the December blues, certainly not watching our division rivals every January while we lament another year of what if’s, that is for sure.
Players I would like to see in the Pro-bowl next year
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Hold on, “not Tua?” I here you say. I love Tua and the fact we did not tank and still got him is great. And yes, he could play next year, he’s certainly a more gifted athlete than Fitz but Fitz as something else, the IT factor, I would like to see him get us into the play off hunt, have a final great season and get a Pro-bowl nod then ride off into the sunset.
Matt Breida- Love his speed and it would be great if he became our feature back and puts up Pro-bowl type numbers this year Devante Parker – Well this is obvious; I would love to see him continue and get some recognition
Albert Wilson – I know some people think he’s a bust but when healthy this guy makes plays, I saw so many times, how he would give a move on someone and gain more YAC , don’t sleep on Wilson next year.
Mike Geiciki – See Parker above, he is ready to truly breakout and with more consistency from the QB position, he can make it
Ted Karras – Yes, the center, it would be great! he becomes the leader of our offensive line and it would piss Pats fans off too!
Christian Wilkins – This kid showed enough for me to think he can play up to his draft status and get in
E. Ogbah/ S Lawson – Either of these guys going to the Pro-bowl next year bodes well for our defense
Jerome Baker – He may get lost with all the new linebackers coming in but with his range, it would be great to see him get a ticket too
Kyle Van Noy – The big name at linebacker, I hope he is worth it and plays lights out all year
X Howard/ B Jones – Why not? We could potentially have the best one-two cornerbacks in the league, I would watch the Pro-bowl just to see those two white Dolphins helmets on either side of the field at the same time.
I know realistically not all those guys will get in, but any combination would be great
Players I hope continue to grow on our team
Tua Tagovailoa – Yes it would be great if he starts straight away but see “fits for Pro Bowl” above, I would be happy to see him learn and show up in spot duty giving us glimpse of what he can do and getting us hyped for 2021
Patrick Laird – Our intern, love his speed and elusiveness and it would be great if he became our primary backup to brier (I know we have Jordan) but Jordan has a different running style. Hopefully, Laird can put up decent numbers
Jakeem Grant – Probably my favorite player, please stay healthy & please keep returning kicks for TD’s. I hope Brian Flores and Chan Gailey have some ideas on how to use him in our offense properly, he could be our Tyreek hill with good coaching and the right scheme.
Austin Jackson – I hope this rookie gets it and quick, him and Hunt would be great, if they can play for ten years maybe becoming our new Richmond Webb and Keith Sims combo? Davon Godchaux - I know some of you will be saying he is already established but it would be great if he continues maybe he could be a Pro-bowler this year?
Vince Beigel – I loved this guy’s motor from last year and I really hope he does not lose out on reps with all the new additions at linebacker
Nik Needham – This is another player like Beigel that I’m rooting for, to me, his name was coming up all season (some not great) but most of it solid play and again I hope he doesn’t lose on out reps due to other players that have joined the team.
Erick Rowe – He moved around last year filling in where needed but with a full year at safety it would be great to see him evolve his game to the next level
Come back players Preston Williams – If he can come back and at least be the same player as last year, we can all expect big things from this undrafted player
Bobby McCain – Is he a slot guy or a safety? It would be nice to see him really get his teeth in to one role that would really benefit the team
Andrew Van Ginkel – Was injured for most of the year but managed to comeback late in the season. It will be interesting to see if he can fit and keep a roster space, he did flash at times, so, here is hoping.
Well there you have it, my breakdown of one the greatest seasons in Miami history, a season full of highs and lows, despair, and incredulities. This team showed the media types that they have no idea what goes on under the bonnet of an NFL team.
We as fans, finally had season worth investing in and we should have genuine hope that we have turned the corner. A season, that saw us break records both good and bad, a season that will live long in the memories, lasting longer than any other in recent times.
A 5 -11 season that does not leave us dreading next year but has given us instead, a euphoric sense of pride and anticipation for what next year brings. I for one feel the best about this team since Ricky Williams 1800 yards season! Yes, we have been given hope before only to be let down, but I do not get that sense this time around. Do you?
Thanks for reading.
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Med School: Why and why not Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health (ASMPH) — an honest review

Hi! I have been sneaking around Reddit and Twitter for a few days now, and most threads that I saw are queries about comparing ASMPH to other med schools and seeing which one is “better”. In my personal and humble opinion, I would like to believe that there is no “best med school”; rather, I’d like to think that there is a “best med school for you”. This means that each medical school does things in very different and distinct ways, and it might be up to you if these distinctions or how they run the school would be preferential to you.
So in light of this, I’d like to share the pros and cons of what it means to be an ASMPH student. Just to be clear: 1) I am an ASMPH graduate and a medical doctor, 2) I think fondly of my time in school, 3) I am not paid to promote ASMPH in any way, and 4) there are some things in the school that I do not like (compared at least to the other posts that I saw which zealously ”defend” the school lol). I will be brutally honest and sincere about my review, so my advance apologies to readers who will find some comments “radical”. I made this thread with my own efforts to dispel (more of KILL) misperceptions hounding my school for a long time: “being babied”, “spoiled”, ”hindi naman magaling sa clinicals”, and etc.
To clarify, I am using my own experiences from my time as a student, and as this thread will age, some of the things written here might not be true anymore the older this gets (hence, future ASMPH students are welcome to contribute their experiences by commenting below!).

Why ASMPH? (PROS)

