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ANSWERS: Mastering engineer Alain Paul (Tommy Four Seven, Paula Temple) responds to your AMAs

Back in May, I posted the AMA for mastering engineer and producer Alain Paul. Since Alain isn't on social media, we collaborated together offline to compile his responses to all your questions. Here are his answers, and there are some real nuggets of truth hidden here. I highly recommend you read through them all if you are at all interested in techno production or mastering in general.
What traits would you consider important for a person, independently of his (production) skills? What would be one of the best skills/traits to have as a person which can be passed on to your production mindset and your overall sound quality? (via maka (Discord))
Someone who wants to be a mastering engineer should have the personality of a robot. The more like a robot you are the more tracks you can master. For me, not being a robot, I struggle to work on tracks in a conveyor belt fashion and absolutely need to take lots of breaks and days off so my capacity is far lower than some other engineers who I know who sit there 8 hours a day and bosh tracks out like machines. But that’s mastering. If you are asking about creativity, I find that the opposite is important. Don’t be a robot. Be weird, wonderful, unpredictable, arrogant and all the things your average employer doesn’t want to hear….. but you need consistency and perseverance otherwise you will never make it. Most guys I know who have success have been going at it for many years.
When it comes to techno, what steps do you usually follow to master a track and are there issues we should consider that most tracks have? (via Caen83)
Often the kick isn’t strong enough. Hats are too loud. Stereo imaging is not mono compatible. They are the main problems I see on a routine basis.
What are the top 3 most common mix critique fixes you give, excluding simple balancing (hat too loud etc) and too hot mixes (peaks too high/clipping)? (via Arry_Propah)
Well, hats too loud is probably the third most common. Hats could also mean in this context shakers or any kind of high perc which is not sitting in the mix. Mostly that is just levels but it can also be EQ. Often people will try and view their mix in pigeon holes. They want the kick to occupy a certain frequency range, the top line to be in another frequency range and the hats to be in another etc. But the end result of this method of mixing is very often an over-EQed sound and I will usually get the stems and try make the frequency response of the sounds more balanced again and bring back some of the detail lost in the mix by this style of over EQing. Second most frequent thing hat got to be weird stereo imaging / mono compatibility issues. Especially with less experienced artists, there is a tendency to put ultra stereo widening stuff on all the sounds or even on the whole mix. This is one of the worst things you can do while mixing and I reject a lot of mixes because of this. It is far better to mix completely mono than mix “over wide”. But of course the best way is to mix with a strong mono image with supplementary stereo effects to make it sound nicer, but going crazy with the stereo invariably kills the mix. And in first place, by far the most common one is not getting the kick to sit right in the mix. And that isn’t just a level thing. Over the years I had to deal with a lot of kick problems and find a lot of different solutions, anywhere from EQ to gating to sample triggering. The kick is the most important part of most dance tracks so it has to sound right.
Is there any approach we can do during mixing that would make master EQing come out better? Things we should avoid or things we can push (via brucereyne)
Every track is different and everyone’s mixing tastes are different but some general rules do apply especially to techno or electronic dance music generally, such as: the kick is often the foundation of the track, if any other element of the mix is significantly louder than the kick, or the kick seems quiet, you should probably reconsider or at least be aware that this choice is unusual. HiHats should not be too loud. If you turn the mix up loud and the hats hurt your ears then they are too loud. If you have some kind of sub bass or bass line, this should generally not be louder either in terms of perception or peak level than the kick drum. If it is, the bass might be too loud or your kick might be too quiet. Jungle / Drum and Bass can have exceptions to the kick / bass ratio but techno can rarely have a feeble kick and still sound great.
whats the biggest advantage and disadvantage of a multiband compressor vs a single band compressor as a main "glue" compressor in the master chain. (via gombocrec)
I find the biggest disadvantage of using a multi band compressor on the sum is that it generally will just add huge amounts of mush and transient degradation and significantly decrease the quality of the mix, so I generally will stay away. But the advantage is that it can sometimes save a poor mix where the session has been lost and there aren’t any stems, if there is some weird sound that jumps out etc. Using it as some type of “glue” though is generally a bad idea in my eyes and I see a lot of inexperienced people doing this with bad results. Just because you can get things louder it doesn’t mean it is better. Very rarely is multi band on the sum a desirable thing in professional mastering.
What would be your number one tip for creating a sparkly high end that isn't harsh? Is it simply a case of some choice eq moves? Is a very focused compression band on the high end a good idea? (via Willlockyear)
I think this question is a compositional question disguised as a technical question. Let me explain…. Go and switch on a 909 or equivalent, software or hardware it doesn’t really matter, run your finger across all the steps on the hihat channel and press play and listen loud to the constant 16th note hats. After a very short amount of time it should start to fatigue your ears an insane amount. You might feel your ears “compressing” or just feel like you don’t want to listen to this because it is unpleasant. Now, if you dial in a very loud, long, full, bassy 4/4 kick, the hats will hurt your ears much less because you aren’t just getting blasted in one frequency range. The difference is huge and you haven’t used any EQ, compression or studio tricks, it is simply compositional. Back to mastering…. I will sometimes get a mix where the artist thinks the top end is harsh, then I listen to the mix and it has constant loud hats. Well it is not even about the mastering or mixing process, constant loud hats with no variation are just simply harsh. And it made worse if you have a very short, tight kick and not that much bass going on in the track generally because there is no frequencies from the bass balancing the high frequency assault of the hats. So rather than thinking about reaching for a compressor or EQ, try to change it compositionally by using side chaning on the hats or making the kick fuller or longer, or adding a thicker bassline, or sparsen out the hats a bit. When you have a great sounding mix in terms of composition, then it is much easier to get a great sounding mix technically and much less work is needed in mastering. But if you’ve done all than and are still looking for a super crisp top end, there are some tricks. Either using stuff like shimmery reverbs on your pads etc or try bussing some of the percussion sounds to two busses. A wet bus and a dry bus. On the wet bus you can boost the high frequency EQ a lot into a distortion. Then turn down the wet bus very low in the mix and feed it in until it thickens the highs but doesn’t become obvious.