Strong helping culture
Traditionally, medical schools emphasize the virtues of “excellence” that got misinterpreted (by some weird reason) into the lines of the Machiavellian principle: “Only the strongest will survive”. Hence, you may hear the usual med school horror stories of “fierce competition”, ”I will fail you all”, and “do it all by yourself”. I am glad that I have not encountered these horrors, because the school has designed a system which cultivates helping each other thrive. There is the mentorship program, in which doctor-mentors help students identify their strengths and weaknesses in their medical training, and work on it. The “Pugad Agila” organization is there to support not just the board takers who are preparing for their board exams, but the students themselves in preparing for major examinations. Believe it or not, people in the school are seemingly ”transformed” to help one another: in my time, all the med students who are PTs (physical therapists) made extra review classes for Anatomy, the nurses bonded together to create mini modules for Physical Exam, the Med techs will teach extra classes of Pathology and Microbiology, and the RPharma will give classes of Pharmacology to students for free. The ones which had rigorous backgrounds of Epidemiology will offer classes to students who are not exposed to the Public Health Sciences concepts. Even the registered (bio)chemists will lecture Biochem and try as best as they can to make the concepts more understandable and student-friendly! The older generations of ASMPH students also generously would “pass on” their lecture transcripts of years’ worth of lectures to the new generations of students who will come in, and no one is spared from this generosity (compared to other med schools which are preferential, let us say, to their frat or sorority members). This culture of helping each other out regardless of anything and everything, I think, is the greatest pro that ASMPH has to offer, and I think that so far, no other med school has emphasized this as their core strength (others would emphasize a “long tradition of excellence”, “reputation”, etc). I strongly think that this culture of helping, togetherness, and unity is what is needed in our health organizations especially in the Philippines, which by far are obviously swamped by partisan politicking, “power-tripping”, and blame-throwing — a culture which MIGHT have origins from the subcultures cultivated in traditional med schools.
I also have to add here that some students who do not perform well/score low in examinations are treated not with rejection (compared I think to other med schools who are more than happy to kick out underperforming students), but with extra support from the admin and the student body. The school recognizes the value of its students and not just based on their performance or grades alone. Review classes held by better-performing students are held for free in light of removal exam weeks for students who needed them. This however does not mean that the school would deliberately lower its standards by making the exams easier for students to pass. However, the school recognizes that there are many factors that determine a student’s ability to perform well in examinations (e.g. mental health, financial issues, others), and it does try to strive in eliminating negative factors that hinder a student from performing well academically.
Rigorous Academic Curriculum in Basic + Clinical Sciences AND Working Feedback Mechanism
I have to say that the curriculum presented by the school is very rigorous in structure and in application, and it is very flexible and adaptive. Each module has been integrated into Systems, which really facilitates relatively easier learning since you can already apply your concepts from Anatomy to Physiology, or Pharmacology to Pathology (because the subjects are grouped together in a systems fashion). Aside from the weekly major exams (more or less), there are other avenues of learning as well like the Student Group Discussions (SGDs), where students are given a case to analyze and discuss, and the (in)famous Team Based Learning (TBLs), in which the students are given multiple extra readings from various CPGs and resources on top of the lectures, then solve a case right in front of the preceptor and take quizzes. Each subject is taught by different professors who are experts in their own fields, and more often than not, no single professor handles more than one lecture per module, which makes examinations more challenging (since no patterns of how questions are asked and what questions are asked can be established), hence making this a very effective ground of ensuring that the curriculum is rigorous in itself. However, others argue that this might disrupt the flow of repeating information in a spaced out fashion (which is necessary for true retention btw), and perhaps lumping related information into one module will deplete opportunities for certain information to be repeated in shorter periods, making it harder to remember in a long-term manner (ex: lumping Biochem altogether in the first part of First year Med will make it harder for the Atenean Board Taker (5th year Med) to recall Biochem concepts because these are not frequently revisited due to the Modular Set-up).
In the Clinical Sciences (Clerkship and Internship), there were some hits and misses in the training at least in my time. But overall, I think that it was great that we were exposed to both the Private and Public Health institutions, because both function differently. In the private setting, we were able to learn ideal management (since our patients do not have financial constraints) and observe topnotch, highly-respected physicians on how they practice their bedside manners and deal with cases involving with very high profile patients. Contrary to popular belief that students are not allowed to handle patients in private hospital settings, we actually do handle a LOT (the school’s partner hospital hosts the LARGEST amount of patients seen nationwide in the ER setting, private hospital-wise) and do it first-hand (especially in the Emergency Room and in the Internal Medicine Wards). In the public hospital setting, we are also first-line in terms of dealing with patients (e.g. history-taking, clinical skills, IV insertions, Foley insertions, ECG interpretation, delivering babies and suturing perineums). On top of these responsibilities and shadowing physicians, we are required to meet with selected faculty and staff and present case discussions on a regular basis in order to reinforce our learning. The beauty of being exposed on both private and public fields, however, is when you are forced to innovate your knowledge from the private setting and adjust it to the public health management, or when you bring your adeptness in your clinical skills acquired from the public health arena to the private health institution. In a way, both health systems benefit from your respective exposures, and you gain a holistic insight on how to deal with patients ranging from the richest of the rich to the poorest of the poor.
Furthermore, we were tasked to assist our residents and consultants to help in accomplishing numerous paperwork properly (tons and tons of them!), the basic framework and the most important cornerstone of hospital practice, for without it (or it being deficient or substandard), the practice of the consultant, the resident, and subsequently the medical student, will be highly endangered (read: medical lawsuits).
The feedback mechanism, despite it being taxing and hassle for most students, is absolutely necessary for the curriculum to be improved. In my batch at least, we were able to kick out (seriously) profs we felt that were not lecturing well enough, which I think is something that other med schools do not have. We also had our share of bad doctor-profs who just read from their lecture slides and (worse) copy some of their slides from online lectures — but the feedback mechanism successfully weeded them out, which (I hope) encourages most of our profs to make sure that their lectures are good (and worth the tuition we paid).
Insanely supportive Faculty
The core faculty of the school, despite being heavily decorated (eg. presidents of their affiliate specialties, numerous recognitions and awards), are very supportive of the student body, and are OPEN to subjective criticism and feedback, which I think is not that present in other med schools (MDs from other med schools are more than welcome to disagree!). I remember this incident wherein our batch decided to write a letter and express our negative sentiments towards a certain module (will not say what because this will provide a clue to which batch I belong to haha), and instead of venting their ire to the students, they proposed a meeting where we can discuss our grievances and suggestions without any fear of any forms of retaliation. Another incident would be when a classmate of mine proposed a change of dress code for graduation wherein students should be allowed to wear whatever they are comfortable with as long as it is decent (i.e. not limiting women’s clothing to dresses), which was supported by the administration. I have not heard of such degree of freedom in any other med school, which is why I laud our faculty for their efforts to be open and inclusive.

Why NOT ASMPH? (CONS)

No Labor Payment (at all) regardless of Hospital Setting
Whereas other interns earn (albeit minimally but still) allowances or stipends, ASMPH interns do NOT earn anything despite doing labor-intensive work inside the hospital. The partner institutions tend to justify and rationalize this treatment as “deserving“ for trainees (e.g. not just for medical students but for residents and fellows as well, who receive bare minimal salaries in the private setting) because the skills and clinical acumen that will be gained in training is deemed to be “sufficient compensation”, but I beg to differ and disagree. The amount of time and labor spent by medical trainees (regardless of being a medical student or a fellow) inside the hospital SHOULD be reflective on the amount of compensation (or hazard pay) that the hospital administration should give, since it is but fair and just labor. I would argue that hospitals, especially ASMPH’s partner institution, The Medical City (TMC), have the capacity to subsidize its trainees well because a) most of them are tertiary, profitable, top-earning hospitals in the country, b) Medical trainees run the hospital and make it alive, sacrificing more and doing more than the consultants, wherein some (not all, to be fair) usually just claim their slice of the pie, and c) Medical trainees are solely responsible for managing health data of all patients, which should ideally be managed by everyone involved in the set-up. To add salt to these wounds, an intern (medical trainee) from a hospital abroad who does only 8 hour shifts earns at least $170 (est PhP 8,000) PER DAY (source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZijqVV1NqYQ) compared to an ASMPH intern who earns NOTHING in 24 hour shifts, and subsequently compared to an average Philippine Medical Intern who earns PhP 5,000 - 7,000 allowance PER MONTH. Older MDs would dismiss this and might call this as “demanding” and “typical of millenial mentality”; I would call this as it is and would like to request for some form of justice. Most hospital administrators, or I daresay the investors of healthcare system who are mostly businessmen and are non healthcare professionals, are more than willing to opportunistically abuse the willingness of medical trainees (not just doctors, but nurses, midwives, etc.) to improve their training with minimal or no compensation, because this is what is tagged as “most profitable” or “minimal cost” for most companies in a business perspective. Others would argue that ”the time of the young doctors to earn and reap their rewards will come when they become consultants”, but I will ask: what if that time will never come? I think of all the medical trainees who valiantly suffered and died in the battlefield because of COVID-19 — their supposed promised reaping of reward, even hazard pay, never came.
However, I would like to point out that this issue does not concern ASMPH solely, but involves the partner institutions in which it is affiliated. Furthermore, this problem of labor exploitation is not exclusive to ASMPH’s partner institution (although I would argue that we feel it more since we technically receive nothing — MDs from St. Luke’s please help me out), but rampant in hospitals that belong to the Philippine Health Care system in general.
Note: I would have inserted exorbitant tuition fees here, but it would not have contributed that much significantly to the discussion since all non-state sponsored medical schools have more or less the same tuition fees. The only difference is that ASMPH still pays tuition during its Internship year (along with St. Luke’s), partly because of the Professors that still give lectures and examine case presentations, and for the Boards Review (hence the reason why Ateneans have their own exclusive section for the PLE Boards Review Season — which is honestly a big, big Pro)
MBA: Friend or Foe?
Most students from other universities would comment that the MBA component was added in the spirit of “profitability” and learning more refined ways on how to earn more — and was tagged and branded as counterintuitive to the nobility that a medical doctor is supposed to possess (I am looking at you, selected students from UP 🙃). However, I would like to clarify that the MBA was crafted in order for us future physicians to be adept in managing health systems and organizations, which would undeniably involve financial management (eg. how would you manage a hospital’s finances and allot budget to medical equipment?), strategic management (eg. given the COVID-19 situation, how will your outpatient clinic sustain operations in the next 5 months?), and marketing management (eg. given that everyone is scared to go outside their homes, how would you market your hospital to be safe from COVID-19?). In an ideal set-up, these concepts and exercises should guide the med student thoroughly on how to apply all of these in the medical setting.
The main con of the MBA program is that most of its professors (except for maybe two, because both are physicians and MBA holders) and subsequently, their classes, lack exposure in the Medical setting (i.e. Hospital Administration, OPD management, and Public Health Systems Management), and more often than not, most examples that they could provide involve fields other than medicine (eg. banking, economics, construction, advertising). I see this as a con mainly because despite having benefits of seeing how management works on a different lens (hence making you more interdisciplinary in a way), I think that practicing these concepts in the medical field at least in the classroom setting and learning these from someone who is equally adept in both medicine and management would enrich the knowledge and appreciation of how intertwined both of these fields are as a holder of a dual MD-MBA degree, and not a haphazardly constructed, disjointed one. Furthermore, there are concepts in MBA which makes sense in a corporate setting but might be unethical or unacceptable in the realm of Health (eg. sacrificing quality of health care access for patients in order to invest less assets and accumulate more profit). Therefore, it would be up to the student to apply these concepts on his/her own. Thankfully, students may have the opportunity to apply all of these concepts and skills once they make their Final Strategic Management Thesis Paper, because you may opt to select any field you like to study on. In my case, I was lucky to have gotten a hospital as my focus-subject, therefore I managed to learn about Hospital systems and management on top of the MBA concepts that I learned. Hopefully, with new batches of MD-MBAs that are being produced, this con could be changed by the school in due time.
A definite con during my time (which was thankfully changed, thanks to feedback!) was having MBA classes despite being from hospital duty (which meant no sleep but we still had to endure classes) — that was one of the most unproductive classes of my life and I never wanted to go through any of that ever again (I still passed the subject, but I really never gauged if I learned well).
Public Health: Lacking or Sufficient?
This section might be of great concern to those who are looking forward to exploring ASMPH as an arena for expanding their Public Health skills (hello, Health Sci majors!). At this point, I need to disclose that I was a Health Sciences Major myself who had a decent fluency in Public Health (Basic Epidemiology and Global Health) prior to entering ASMPH, and I know some classmates of mine back in college (especially those who took Health and Developmental Studies) who looked forward in going to ASMPH for more advanced public health courses, only to find themselves disappointed as they went through the curriculum. Some of them eventually quit and went on to pursue Masters in Epidemiology or in Global Health elsewhere. Hence, some students in undergrad might hear swirling hearsay that ASMPH ”lacks the Public Health component or aspect”. This is perhaps mainly due to the fact that most of the lessons and discourse on Public Health in ASMPH, at least when I experienced it, were quite on the basic level — a reiteration of the courses we already went through in college as HSc majors. To be fair to the school, these kinds of discourse and topics are not experienced or tackled by people with other Bachelor degrees (eg. BS Psychology, BS Biology, etc.), and hence a repeat of these courses in Med school is deemed necessary to even out the disparity of knowledge among its students. But it would be safe to say that as of this writing (since no announcements have been made yet anyway), ASMPH does NOT offer courses that cater to advanced branches of Public Health such as Advanced Epidemiology (which would involve crazy mathematics such as those being used in monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic), Global Health Surveillance, Global Health Politics, and etc. A query was made about this (hence an open forum), and the reason why this happened is because the school does not have the faculty or the experts to teach the said subjects (so far).
However, this does NOT mean that ASMPH discounts Public Health. The school’s curriculum still satisfies the minimum requirements of what a medical doctor needs to know regarding Public Health (eg. Basic Epidemiology and Statistics, Health Awareness and Communication), and the main thesis paper of ASMPH students during their second and third year has Public Health in its core. The school also established the ASMPH Public Health Council, which is an org that engages Public Health discourse in the school and invites lecturers and key experts to discuss socially relevant Public Health issues. The CEIP program, which is a specialized program designed for medical students interested in managing health in a community setting, was established in hopes of strengthening the Public Health core of the school. However, the need (or should I say, demand) for advanced branches of Public Health subjects still remains, and this is something that the school needs to work on.
Conclusion
So to sum it all up, ASMPH is more or less a good medical school with supportive admin and staff, ”No Atenean Left Behind” culture and conducive learning environment, and a rigorous training program for future medical doctors. Despite its non-compensatory internship and partly context-devoid and disjointed MD-MBA curriculum, its openness for improvement thanks to its working feedback mechanism and its ability to provide a holistic overview of private and public health sectors would definitely give a nice edge to its students and to the future batches of Atenean doctors to come.
With that, A M D G *mic drop\*
P.S. Comments, discussions, and queries are welcome in the Comments Section below. :)
submitted by B9C2AF25DD to ADMU [link] [comments]

Big list of Benefits.