What are some more creative techniques for gluing a track together besides reverb and compression (i.e. if you want to keep a track as dry as possible)? (via rorykoehler)
You say besides compression…. Well I totally get that it is all too common to slap an expensive compressor across the sum and fool yourself into thinking it sounds better because it is expensive. The more someone pays for a hardware compressor or the more shiny the plugin interface, the more people tend to hear magical “glue” properties. I personally think much of that is nonsense. Simply running everything through a stereo compressor isn’t the solution to sticking your mix together. The solution is crafting a nice mix and more importantly the compositional process itself. But this is exactly where compression comes in. If you aren’t using side chain compression, or using your modular system or Ableton modulation sources to really create dynamics and interplay between sounds then your mix won’t sound glued together because the elements in your tune aren’t vibing together. If you use side chain compression, gate dynamics, VCA and VCF modulation with LFOs and subtle envelopes from loads of triggers, your going to create a huge amount of dynamics as part of the compositional process and this will serve to glue everything together as part of the compositional process. And you will never want more glue as part of the mix because the tune will already vibe. In the mastering process, if a tune needs more glue, I will never run it though a stereo compressor or feed in reverb or whatever tricks other people reckon create glue. Generally I am going to be asking for stems and I will add some dynamics and interplay between the sounds using whatever modulations are appropriate for the tune.
The biggest thing I struggle with is lack of visibility below <50Hz (with my nearfields) and how that impacts my productions. Given the importance of these frequencies in techno it feels like painting with a blindfold. Other than cross referencing with headphones/subpac is there any other advice you could offer? (via MrSkruff)
You just need decent headphones. Don’t try and look at the sound on an FFT. I know some mastering engineers who religiously look at their FFTs to understand what is happening at lower frequencies but this is a total amateur mistake unless they are using very specialist software. This is because each bar on a spectrum analysis chart represents one “bin”. And if you switch to a line graph, you don’t get any more detail, it is still just the same bins but with a line drawn between each. The amount of bins are determined by your window size… it is not uncommon to use 1024 bins across the spectrum analyser. Think about that, only a thousand data points across all audio frequencies. Mostly commonly the accuracy is linear. This means, to cut a long technical story short, you only have a few data points under 50Hz. Maybe you might have only two data points, it depends on the window size. So what are you going to find out with two data points? Basically it tells you almost nothing. It is totally useless. So you might think, OK well then why don’t I ramp up the window size to get more accuracy? You can do that, you could have a window size of a million. The problem is, it will take a million samples of audio playback before you have a reading so you will have an unusably slow spectrum analyser. So there is a huge tradeoff between speed and accuracy. Either the FFT is so slow you can’t use it, or it is so inaccurate that you can’t use it. Either way you can’t use it for low frequencies. So get some decent headphones. If you are on a budget, get some medium price Sony ear buds and you can at least use them to listen to music on the train. If budget, size and weight is less important, grab a pair of Audeze LCD2 - and I’d check out the closed back version too - or other good planar magnetic headphones.
On the mastering chain, do you cut/roll off frequencies below 20hz? On the mastering chain or kick/bass groups, do you mono the low frequencies? For example, I often use the 'Utility' in Ableton to make <100-150hz mono. (via zimoofficial)
In mastering there is nothing that you do just because “you are supposed to always do it this way”. So I do not cut frequencies below 20hz as a routine thing. But if there is a DC offset, which seems to be more common with my house / disco clients as they run their mixes through all sorts of weird and wonderful vintage gear, I will use low shelving or high passing to get rid of unwanted stuff outside of the intended audio band. Narrowing the stereo image in the bass frequencies is something I do a lot of when artists have an unfocused stereo field. There is little benefit to having “wide stereo bass”. You struggle to cut it to vinyl, it leads to unpredictable results in clubs and in my opinion it doesn’t even sound good anyway. I generally try not to have a “sound” as a mastering engineer, other than well balanced and professional, but one thing I will happily accept as a characteristic of any “sound” I might have, would be you don’t get swirly, murky mud bass with my masters. No mud shall pass.
How often are you EQing to correct something in a mix as oppose to EQing just for tone? In regards to EQing for tone- if this is something done often- are there certain frequencies that you adjust/accentuate based on the genre you’re working with or based on an individual song basis? For example- many modern songs have the “smiley face curve” on the analyzer - bumped lows, scooped mids, bumped highs (via brucereyne)
Generally if there is something wrong in the mix, I will request stems or give mix feedback. I will only be very invasive with EQ if the client has lost the original session and it sounds bad and I need to be heavy handed to save a bad mix. The sound I shoot for in terms of tone, I am always looking for a balanced sound. I never EQ with a deliberate smiley curve just because that is “somehow supposed to be good”, because if you do this you lose the power and details of the mids. If you always EQ bright then you lose the warmth of the lows. If you always add lots of bass you lose the clarity of the highs. The only way which I think sounds good is to have a balanced sound. However, if you look at different genres on a spectrum analyser you might notice different kinds of general patterns but the variation is too big between songs in each genre to have that as any useful indicator of the way you should master a track. So stuff like EQ matching is all pretty much just nonsense in my opinion.
Different styles and subgenres have varying tonal and dynamic characteristics. How do you as a mastering engineer account fojudge this in determining whether a submitted track is within parameters of a "good mix"? E.g. Harsh Mentor - Salve is quite different from Tommy Four Seven - Dead Ocean. (via BedsitAudio)
Some mastering engineers do what I call “genre curving” and I used to be guilty of this myself when I first started out with mastering before I really knew what I was doing. When I first started out I was using Izotope Ozone back when it was quite new, I’m pretty sure it was version 3. Anyway you could take “snapshots” of tracks and I took a bunch of snapshots of reference house and techno tracks and figured out that they were very similar how they looked. So I just used to match the curve of the track I was attempting to master, to the reference. And that was it. This is how I started off around about 15 years ago trying to understand how to master stuff but obviously this is not very professional. Sooner or later I realised that if a track had a longer kick drum it would have more bass on the curve than if it had a shorter kick drum, which lead me to reduce the bass too much on the long kick drums and boost the bass too much with the short kick drums and then it would either sound feeble or distort easily, and I wouldn’t get the right volume and it didn’t sound very balanced. So then I felt like I had no more reference point and no benchmark to achieve any consistency….. as my attempt to achieve consistency ironically just ended up making things sound even less consistent! The solution is that you need to listen to a ton of music critically and you slowly develop an ear for what a balanced track sounds like. It’s like trying to ride a bike. At first it seems hard and you don’t really know what you are doing, but once you have developed the feel for it, you are able to do it. But just because you can ride a bike it doesn’t mean you are going to be good enough to ride a halfpipe. For that you need lots and lots of practice and there is absolutely no shortcut. If you try and drop in on a huge halfpipe first time because you have read a book on BMX, then you will just hurt yourself. Same with mastering. There is no technical knowledge or trick you can use, it is all just lots of practise.
What do you believe are the biggest trends in techno production and mastering right now? Where are we heading? (via teegeeteegeeteegee)
Mastering is all over the place in techno because you have a mixture of engineers. People sending their stuff to professional mastering studios and getting a proper job done but also artists trying to do it themselves and ending up with weird results. When working with someone new, they might send me a badly mastered track as a reference and say “I want this loudness” and also send me a professionally mastered track and say “but I want the richness and clarity of this track”. And I have to explain that the loud one is distorting and sounds like someone throwing a bag of spanners down the stairs whereas the professionally mastered one is slightly quieter but actually sounds great. Anyone can make anything sound loud by smashing it through a distortion plugin and boosting the high frequencies but that isn’t the way to make something sound great. The problem is, when DJs play a mixture of unpro mastered tracks with professional tracks, either they have to use the gain knobs (which of course any good DJ would normally do) or the unpro mastered tracks will sound louder. There is a tendency to hear a louder track as sounding better just because it is louder (this is the classic mastering loudness war thing) but the issue in techno is that it is possible to just run an entire track through a distortion unit whereas more other genres you can’t. So there is a practical limit of common sense in most other genres but in techno, especially with the tougher stuff, there is seemingly no need for common sense in certain parts of the scene when people think the clipping and insane distortion sound good. There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with listening to a square wave if that is your thing, but you just cannot expect to get a richer more complex dynamic track to sound equally loud. Most decent artists absolutely understand this though and don’t care about the extra loudness when it comes at the cost of sacrificing everything else
Given that modern techno requires such a cohesive sound, do you recommend producers work with comp/limiting on the master channel pre mastering? Does you have artists that give you looser mixes to allow you to do higher quality comp/limiting in the mastering stage? (via teegeeteegeeteegee)
Most artists I work with use a limiter (or just straight clipping) on the sum while they are composing and mixing the track. You can go as crazy as you want with limiting while working on your music. But the second you send it to be mastered you need to bounce the tracks with the limiter turned off and any compressor or saturation you have on the sum need to definitely be turned off otherwise I will reject the mixes. Sometimes the artist will send a reference with a limiter and it might even be louder than my master. But the artist can pretty much always hear that my master sounds better and more balanced and so I do not try and “beat the loudness” of their demo masters. Everyone I work with values a high quality end result more than a crap result which is extremely loud. And I know this because I refuse to work with artists that only want loud. But sure, when you are composing feel free to use limiting and I actually do recommend working with or at least checking your mix with a loud limiter setting because you can often pick up very quickly on soggy sounding kicks or unreasonably loud bass etc.
Do techno producers these days tend to cut too much low end in their mixes? What tips would you give us for tighter low end that would work in a club setting? (via sonicloophole)
There is not one trend in the mixes I receive. I’d say that over half the mixes are too dull and a very large amount are too bright. It is the vast minority which have perfect tonality. Some significant and increasing portion of the mixes I receive have nonsensical stereo widening and out-of-phase elements. The increase in use of stereo widening plugins is causing issues for people’s ability to mix nicely. The best bet is to uninstall any stereo widening plugins you have. If it sounds “super wide”, it is probably just out of phase and will disappear when played in mono leading to a low quality feeble mix. Always check mono.
What is your all-time favourite techno track production wise (if it's more than one that's also fine ofc). (via Dr_eyebrow)
There are so many tracks out there which just sound perfect in terms of their technical presentation / sound quality. This has been made very easy by artists using pristine quality sample library sounds in their music and the increasingly easy to use DAWs like Ableton. But when I listen to music, especially techno, it’s not the technical presentation which makes a track become one of my favourite, it is the creativity of the track and how it makes me feel. That’s why when I make my own music, I step well outside of the zone of being a mastering engineer and write stuff which doesn’t necessarily have the best sound quality but makes me feel something (like SHARDS - Three - A2). So my taste in techno in terms of my favourite tracks follow the same idea…. So for example I remember when Tommy Four Seven made Armed 3 a decade ago and I heard it in Berghain, that was something new for me and the track stuck with me as being this weird and brilliant anomaly of techno before anyone else was really doing that kind of sound. Or when Szare released Scored, that was a real favourite of mine at the time, whether you can call that strictly techno or not. Like stuff which you can’t work out if it is pretending to be techno but really isn’t or if it is actually techno but is just an anomaly. Who is to say? Ancient methods - Drop Out was the coolest thing when I first heard that. SØS Gunver Ryberg makes some crazy material. SNTS and Headless Horseman make some of my favourite dark rolling tracks. Maybe I’m just influenced by the fact that I’ve worked with those artists but I will often hear one track somewhere and immediately fall in love with the creativity amid a cloud of good sounding average tracks. Making your track sound good in a technical way is important, but the creativity to make something which breaks the mould is much cooler.