Figured I would make one big list of benefits people might not know about. Compiled from a bunch of Reddit threads, articles, and things I’ve found on my own. A bunch of these I haven’t used personally so if I’m mistaken on anything please let me know so I can change it! Also if you have anything to add ill put it on the list!
EDUCATION:
Tuition Assistance. Up to 4000 dollars per FY for college classes, you can sign up at the local Ed Center or GoarmyEd.com some posts have collages on posts that offer day classes which with your commander's approval you can get out of work for 2 hrs a day to go to class. as well as night classes if in-person learning is more your thing.https://www.goarmyed.com/
Army COOL: Up to 4000 dollars per FY (shared with TA) to get credentials. A great new resource to help get yourself set up Promo points and get recognized for the skills you already possess. I haven’t used this myself so hopefully, someone else can share their experiences.https://www.cool.osd.mil/army/index.htm
CLEPS/DSST: Military personal are allowed 1 free exam per CLEP AND DSST so if you fail one, you can take the same exam again through the other. that’s even more free college credits and you don’t even need to sit in a class for themhttps://clep.collegeboard.org/earn-college-credit/military-benefitshttps://www.dantes.doded.mil/EducationPrograms/get-credit/creditexam.html
Skillport: Lots of IT and Technical classes here, I don’t believe that they give you certs but they definitely prepare you for the exam whenever you take it. I had to sign up for an account on ATTRS (Gov. Computer)https://usarmy.skillport.com/
Pell Grant: Even more free money! get up to a couple of thousand dollars from the government as long as your going to school, and its a grant so you don't have to pay anything back! https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/grants/pell
Posse Veteran's Foundation: They partner with top schools to ensure groups of veterans are successful in elite undergrad programs. The program will pay for the rest of the time it takes to complete your degree regardless of G.I Bill benefits left. U Chicaco/UVA/Wesleyan/ Vassar College are all sponsors and would love to have more veteran students. The program consists of 3 interview rounds and there is no GPA/SAT threshold to reach to be eligible. https://www.possefoundation.org/shaping-the-future/posse-veterans-program
Warrior-Scholar Project: They host academic boot camps to prepare you to perform at elite schools. The boot camps are hosted by Yale/Harvard/MIT/Princeton/Columbia etc. and offer some great exposure college. The instructors exponentially increase your writing ability in the short time they have you. https://www.warrior-scholar.org/
Service 2 School: They match you with a mentor from a Vetlinked school and help tailor your entire application to the schools you want to apply to. They have had incredible success getting veterans to the Ivy League schools by providing 1:1 instruction for as long as you need. https://service2school.org/
Yellow Ribbon Schools: Ever want to go to Harvard or Yale or another big name school, but the tuition is so expensive you don't think GI Bill will cover it? Well, guess what? a lot of big-name schools will LOWER their tuition to the maximum amount the GI Bill pays out! https://www.va.gov/education/about-gi-bill-benefits/post-9-11/yellow-ribbon-program/
FedVTE: Another more technical/Cyber training website for government employees. https://fedvte.usalearning.gov/

LEISURE :
Space A. Travel: Free flights! If they are available, it can be a great way to vacation with a little bit of planning and luck involved.https://www.amc.af.mil/Home/AMC-Travel-Site/AMC-Space-Available-Travel-Page/
Epic Ski Pass: For $170 to get access to over 30 resorts including some big names ones.https://www.epicpass.com/pass-results/military.aspx
VetTix: Great way to get tickets to sporting events concerts and stuff. Just have to pay for shipping.https://www.vettix.org/
Blue Star Museum: HUGE amount of museums offer free admission to military and families. (not doing 2020 because of COVID)https://www.arts.gov/national-initiatives/blue-star-museums
Armed Forces Vacation Club: Weeklong Resorts/House/Hotel stays starting at $359 have locations all over the world. Some places offer shorter stays as well. (There's also a version of this for Veterans which is basically the same thing.)https://www.afvclub.com/
Seaworld / Busch Gardens: Seaworld offers military 1 free admission per year.https://seaworld.com/orlando/tickets/military-discount/active/ https://buschgardens.com/tampa/tickets/military-discount/
National Parks: Tons of National parks offer free admission to military personnel. You have to get it in person from a park but it’s still a great deal.https://store.usgs.gov/faq#US-Military
Disney World: Disney World offers 4 5 and 6 day passes for as low as $265 with the park hopper option.https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/special-offers/military-multi-day-tickets-2020/
TSA Precheck: Free TSA precheck. Just enter your DOD ID number in the Known Traveler number box.Games2Grunts: Free video games. First come first serve but normally they have some pretty good games and addons.https://gamestogrunts.weareosd.org/
Hunting & Fishing licenses: A lot of states offer free or resident rate hunting and fishing licenses. Have to look into your individual state for more details.
ETS:
SFL-TAP: SFL-TAP offers a lot more than just the mandatory classes and resumes reviews that most people, They offer Carrer Skills programs which you can do while you’re still in the Army, Gets you away from the unit for a while, help you learn a skill, and normally they will hook you up with a job when you get out. There are also some other things that are a lot more post dependant, Fort Riley, for example, offers free OSHA10/30 and Defensive Driving classes multiple time a year.
LinkedIn Premium: Free year of premium for Soldiers. Offers resume builders and other great resources for finding a job.https://socialimpact.linkedin.com/programs/veterans/premiumform
Boots2Suits: Resume, Professional picture. And other sorts of career placement help. The same people also offer 2 free business attire outfits.https://www.tailoredforsuccess.org/boots2suits
American Corporate Partners: Free yearlong mentorship in a career field of your choice. From what I've heard its a better more specific version of SFL-TAPhttps://www.acp-usa.org/mentoring-program/veteran-application
CDL: Depending on your MOS (or what vehicles you have one your license) some states will waive the Skill test required to get your CDL (Most states I've noticed will still make you pass a knowledge test.)
OTHER.
ID.me: This verifies you’re military affiliation and enables discounts through sites like apple’s military deals. many other benefits use this to verify your service. https://www.id.me/
Childcare: ChildcareAware offers assistance with paying for Childcare when On post isn't available. Apparently they also help cover summer camps.https://www.childcareaware.org/fee-assistancerespite/military-families/
GOVX: Online superstore with pretty good discounts on a lot of items and big-name brands.https://www.govx.com/
ExpertVoice: Basically same thing as GOVX https://www.expertvoice.com/
Firearm Discounts: many firearms and accessory manufacturers offer discounts to LEO and Military, most just require you to email them your proof. Glock and Vortex optics are just some of the options. https://us.glock.com/en/buy/blue-label-program https://vortexoptics.com/military-law-enforcement
Veterans day Meals: Every year tons of places offer free meals to veterans. There's too many to list here so here's a list I found of last year. should be similar year to year. https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/67508/veterans-day-discounts-2019/
SCRA: SCRA from my understanding allows you to refinance all Pre-military loans to a 6% interest rate. Lots of places go above and beyond for this including AMEX and Chase, Who offer their premium cards to active duty personnel with 0 annual fees. and they all come with a host of benefits including Uber credit, access to premium airport lounges. and lots of other things.
MilitaryOneSource: What DOESNT this site do? They offer free anonymous counseling, access to digital MWR libraries, a guide to space A. flights. an amazing resource for almost all things military. https://www.militaryonesource.mil/
Speech Therapy: This was one I was really surprised about if you suffer from a lisp or stutter or some form of speech impediment, give Behavioral Health a call and ask if they offer this. I was able to meet with a therapist once a week for a couple of months and now the lisp i had my entire life is almost completely gone. All for free
ASAP: Everyone hears about it as this bad thing, but if you feel you have a problem with alcohol this is an amazing resource to help you.