What techno genre is hardest to master? Industrial techno has harsh transients, melodic techno has a larger dynamic range, etc. (via dangayle)
To me everything is the same difficulty to master in terms of subgenres. It isn’t really the style of music it is the specific track which might be difficult and it generally has more to do with the person who composed and mixed the track. A pro melodic techno producer will submit an equally good quality mix to a pro industrial sounding producer. It is generally the inexperienced producer which create more of a challenge.
Is it easieharder to master tracks that were created fully in the box vs tracks that come from modular or other live performances? (via dangayle)
Not really, it really depends on the material. Actually modular setups can sometimes create weird frequencies and be harder to manage than purely digital in the box sourced sounds. Also you can get a higher noise floor with modular gear to the point of it being really problematic. Despite this I am a huge fan of eurorack.
What is the best book on mixing and mastering? Old or new. Analog and digital. Thank you. (via MILOFUZZ1)
Books don't teach you how to mix, an internship in a decent studio does. I've done a bunch of unpaid internships in my time and by the time I joined Calyx Mastering in 2014 I thought I was pretty good, up to that point I had been earning a living from Mastering for around 6 years and out of the many applicants and after their very difficult job application mastering test, I was the one that got the job. Then the first day I started working there I had my ego deflated and suddenly felt like a complete amateur with the super high quality expectations there. By that time I already knew all the theoretical stuff you'd read in a book - it was the experience of working in a team of elite engineers which taught me the biggest lessons, not the theoretical stuff.
How do you feel about using the following on the master buss: Saturation, Stereo widening, Mono-izing low frequencies, Low cuts between 10-50 Hz, Hight cuts between 15-20+ kHz, Using AD style clipper at the end, Multiband or standard compression for glu, (via fukinay)
Saturation: generally a bad idea unless it is in parallel Stereo widening: disaster, don’t do this Mono bass: generally a good idea Low cuts: generally not necessary unless you have a DC offset or problematic stuff High cuts: not generally necessary unless you have TV frequencies Clipping: bad idea Multiband compressor: bad idea Stereo compressor: generally a bad idea unless in parallel
In a untreated room, while using sonarworks or ik multimedia Arc2, how accurate can the mix and mastering be? (via Sonictrade)
Speaker correction does just that, it corrects the speakers. It doesn’t correct the room. Stuff which claims that it is room correction is generally a gimmick. This is because a poorly treated bad sounding room has problems in both the frequency domain and more importantly time domain. So you set your mic up to measure the response at your listening position and you do the sweeps and come up with a correction curve. Great, you have corrected the frequency response if you head is exactly where the mic was. Move a bit to the left or right, or back or forwards and you lose the sweet spot. Now sitting in the new position you might have a worse (deeper valley or higher peak) than you had with the room correction turned off because you may have moved out of a high pressure standing wave into low pressure in respect to those frequencies. So where you sit is very important in determining whether you are going to get the “flat” frequency response or a completely messed up one. In practise, if you stay generally in the right position the frequency response might possibly be good enough to work with but then you have a whole new problem which can be even worse than having an uneven frequency response… that is the problem of resonances. Especially in the lower and lower mid frequencies. This makes certain notes sound longer than they are. If you have a resonance around 50-60Hz you will always have a completely inaccurate understanding of how your kick sounds and when you play your mix elsewhere it is possible that your kick sounds very short and feeble whereas it sounded huge and beefy in your studio room. This is why speaker correction solutions should be seen as supplements to room treatment and second in line, not first in line. Getting some bass traps and basic acoustic treatment doesn’t cost huge amounts… if you have a modular system you can probably afford to treat your room. But if you are on a budget it is very easy to make DIY solutions using rockwool based DIY traps. Just make sure to use a mask and a very thin layer of plastic under the fabric to keep the fibres from escaping through the fabric and being breathed in.
Kind of curious the theory behind why one of my mixes that hits at -8 LUFS sounding softer than another mix at roughly the same LUFS. Is there an element in my mix that is hitting harder, say my kick, that is louder in one and taking up more of my headroom? (via Dudemanbro88)
LUFS is not an accurate determiner of loudness despite the fact that it was designed specifically to do just that and everyone now seems to think it is a more accurate determiner of loudness than their own ears. It is actually quite difficult to create a calculated number to say how loud humans will perceive sound. Traditionally everyone has used RMS but it is well know that RMS is very bass influenced. That is, if you have a very bassy recording and a very trebbly recording and then normalised them to the same RMS value, the bassy recording would sound much quieter. So the broadcast industry experts came up with a solution using the K weighting system to deemphasise the influence of bass frequencies on the meter readings. And this is what LUFS is. It isn’t a perfect system and it doesn’t even come close to resembling Fletcher Munson curves. I personally don’t care all that much about LUFS. It is useful in broadcast standards but not so useful in mastering for club music, at least not yet.