Special Thanks to
u/BlackShadow10020
u/Trick_Delay
u/jeebus_t_god
u/ideal_NCO
u/milo896
u/-bhank-
u/Designer-Lime

submitted by Sethman27 to army [link] [comments]

A Beginner’s Guide to Improving Your Lawn This Spring & Summer

-- PLEASE NOTE: While questions are very welcome in the comments, be sure to check the two part FAQ below this post as it gets into many of them! --

Three points of orientation:

Make sure this guide pertains to you. This guide was written for those who are growing cool season grasses. What does that mean? Well, there are all sorts of different grasses grown on home lawns but they can generally be split into two camps: cool season and warm season. Cool season grasses include fescue, bluegrass and rye, and are most often grown in the central to northern parts of the USA or in milder parts of southern California. If you live in one of these places, you very likely have cool season turf. Warm season grasses include bermuda, centipede, zoysia, St. Augustine and bahiagrass, and are most often grown in the south and southwestern parts of the country. The differences between cool season and warm season grasses are significant and just like you can’t cook a strip steak and a beef shank in the same way, this cool season plan is simply not going to work if you have warm season turf.
Have reasonable expectations. Sadly we have to begin with what for some of you will be a bitter pill to swallow: if your lawn is in really bad shape, following the steps in this guide is not going to take it from a “2” to a “10” by the end of the summer. The reason for this is simple: the time to renovate and truly transform cool season lawns is in late summer and early fall. The goal here is to make big, noticeable improvements and get you ready for fall when you can truly take your lawn to the next level.
About me and about this guide. I am a lawncare DIYer. Like many of you I bought a house and then had a realization that I had to take care of a lawn and had no idea what I was doing. This guide contains many of the lessons I learned in figuring things out. It also contains lessons learned from watching Allyn Hane (Lawn Care Nut), Pete Denny - u/gciturf (GCI Turf), Matt Martin - u/thegrassfactor (The Grass Factor) and Ryan Knorr, along with reading this sub and thelawnforum.com and listening carefully to the golf course professionals I know. That said, all of the writing is my own though I owe a significant debt of gratitude to u/SirThomasFraterson and u/Unabomber007 who generously read a draft of this guide and offered thoughtful suggestions and critique.

Late Winter (aka Where to Begin):

This is where you start. While it is obviously intended for you to complete these steps in February or early March, if you have found this guide later in the season you still want to start here. Every other step will depend on these things being done.

Step #1 - Measure Your Lawn.

This step is not optional. If you don’t know how big your lawn is there is no way you can apply anything to it as you’ll have no idea how much to apply. There are online tools you can use to get a rough idea of your yard’s size, but I have found they can be off by as much as two hundred square feet. My recommendation is to buy an appropriately sized tape measure or measuring wheel and actually walk your lawn. Unless you have a truly tiny yard, you’ll probably want to divide it up into different areas. To do this take your measurements and draw a small map of your property and identify your particular zones. Treat each area separately.

Step #2 - Get a Soil Test.

Like the previous step, this is not optional. When you are ill and go to the doctor, he (or she) performs tests before he takes any action. He doesn't just cut you open or prescribe random medications hoping everything will work out. Before you add anything to your lawn or do any work to it, you have to test your soil. You can do this at any point, I usually do mine in February. MySoil is an easy, though very expensive source for soil testing. A much cheaper option is to use your County Extension Office, which is staffed by state university employees focused on local agriculture and gardening issues. Find their site and then look around for soil testing; it’ll be there. (Once you find your office's website, it is worth bookmarking it. It will offer a lot of advice for lawncare that is particular to your state. Some of the advice might be considered conservative by the standards of many in this sub, but it is worth having, nonetheless).

Step #3 - Buy a good-quality mower, sprinkler setup, broadcast spreader, backpack or pump sprayer and a scale.

Lawncare is an equipment-driven hobby and there are tons of things you can buy but these five are are the essentials. Of course if you already have one of these items, only upgrade if you feel that your current equipment isn't doing the job.

Step #4 - Fix your pH, if your soil test says you need to.

When you get your soil test back it is most likely going to indicate that you have too little of several things, and perhaps that you have too much of one or two. Ignore everything right now except for pH. This is crucial. If your pH is out of whack it is going to affect your grass' ability to make use of nutrients in your soil. If your pH is low you'll want to add lime; something like ‎Pennington Fast Acting Lime will work. Add it according to your soil test's recommendations and in the amounts specified on the product’s label using your broadcast spreader. If your pH is too high, you'll want to add sulphur. Southern Ag Pelletized Soil Acidifier is a good product. You can apply lime or sulphur any time of the year that the ground is not frozen.

Early Spring:

Step #5 - Aerate your lawn… but only if it is necessary.

Lawn aeration is the process of pulling soil cores out of the lawn in an effort to reduce soil compaction and allow air, water and nutrients to reach the root zone of your grass. Perhaps due to the strident marketing efforts of a couple large lawncare firms, beginners tend to think that they must aerate their lawns every spring and fall. This is not true. You should only aerate your lawn in the spring if it needs it. How do you know if it needs it? Do the screwdriver test. Any day that the ground is not frozen, take a flat-head screwdriver and attempt to push it into the soil in several places in your lawn. The screwdriver should easily be able to sink into the ground. It it cannot, water your lawn lightly and try again. If it still cannot, you should consider aeration.

Step #6 - Apply a Pre-Emergent Herbicide.

A pre-emergent herbicide is exactly what it sounds like: something you put down to prevent weeds from emerging. It differs from the more common post-emergent herbicides (discussed in Step #9) that attack weeds that have already sprouted. A pre-emergent won't prevent all weeds - or even most - but it will prevent one devastating one: crabgrass, and because it can do that it is an essential part of spring lawncare. The two main options for pre-emergents are Prodiamine and Dithiopyr. Both work well and both come in a dizzying array of formulations, both brand name and generic, liquid and granular, and mixed with fertilizer or without it. The differences matter to a certain extent - and if you are new and can’t decide, go with this easy to apply granular from Sunniland - but what matters much more is getting one of them down at as close to the right time as possible. What is that right time? When your soil temperatures are approaching 55°F. How do you know when that is? Use this website, going back to 2019 and clicking around looking at the 5 year averages for various spring dates. Doing this will give you a rough idea of the right time. As that time approaches, check the website daily. When soil temperatures are consistently around 52 or 53°F - according to the 24 hour average - go ahead and apply.

Mid to Late Spring:

Step #7 - Throw down some fertilizer!

About two to three weeks after your first pre-emergent goes down you’ll want to apply fertilizer. This can get very complicated very quickly but I am going to try to keep it as simple as I can via the following sub-steps:
  1. Figure out how much nitrogen your lawn needs. Grass requires a lot of things, but chief among them when it comes to nutrients is nitrogen. What you want to do is apply between .75 pound and 1.5 pounds of nitrogen per thousand square feet of grass this spring in two split doses. Lean towards somewhere between .75 to 1 pound if you fertilized heavily last fall. Go heavier if you didn’t - particularly if you have never applied fertilizer to your lawn - or if your lawn was seeded or sodded in the latter half of last year. Do not exceed 1.5 pounds of nitrogen. More will not equal better in this context.
  2. Choose a fertilizer. Like lawn mowers, there are nearly endless options when it comes to fertilizer. The generalized nature of this post precludes an in-depth discussion of fertilizer brands. That said, if you are a true beginner, it is hard to go wrong with Milorganite. It is easy to apply and its iron content will give your lawn an enviable dark green color. Yes, there are cheaper fertilizers, better fertilizers, liquid fertilizers, etc. but Milo is a good place to start and available pretty much everywhere in the country.
  1. Translate this “x pounds of nitrogen per thousand feet” (from sub-step #1) into actual pounds of fertilizer. To do this you’ll need to do some very simple, middle school-level math. Any fertilizer you buy will show its analysis on its label. The first number in the trio refers to the percentage of nitrogen in the fertilizer. (The second refers to phosphorus, the third to potassium). To get the “pounds on the ground,” use the following formula: the amount of nitrogen you want to apply ÷ the fertilizer’s nitrogen percentage in decimal form.
  1. Take this ‘x pounds fertilizer per thousand square feet’ information and apply it to the different areas of your property.
  1. Split up your total fertilizer amount into two applications. The first application, to be done two to three weeks after your first pre-emergent goes down, should amount to 2/3rds of your total fertilizer. Your second application which should go down three weeks later should consist of the remaining 1/3rd.
  1. Apply using the same technique discussed in Step #4. As discussed there, lower your spreader setting when you are first beginning so as to ensure an even application.

Step #8 - Apply some humic acid and sea kelp.

This step is optional but I wouldn’t skip it unless you lack the money or time. Humic acid is derived from compressed organic mattter mined from the earth and in that sense it can almost be thought of as like an essence of compost. Humic acid will help improve your soil chemistry and structure and allow your grass to better take up the nutrients you provided it in Step #7. It will also encourage positive microbial growth in your soil. Sea kelp contains two major plant growth hormones that are thought to encourage root growth. There are products like N-EXT RGS and this blend from Simple Lawn Solutions that combine both humic acid and sea kelp (both are liquid products and are best applied using a cheap hose-end sprayer attachment) but you could also buy them separately: The Andersons makes an easy to apply humic acid granular and kelp4less.com offers a variety of sea kelp products. The latter two suggestions offer great value.

Step #9 - Kill your weeds.

Your lawn probably has weeds and spring is going to be a time they are going to rapidly grow. Getting rid of them is important as many weeds will outcompete your grass if given the chance. There are thousands of herbicides available but you’ll need just a couple:
  1. An all-purpose. This will be what you will use on most of your broadleaf weeds like dandelions and plantains. Bayer Advanced makes a product that is effective and available basically everywhere. Compare-n-Save makes an incredibly cheap version that works about as well. SpeedZone is a step up, a “higher power” product used by many professionals, but is not something I would recommend if you have never sprayed weeds before as over-spraying it can do serious damage.
  2. Something for clover. The above products will damage clover, but with the possible exception of SpeedZone, probably won’t knock it out. If you want to kill it - along with its “cousins,” oxalis and chickweed - you’ll need something that contains triclopyr. Your best option is the easy to find Weed B Gon Chickweed, Clover, Oxalis Killer.
  3. Specialty items for grassy weeds and other hard to kill items. A favorite of this sub, Tenacity works great on things like crabgrass, annual bluegrass, nimblewill, and yellow nutsedge. Quinclorac also works on crabgrass but if you put down a pre-emergent (Step #6) you shouldn’t have much to deal with. I’d hold off on buying either of these until you see if you actually need them.
A few details to note regarding herbicides:
How to spray weeds: This video from the Lawn Care Nut covers the basics of spot spraying. A few additional points that Allyn didn’t cover: Avoid watering or mowing for at least 24 hours after spraying. The point is to let the herbicide get absorbed into the weed and work its way through it. Washing the herbicide off with water or cutting the sprayed parts off with a mower will obviously hinder that effort.

Step #10 - Treat your lawn for grubs (if they are an issue in your neighborhood) and, if needed, treat for other insects.

Grubs are the larvae of beetles, to the untrained eye they look almost like little white shrimp. They commonly feed on the roots of grass plants and in doing so can devastate a lawn. Grubs are not present in every lawn or even in every neighborhood. I obviously can’t tell you if they are present in yours. You can ask around in your local garden center or chat with a neighbor who is into lawncare and see if he or she is treating for them. If you think grubs might be an issue for you, I suggest a two-pronged attack:

Summer:

Cool season grass has the name it does for a good reason: it thrives during the cooler days of spring and fall. And it struggles in summer, at least in any place where daytime highs exceed 85°F with any regularity. Thus, the proper approach to summer is to hang on, keep the grass healthy and prepare for fall when it can be at its best again.

Step #11 - Mow your lawn!

While I put this step in this section as it is most relevant to summer, make no mistake about it, you should begin mowing as soon as your grass beings growing in the spring. A few tips to help you along:

Step #12 - Water effectively.

If you live in a cooler, rainier place you might be able to get away without watering much in the spring but virtually everyone is going to have to water in the summer. Here are some tips to water effectively:

Step #13 - Prevent fungal diseases if you live in an area where they might strike.

While humans and animals are most often stricken with viral or bacterial diseases, these almost never occur in cool season grasses grown for home lawns. What do occur are fungal diseases. Fungi, as you might have learned in high school science, are a separate kingdom of organisms apart from plants, animals and other tiny things. Fungi that affect lawns require two things in order to grow: heat and humidity. If you have conditions where the temperature (in degrees Fahrenheit) and the percent humidity added together equal 150 or higher, you are at risk for disease. Things you can do to lower your risk include:

Step #14 - Plan for fall.

Fall is the optimal time to seed cool season lawns. If your lawn is thin, you’ll want to overseed it. The best time for this is when your soil temperatures fall to about 70°F. (To find out when this is use the tool linked to in Step #6). If you didn’t aerate in the spring, doing so in the fall - and then seeding - is generally a good idea. Spend some time figuring out what type of seed to plant, what type of starter fertilizer you are going to use, how you are going to control weeds and how you will handle watering. The more detailed your plan going into fall, the better your chances for success.

Plan Review:

NOW
WHEN SOIL TEMPERATURES APPROACH 55°F:
TWO TO THREE WEEKS LATER:
WHEN SOIL TEMPERATURES APPROACH 70°F:
THREE WEEKS AFTER FIRST FERTILIZER APPLICATION:
THROUGHOUT SUMMER:
submitted by wino_tim to lawncare [link] [comments]

Beginner Viewer's Guide to GTA RP / NoPixel (What it is, what viewers should know, and glossary)

I am not a NoPixel staff member. I'm just a random person.
Pleased let me know if there's any mistakes or important info I am missing!
This guide is intended for new viewers to GTA RP. So you've never heard of GTA RP or NoPixel, are wondering why it's popular, and/or are looking for answers to some frequently asked questions, check this out!
What this guide covers
This guide is NOT the following

What is GTA RP and why is it popular?