Any tips to avoid the dreaded "mud" when trying to put together an extremely bass heavy track? I really seem to like tracks that have a lot going on around that 40hz mark, but its a very hard area to monitor and mix properly! (via NothingSuss1)
40Hz is a bit too low to reproduce well on many club systems. People think that club systems are big and powerful and can rumble strongly at any frequency they throw at it. The truth is, while club PA systems are generally very big and powerful, it takes a crazy amount of power and also good room acoustics to successfully reproduce frequencies in the 30-40Hz range with visceral loudness and low distortion. If you test drive your tracks regularly in clubs you will see that staying closer to the 50Hz - 65Hz range for kick frequencies is often a safer bet. You need to turn those very low frequencies up loudly in your mix to get them to cut through and then you end up with mud. So it is less of a mix thing and more of a compositional thing to create a mix with low amounts of mud. Or you could also celebrate the mud. Maybe listen to some Sunn 0))).
What is your opinion whether mastering process should influence how well and pleasant the music sounds, or only and exclusively affect the loudness and conformance to standards? (via fourthtuna)
I generally work with the artist to achieve the best possible sound, whatever that takes, but I will not intervene in the creative / compositional process. If you think that it is maybe sort of unfair that some people get external help in making their tracks sound better, then I’d say that, although having a professional mix and mastering job is very beneficial, if the actual tune isn’t good in terms of artistry, then no amount of mastering is going to make it a decent track.
Is analog mastering better than digital? (via Caen83)
Today there is no such thing as analogue mastering. There is mastering exclusively with hardware…. In which case you might use a hardware limiter such as the Waves L2 but this is digital not analogue. Then you have to convert it back to digital at some point if you want to release the music digitally anyway. If you take analogue mastering to mean analogue EQ and compression, then what happens if you don’t need to use compression? Then all you mean by analogue mastering is analogue EQ. In which case, is analogue EQ better than digital? I’d say not necessarily. I do use analogue EQ but I don’t know of any analogue EQ that can be used as a ganged stereo dynamic EQ. So limiting yourself to using only analogue EQ would be a huge downgrade. In short, in modern times, analogue mastering (whatever that is taken to mean) is generally worse in my opinion than a hybrid or fully digital approach.
With plug-ins becoming more and more powerful, Acustica emulating high end tube EQs, and even Softube with the 1:1 Weiss EQ and Compressor, do you think mastering will ever change from analog to hybrid, with just converters and plug-ins? (via secus_official)
It already changed years ago. Very few people do 100% analogue mastering because the limiters are pretty much always going to be digital and the end format is pretty much always digital too. You only generally get all-analogue mastering for speciality projects, like recording to tape and then mastering from tape to vinyl with no digital gear. So in this sense, the whole mastering industry had already gone hybrid many years ago. In 2020 I’d hazard a guess at saying that there are more digital mastering engineers than there are people using analogue EQ. The Weiss gear by the way is, and always was, digital. If what you mean is not analogue but “hardware”. Well I don’t really know how meaningful that is. If you have the L2 or the Weiss stuff running in a box in a rack or on your computer if it is the same code processing the digital signal. In fact many engineers sold their hardware L2s because the newer plugins sounded better.
What are some of your favourite tracks you mastered and can you tell what exactly you like hearing in them and mastering them. (via arneleadk)
Tommy Four Seven’s album Veer was an especially cool album to master. To me that album is an obvious landmark in modern techno. Because of the complexity of the production and the massive amount of layers and detail Tommy likes to use in his tracks it was a big challenge to get sounding as weighty as it needed to be whilst preserving all of the details, clearing some of the mud caused by the complexity in the low end, getting the optimal stereo image to sound wide and full but at the same time be very mono compatible. It had to be loud yet dynamic and hard hitting but graceful in the detail of the sounds. It had to do everything all at once which is the most difficult thing possible in mastering because mastering is normally a balancing act.
What is the difference between tracks you get from seasoned professionals (Paula Temple, T47) vs those you get from new producers? (via dangayle)
Generally the quality of the mixes are instantly recognisable and they don’t make common errors like having the hihats far too loud in the mix etc. Also they know what works in a club and what will cut through on the sound systems and they won’t compose tracks with sounds which don’t translate well in those environments. Beyond the music itself you can generally tell someone who is a pro by the lack of concern for control over the mastering process. When I get a track from one of my long term record labels or artists, a wetransfer email will turn up in my inbox with no note. I master whatever it is and send the masters back and invoice them. They pay the invoice within a week and that is the end of the process, no revisions. With new producers, the same kind of job will take 20 emails and maybe a revision or two after I have requested stems and given mix feedback.
From a mastering engineer's perspective, should producers have their tracks mastered before shopping them to labels, or should they leave that up to the label itself? (via dangayle)
Generally labels like to get their stuff mastered by their own preferred mastering guy and they could even suggest changes to the tracks before they signed them. So there is a reasonably high chance that you will not actually release the masters you pay to get done, and they will need to be redone. However, the question is whether having the tracks mastered so they sound their best, might actually have gotten the attention of the label… maybe if it had not been mastered and sounded a bit more rough, the label may have overlooked it. I would generally advise mastering your stuff if you are confident with the tracks and have the budget as it could be the edge which gets you the deal.
Do you master your own productions as Shards/These Hidden Hands, or are you too close to the music to be objective? (via dangayle)
I have mastered every Shards and THH record. Objectivity comes with time away from listening to the music. You cannot make a track and master it the same evening but you can make an album, have a two week holiday and come back and master it with an increased amount of objectivity, not optimal amounts but enough to do a pretty good job if you can focus. Generally the test is, listen back in a year and if you think “oh shit” then you should probably ask another engineer next time. But with Shards and THH I still think I did a good job looking back, in fact I use one of my Shards tracks as a calibration / reference track and I think that our second THH album, Vicarious Memories, is one of the best album masters I’ve done and I use the track The Telepath as one of my most important references for testing new monitors and headphones. It seems to work for me but some other mastering engineers insist on having other people masters their own music. I guess it would be interesting to get another engineer to master the next THH record and then compare it with my own master to see if my objectivity really is impeded… but then again, last time I did that with a Shards track which came out on another label, I had to end up submitting my own master because I hated the master their engineer came up with.
submitted by dangayle to TechnoProduction [link] [comments]

[PART 1/5] 50+ things I have tried out to improve my channel , now getting over 3000 views and 10k watch time per day [12 month analysis conclusion]

Hello everyone, I have been a part of NewTubers from almost a year now, and in that time I have picked up a lot of knowledge and ideas from here. These next five posts (this is part 1.) are going to be my new contribution to this community, and a way to give back some tried and tested tips, tricks and ideas about improving your channels.
This is going to be a very long post, and in five parts, so please take your time in reading it, save it for later and try to process it part by part so you can get the most use out of it.
This is my third post on this subject, with the previous two written at the 6th and 9th month of my year long journey of giving my channel my best try at success. I will post the links to those posts as I get to their appropriate place here.
The 50+ tips, tricks and ideas that you are going to read about here are not all mine, but I have tested them all in the last 12 months thoroughly. Some I found here, and other places online, some I saw in other creators videos and some I came up by myself, often while siting in the toilet.
I kid you not, some of the best ideas I have had in my life popped into my head in that little room. It must have something to do with leaving the worries of life at the door and just thinking freely about the nature of life. I bet there are science papers written about that strange effect of the toilet. But let's get back to the main point of this post.
To give you some context about my channel and the data I will be presenting:
  1. I am not a native English speaker, but all my videos are in English, viewers rate my accent 4/5
  2. I started back in 2011. but had numerous off times, lasting from a month to a year, last one being over a year long
  3. For the last 12 months I have made 200+ videos(one every 1.8 days)
  4. I have spent an average of 4 hours per day somehow working on my channel, my skills and understanding of my audience and YouTube's rules
  5. I have a gaming channel with the emphasis on tutorials, how to videos and guides. Add to that let's plays, previews and first look videos of new Indie games, performance benchmarks, and some gameplay/montage videos with minimal or no comments
  6. At the moment of writing this post I have 2,827 subscribers and 660+ videos
  7. My channel has been monetized since 11.05.2019.
Analytics for the last 28 days say:
I think that about covers it? If you have some other metric you would like to know, feel free to ask
Three months ago I wrote this post about my progress:
Best channel and video practices/tips, update from 3 months ago. For the first time my channel is getting +100 subs a month, and for the second time 100k minutes watched.
Back then the 28 days analytics look like this:
While 6 months ago, I wrote:
31 things I tried out to improve my channel, getting 75% more views, 300% more likes and 450% more subs [6 month analysis conclusion]
Back then the 28 days analytics look like this:
Now I will write down all the things I have tried in the last 12 months and I will talk about each one and it's effectiveness, and the ultimate results of it, for my channel, that I could see and analyze. This first part will explain 1-10.
This is a list of what I have tried out, bellow is a list with the explanations:
  1. Changed my thumbnail design
  2. Redid thumbnails for many of my old, but active videos, according to the new design
  3. Redid titles and tags and added very long descriptions to old videos, same as new videos
  4. Analyzed tags of videos which are on the same subject as mine but have more views
  5. Made many playlists, some videos ended up in as many as three playlists
  6. Paid a friend, professional designer, to create my new channel banner and logo
  7. I now try to show off the best parts of the video in the first 30 seconds
  8. Added a call to action, visual and voice over to almost every new video and picture of my channel logo
  9. Used the analytics to tailor my video release times to when most viewers where online (now YouTube analytics shows that data)
  10. Made new, updated versions of my already popular videos
  11. Collaborate with other content creators in form of script editing, idea sharing, video ideas brainstorming etc. [part 2. ]
  12. Started to record audio to separate files from video so I could edit only the audio
  13. Learned to use a more advanced video editor program, now I use more options
  14. Got a better microphone, but still dirt cheap, and added a sock onto it
  15. It was a really hard but I got the filler sounds "umm" and "err" out of my speech
  16. Used Google doc to be able to write scrips where ever I go and on the move
  17. Started to use the community page on my channel to let subscribers vote and to remind them of an already posted video
  18. Analyzed each of my most successful videos and took their framework to make new videos
  19. Created my own rules what to make and what not to make based on what worked in the past
  20. Set up a default END for every video with a black screen and a thank you/like/sub note
  21. Did my best to mention another of my videos in each new video and interconnect them
  22. Answered to comments with a welcome to my channel even if I saw that the person didn't subscribe [part 3. ]
  23. Answered 99% of viewers comments
  24. Created my own schedule, but not made it public
  25. Made 4 videos a week, then cut down to 3 a week
  26. Added a subscribe icon of my channel to the end screen, along with next video card, best for viewer card and a playlist card
  27. Added 3-5 video cards during each video
  28. Added my own comment on every new video and pined it to engage the viewers
  29. Added my channel logo as a watermark in my videos
  30. Asked for viewers submissions to feature them on my channel
  31. Engaged my viewers in multiple ways during a video
  32. Had an intro, removed it, made a new intro, removed that one too
  33. Started a blog on games and gaming industry in general and linked my YouTube videos to it [ part 4. ]
  34. Turned my blog posts into scripts for videos
  35. Posted comments on other channels, with videos which are similar to my own
  36. Created multiple giveaways
  37. Join a number of subreddits both valuable vaults of knowledge and information, like this one
  38. Join a number of subreddits simply explained as "get more views" spam anthills
  39. Made a Facebook group for my channel
  40. Posted my videos on specific subreddits
  41. Posted my videos on my Twitter account
  42. Posted my videos in specific Facebook groups
  43. Posted my videos in specific Discord channels
  44. Posted my videos on specific forums and threads
  45. Posted screenshots or thumbnails on Imgur and Pinterest, + links to video when possible
  46. Posed on Steam client, game specific discussions
  47. Created game guides on Steam client, written long text into which I add screenshots and links to my videos [part 5. ]
  48. Linked my videos to Steam game pages, asked my friends to like them so they would be placed at the top of the Most popular (week) page (which is the default page)
  49. Reposted my most successful and my best made but not successful videos on weekends and during specific events to all social media
  50. Read forums, discussions, subreddits, discord chat and other places where people ask about problems in games so I could get ideas for videos and link my own videos as answers
  51. Started making video lists of new games upcoming in 2020 and beyond
  52. Writing directly to Indie developers and getting in touch with them about getting press keys for games, interviews, news
  53. Joined programs to get free Indie and small studio's games, before or at release times, payed for AAA from my pocket
  54. Used Tubebuddy free version, and the most expensive version in the trial period to analyze my channel and videos
  55. Used free version of VidIQ to do the same things as with Tubebuddy
All right, time to go into more details, and see what benefits these 55 things had for my channel:
  1. The new thumbnail design.
I took making these far more seriously, installed GIMP (software) and learned many options by trial and error + guides).
Thumbnail design is something that keeps evolving but a few things have proven, over the course of two hundred videos, to be universal in increasing CTR:
a) 2-3 words max
b) text taking up 30% of thumbnail so it can be easily red on the mobile phone (you can test this by simply zooming out to 1/16 of your screen when making it in your software).
c) high contrast between the color of the letters and the background. Heavy use of shadow or second layer of black/white letters behind the original text offset by a few pixels.
d) every part of the thumbnail must be different size, if you have logo/text/character(face) set sizes to at least 50% difference, for example 1:2:3.
f) use large single objects as the main thumbnail picture, anything that has too much detail, and is made up of many tiny sections is hard to see and understand, especially on small screens
g) place your own channels logo on the thumbnail so that your content becomes recognizable. Especially if you make a lot of similar content. Because if at an end of a video, a viewer get's recommended 12 thumbnails and your logo is on 4,5,6 of them, you look to be the leader on that subject. People respect that and see you as an authority on that subject.
When I compare my most viewed videos, which gain most views from search hits, I can clearly see that now I have 12% CTR compared to the ~7% on the old videos, and these are both tutorial videos, so same type just different game. Here is a link to some of my latest thumbnails:
  1. This leads us directly to my second point, redoing thumbnails for many of my old, but active videos, using the new design.
I did this for dozens of videos, and EACH saw improvement in CTR. Some +1% others double the old CTR. Another great benefit of the higher CTR on older videos is that they already have many views, good watch time and with the improved CTR they get suggested more, to the right audience, and that improves the CTR even more which then gets your more watch time and views and so on, you get the loop. This is a great way to get a steady improvement on a good video and keep getting views. If you have many old videos, it's hard work, but it pays off.
  1. Another thing I changed is how I write titles, description and tags.
Here is an example of my older videos:
Title: Elder Scrolls Legends Introduction by Perafilozof.
Description: "A short introductory video about TES Legends by me with some details about more videos in the future".
Tags: Elder Scrolls, Elder Scrolls Legends, introduction, perafilozof, gameplay, short, game, cards, drops, type, release, new, beta, explain, 1080p.
The video is from 9th of March 2017. to this day it has 71 views. Dead for years. It's painfully obvious in retrospective that I didn't know anything about Titles, Descriptions, Tags, SEO...
Now let's look at another video. Compared to TES Legends this game is obscure, it's an Indie game with low polygon graphics that has tens of thousands of times fewer players then the previous one.
Title: How to play Legend of Keepers: Career of a Dungeon Master guide and monster tutorial | Indie game
Description: ... well it's so long that it's pointless to copy paste all 3998 characters in here. But these are it's parts: a) 40 word explanation of what is the video about and what will the viewer learn from it b) 30 word explanation of the game's content c) Links to 3 of my previous videos, about this game or similar games, which I mentioned to the viewer during this video d) a playlist of my other videos of this type and another playlist of similar content f) follow me on Twitter + link, Join my Facebook group + link g) another 400 worlds about the game and it's features, content, lore, characters h) hashtags specific to this game #LegendOfKeepers#Dungeons#roguelite
Tags: Legend of Keepers 10+ times, but ends differently every time. Example: Legend of Keepers how to play, Legend of Keepers tutorial, Legend of Keepers monster characters. With a few different tags like: Roguelite PC game, New Indie dungeons game ...
This video was posted on March 19th 2020. and it now has 813 views, last 28 days 60% of views are from YouTube Search, 31% from External, with ~70% of that from Google search + 10% YouTube. Less then 9% is from ALL other sources combined.
Now, these two are examples of using a very broad word in the title: "Introduction" and "How to play". If I want to get more views, title has to be more specific, but also about something a lot of people search for.
Here is how that looks like in another video:
Title: Not enough Goods, Buyers 2019. | How to fix and prevent tutorial for Cities: Skylines | Guide #2. This is a popular game but not exactly AAA, from 2015. It has a massive number of players around the world. Rough estimate 15+ million.
Description: very similar to the previous video, but a large part of the description is my actual script which I used to talk in the video.
Tags: again, similar to the previous video: Cities: Skylines 10+ times over with variations: Cities: Skylines Not enough goods, Cities: Skylines industry problem, Cities: Skylines not enough buyers...