GTA is an abbreviation of the video game Grand Theft Auto, and specifically refers to the latest game at the time of writing, Grand Theft Auto 5.
RP stands for 'role-play', and you likely already know what that is: The act of assuming a role for various purposes, usually entertainment in this context.
GTA RP is essentially an gigantic long-running improv show. Players create their own characters, complete with whatever personalities, quirks, and backstories they come up with. Think of it as actors creating a role for themselves to play.
The characters then interact with other characters and inevitably end up creating storylines of all kinds of variety, whether it be short hour-long arcs, or long storylines lasting months/years, and ranging in tone from humorous and light-hearted to downright serious and meticulous.
Unlike most video games, there is no real 'goal' or 'victory' to chase. The point of GTA RP is simply to, well, role-play. This means that while characters have their own agendas and reasons for doing whatever activities with whatever other characters, the point is not to 'reach an ending' or 'farm X/Y/Z' as you would see in many other video games.
The popularity stems from the dynamics of the improv - because there's generally no planned 'scripts', people just keep creating situations on their own. Good role players will end up creating character arcs and growth to go along with new scenarios (not unlike seasons or episodes of an actual TV show), but again it's all improv which means there's lots of room for surprises and unpredictability.
In addition, the ability for viewers to interact with streamers live means a better opportunity to be involved in a community and be invested in favourite characters or players.

Helpful Resources

What do I need to know as a viewer? Can I tell the players X/Y/Z information?

There are 3 important rules every viewer should abide by:
As a viewer, the most important thing you need to do is to not meta.
In simple terms, Meta in GTA RP means informing players about things their character did not find out in-game. An example is telling a player out-of-character (OOC) that another group is planning a trap for his/her character. The player was not supposed to know and now the roleplay may be affected as the player's decision making and enjoyment is now affected by outside information he/she was not supposed to know.
Meta essentially ruins roleplay since at best, it ruins surprises and dynamic roleplay (since the player knows things he/she is not supposed to know). At worst, it really ruins things if a player uses this OOC information to purposely gain advantages or circumvent events that would have happened.
Not sure if what you're about to say is meta? Don't say it.
The other important thing is to be nice to the players. While it can be fun to be invested in the players and characters, ultimately, they are actors playing in a virtual world. At the end of the day, it is role play. Do not belittle or otherwise be toxic to players who do not necessarily do what you want them to do - It's essentially the same as being pissed off an actor instead of the character. This also applies to "stream hopping" and spreading negativity around multiple players - it is just a video game and people are acting for entertainment, so there should be no need to trash talk or be negative to others.
Backseating, or backseat gaming, is also discouraged. While this varies depending on the streameplayer, most of the time people do not appreciate constantly being critiqued on how one "should play", especially in RP. Sometimes backseating can also interpreted as Meta, and ultimately tends to affect players and roleplay negatively.
Do not forget that roleplaying is not a competitive venture - characters are expected to rise and fall, win and lose, repeatedly. Sometimes they're the star of some crazy events, sometimes they're the victims or catalysts in these events. So do not fret if your favourite characters "win" or "lose" - it's just RP.

What is NoPixel? Is it different from normal GTA Online?

NoPixel is the name of a custom GTA5 server that is not owned by Rockstar, the developers of the original game series. Instead, it is a server run entirely through volunteer work from people who are not necessarily affiliated with the game company. NoPixel has practically nothing to do with the official GTA multiplayer, known as GTA Online.
NoPixel uses a mod called FiveM, which is generally a mod required to play on multiplayer, dedicated GTA servers. NoPixel itself was founded by Koil, who at the time of writing still functions as the server's owner, as well as a developecoder and community leader of the server. He does not run it alone however, as there is a circle of trusted individuals who help Koil maintain the server in terms of both software and community developments. For example, these admins generally oversee and ship out new changes to the server, as well as being responsible for dishing out punishments like bans.
NoPixel is widely regarded as one of the best and most popular GTA RP servers to play on, thanks to the hard work that has been spent on making it a functional and fun server. It began fairly small with low player slots and limited content, but has since expanded massively. In recent times it has attracted many players, including popular streamers/actors/etc. to its ranks over the years. The maximum capacity of player slots has increased over time and there are hopes it will one day go above 100, maybe even 150+ players at a time.
The server itself plays very differently than official GTA Online, as after all it is a customized server to role play on. Thus, it has its own mechanics and quirks despite using GTA as the 'base game'. While it seems to play the same as GTA, almost every aspect of the 'base game' is different in NoPixel.

So what actually is GTA RP? What exactly are the players doing? Give me the details.

As mentioned before, GTA RP is basically a long-running improv show. Players create their own characters, complete with whatever personalities, quirks, and backstories they come up with. Think of it as actors creating a role for themselves to play.
Then, out in the GTA5 world (known as the city of Los Santos), they interact with other players. The mechanics of the game, as well as the rules for role-playing, depends on the server. In NoPixel specifically, the 'gameplay' is modified from the base game to facilitate role-play. This means an economy system is in place where players can earn, spend, and lose money as well as trade items. There are various 'jobs' ranging from police, emergency medical services (EMS), taxi drivers, lawyers, house realtors, or even criminals. Players can visit clothing stores to customize their characters and create outfits. They can even change their animations, walking style, and facial expressions through in-game interfaces, allowing them to express themselves appropriately to facilitate role-play!
While there are certain roles that are more 'baked-in' to NoPixel's systems, such as police, a lot of other activities/roles are generally improvised by players. For example, players can be taxi drivers and be paid by other players to ferry them around. Criminals can attempt to rob stores and banks, and hopefully get away from police players, lest they face legal repercussions like jail. Some players can get their hands on drugs and sell it to other players. Judges and lawyers can work on court cases involving many players. EMS help find and retrieve players who are 'downed' or injured, and Doctors can role-play helping out with serious injuries and operations. Police patrol around looking to stop crime, whether it's mundane traffic violations or serious threats in the case of criminal players robbing valuables or kidnapping other players.
The list goes on, and remember that not everything is cut and dry, as there is a lot of creative endeavours pursued by players all the time. Recent examples includes gang territories and gang wars, terrorist organizations with motives against police forces, artists and music labels creating entertainment (that ends up as real songs that you can listen to on Soundcloud), and more!
There is no real 'goal' or 'winning' in GTA RP. The point of GTA RP is not to go after some sort of victory or completion like one would in a standard video game - instead, it is to improv characters living out their lives and interacting with other characters When things go right, this means one can expect all sorts of storylines and shenanigans, ranging from humorous and quirky to downright serious and meticulous.

So how detailed is the world in NoPixel? What specifically can players use to facilitate role-play?

NoPIxel is a fairly detailed GTA RP server, essentially having its own customized interface to work with. Some of the mechanics players use in the game include:

What are the rules in NoPixel? Can players do whatever they want?

I will not be covering every single rule here.
NoPixel is regarded as one of the best GTA RP servers out there because of its strict rules and enforcement of said rules. While there's a great deal of freedom in RP, there are plenty of rules that help facilitate role-play and prevent it from being a chaotic mess. The official rules may be seen on the actual NoPixel website, though you will need to register to see anything there.
Otherwise, here's a screenshot of some rules, though this is not up to date: https://imgur.com/a/N5HFpfj
You don't necessarily need to read everything if you're not a player. However, below are a few important rules that the players will be obeying, which can be helpful to know as a viewer.
No Meta
As stated above in "What do I need to know as a viewer?" section.
No abusing game exploits or mechanics
Self explanatory. If you're actually playing on NoPixel you'll want to check the official rules for more details. As a viewer it basically just means you won't see players abusing exploits or mechanics to gain an advantage or circumvent appropriate RP. Examples include 'phasing' through walls, abusing unlimited resource bugs (like ammo), or logging out of the game abruptly during active situations.
Value your life (and others to high extent), and initiate before killing
This rule is one of the major cornerstones in preventing NoPixel from devolving into a chaotic mess. The 'value your life' rule basically means all characters must act appropriately when their life is threatened, similar to how one would react in real life. This means if your character has guns pointed at him/her, you cannot simply rush your attackers with melee attacks, nor try to pull out a weapon when said guns are still pointed at you. This also means that you must comply with appropriate demands - for example, if you are walking on a street and some criminals suddenly pull up with guns in order to kidnap you for hostage situations, your character should 'value their life' by raising their hands and comply with their demands to get in their car.
It is against the rules (also likely to prevent violating Twitch terms of service) to role-play suicidal characters seriously - this means no threatening to jump off buildings to die in a serious and depressing fashion, for example. Your character also has to demonstrate 'valuing life' by not constantly threatening their own, or others characters, lives. This means no purposely driving into players walking around, nor spraying bullets everywhere. Such actions are referred to as Random Deathmatch (RDM) or Vehicular Deathmatch (VDM) - basically killing people randomly. You cannot simply kill people without warning and without some sort of initiation. The only exception is when the players agree on a condition for attacking each other without warning every time (Ex. gang wars and entering a rival's 'turf').
Note that murders can still occur in RP, but these are facilitated through role-play. There are criminals with known murder records for example, but in these cases again the players facilitated role-play rather than randomly killing people they saw on the streets without warning.
Rule of 4
Most crime activities only allows a maximum of 4 players in a 'squad'. This means that only a max of 4 players may work together to, say, rob a bank together. This also applies in indirect help - in the same example, this group of 4 cannot have additional players on the same radio channel helping out via 'call-outs'.
This rule is to help prevent chaos and prevent essential services like Police and EMS, from being overwhelmed. Note that this tends to apply mostly to criminal activities - many other activities such as hosting a concert or car show to an audience of far larger than 4 people, are allowed.
Protocols for certain jobs
Some roles have protocols for how the players should act. Police and EMS are particularly detailed with standard operating protocols (SOPs) and special rules regarding interactions as well as what other players can do with them.
These can get quite detailed, so I'll only mention some of them. Police have quite high requirements as players must apply for it much like a real job - this includes applications as well as in-character interviews. Those who pass can begin training from current police officers, and learn all the rules and protocols that come with being a cop. Similar to real life, police in NoPixel have specific protocols to follow, such as using specific radio calls and procedures on how to deal with various situations like breaching, hostage negotiations, chases, etc.
The police themselves have a structural hierarchy of positions.
EMS are generally exempt from chaotic situations for the sake of server health - this means no shootouts and crazy tomfoolery at the hospital, and very rarely can EMS be kidnapped or harmed unless they are off-duty.
Downed states and Death
Player characters can lose all their health and enter a 'downed' state, where they need to be revived through medical RP. This commonly is done by other players alerting EMS players, who then retrieve the downed players and bring them to the hospital for treatment.
Players who are downed also have an option of forcefully respawning themselves at the hospital after waiting 5 or so minutes while downed. Doing so however means the character must 'forget' and have no memory of the events leading to their 'death'. It also tends to cost their inventory and money, discouraging people from abusing this mechanic.
This should only be used when it makes sense or when technical issues cause problems. For example, if a player is killed secretly and dumped in the ocean, with no way of anyone nearby to report the crime, the player can decide to force respawn (since it makes sense no one can call for EMS). However this character would have no memory of what happened, and so after respawning would have to act like he/she woke up from a blackout and have no idea who committed a 'murder' against them.
Player characters can only be permanently retired (also known as 'perma') based on the controlling player's decision - in other words only you can decide if you want to 'perma' your own character, not anyone else. Due to the investment/effort in building up characters, 'perma' deaths of established characters are very rare, and thus this is why you will see characters still alive despite having been 'killed' multiple times over the span of months and years.
No violating Terms of Service (TOS), and use common sense with touchy subjects
Rules also apply for the sake of the players having a good time, as well as streamers not being punished for weird things that could cause them to be banned from their source of income. This means a lack of RP that would violate TOS on platforms such as Twitch....which goes hand-in-hand with using common sense when it comes to touchy subjects. Uncomfortable topics like suicide, sexual acts or crimes, nudity, etc. are generally not allowed.

Frequently Asked Questions

More may be added over time.
There's a lot of history and stories I've missed out. How do I catch up?
Why do people suddenly act silly and break rules at very specific points in time (tsunami / server reset)?
Why is there a lack of variety in weapons?
Why are characters able to constantly 'die' and keep coming back?
Are famous people playing this or have played on NoPixel before?
Are there plans to expand NoPixel to other games, like Red Dead Redemption 2?

GTA RP terms/glossary

A glossary of commonly used terms you may hear players use in-game. Most of these are specific to GTA RP, as I won't be covering every common internet/game/streaming terms. More may be added over time, and will be sorted alphabetically eventually.
'Eyes' depends on context as it has multiple meanings. It can refer to either the player looking through first-person view in the game, or can refer to a player's visual settings in the game. Ex. "Look through your eyes and check this out!" (Go into first-person and check this out). "I'm having trouble with my eyes, things are looking really blocky and bright." (I am having problems with my game visuals).
It can also refer to a player's perspective and sync'ing up with the server. Ex. "In my eyes, you totally crashed." (Server desync issue where you see things occurring differently compared to other players).
Head usually refers to a player's computer or computer programs. Ex. "Ahh my head exploded!" (the game just crashed). "I just got a headache." (game temporarily froze or had frame rate issues). It can also be used to refer to a person dealing with things out of character. Ex. "Hold on I'm in my head" (Hold on, I'm doing something in real life, such as talking to my viewers, fixing something with my computer, AFK, etc.)
Vocal chords usually refer to a player's microphone. Ex. "Something's wrong with your vocal chords, you're really quiet" (Something is wrong with your mic).
submitted by YurdleTheTurtle to RPClipsGTA [link] [comments]

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