This video was posted on Jun 16th 2019. and it now has ~48k views. Last 28 days 44% of views are from YouTube Search and External 45% with ~38% of that from Google search and 61% from Other ( I am guessing this is from Steam community guides, where this video is linked to a massive text guide. More on this in one of the later points.) 4.4% suggested, 2.3% browse features.
I know this was a really long example but I think it's quite clear to you now what makes a video searchable and how they must be presented to YouTube with titles, description and tags for them to be shown as search results and get hits. The more popular the game the more specific you have to be with the content you are presenting to the viewer and data you impute into YouTube. I will talk about how to find subjects for videos with high potential views in a later point.
  1. Analyzed tags of videos which are on the same subject as mine but have more views.
This one can be done using the free version of VidIQ or Tubebuddy. Find a video of yours that you think is one of your best ones, and which has search potential. Search YouTube (using an incognito mode of a web browser, so you preferences are not used for the search) and find videos which have more views then yours but are on the same subject. Read their tags. Compare to your videos tags and change yours to be more inline with the tags, tittle and description of the video what has most views on that subject.
What this achieves is that you are making your video more obvious to the YouTube's algorithm as an answer to that specific subject people search for and ask YouTube. The algorithm does it's best to match users question, or a whole group of similar questions, to a video in it's database. Once one video becomes a go to answer for a question it's really hard to dislodge it. But what you can do is get your video closer to it, and to the question itself, by letting YouTube know, through tags (and even description and title) that your video is a good match as an answer.
Important note here: DON'T look at tags from videos made by the most successful Channels which don't match the question with it's title or tags. This is because those channels get massive views just by having massive base, startup views, from subscribers and people linking their videos all over the internet. That is why those creators don't bother with correct titles, tags or descriptions.
They get their first mass views from faithful audiences and then the algorithm boosts them on the basis of "It has lot's of views already". The thing is that you will rarely see these videos as search results, because they have horrible tags and titles but you will see them ALL the time in the suggestions box and page and other places the algorithm recommends them.
In conclusion, when your are "small" you have to do all the hard to work for your videos to get noticed. When your are "big" YouTube does the work for you.
  1. Made many playlists, some videos ended up in as many as three playlists.
This one should be known to you by now. Playlists can create good amounts of extra views. BUT! each playlist has to have a hook, a video that makes it worth watching, starting to watch at least. For example, my playlist with videos of previews of new games gets almost no traffic. Because each video is about something different, a different game even though they are all the same genre.
But, a playlist of tutorials about many games of a single game franchise gets views all the times. Why? Because people play more then one game in a franchise. They find my tutorials playlist, searching for one game in that franchise, then they decide to take a look at the other games in that franchise and since they are already there on my playlist they can do that right there and on the plus side learn how to play it at the same time.
And, of course, playlists made up of numerous tutorials about the same game get even more views. What is interesting is that you can make custom playlists that are a mix of tutorials and Let's plays.
So for example, you play a game, show it off, and then the next video is a how to start tutorial before the second episode. Then after the 3rd episode you set up a video that is a tutorial about some aspect of the game that you had a hard time in episode 3. I get over 1000 playlist views a month and 2200+ video views in playlists a month with about 6%(12+k minutes) of total watch time being from playlists.
  1. Paid a friend, professional designer, to create my new channel banner and logo.
My previous 3 banners and logos where my own creations and very poor in quality. A few months ago I gave my friend some direction, a basic idea of what I want for a logo and banner and he came up with this amazing new logo made up of two elements I chose. The banner is beautiful but I have come to a realization that I might have limited it's looks by being to specific so I will change that a bit.
Good thing my designer is my friend, so I won't have to pay for the update. But it's a good lesson. Leave your banner design as open as possible so you can do more different content and the banner will still represent you fully.
My personal suggestion is that even if you do rebrand try to keep at least a bit of the old design and incorporate it somehow into the new one so that you can trace your origins and keep that feel of constantly evolving, improving rather then just burning down everything and starting from scratch each time. This way you won't alienate your current subscribers as much when you rebrand or update your banner and logo design.
  1. I now try to show off the best parts of the video in the first 30 seconds.
This is an advice you should be very familiar with and you will have probably noticed it in other peoples videos. It's simple and it works! A big problem with audience attention is that you can get a big drop off after the first 1-15 seconds if you don't show and tell to the viewer why they should keep watching. This is especially true if you are making searchable videos.
Example : I want to know about the new Intel processor. I search in Google or YouTube. Chose a video and click on it. Then the person talking starts like this:
*"Hello Youtube(guys, etc.) welcome to ... where you can get all the latest about... don't forget I do streams on... I want to say thank you to... my dreams have come true and this new Intel Processor is so powerful and I will show of to you right after... "*
And I just clicked off. Some of you probably clicked off at "don't forget I do streams on". Or you jumped 2 minutes in but you jumped over something and now you are out of context, and now you would have to go back 20 seconds... and that is a mess.
What the person in the above example should have done is this:
"Hello and welcome to my dream come true where I use the new most powerful Intel Processor to date. With X many Ghz and Y cores which gives it an amazing score of Z in this benchmark and 300 fps in this X game. Let's see what gives it some much power..."
And then later once you have captured your audiences attention can you talk about other things like who is your sponsor, when you do live streams, what other videos you made and so on. On my own videos I can see incredibly clearly what was my voice over AND video intro just by the viewer attention analytics.
A big drop off after 1st second? I had a channel intro in that video. A large drip in viewer attention post 5th second? I was saying hello and some other things not related to the content of the video. Now I open with something along the lines of :
"Hello and welcome to my Y tutorial on X game. Here you will learn about Y, Z and X. This video should help you do X faster and get you set up in Y much better so you can Z."
Along with the voice over you have to have video clips, you best parts to show off in the first 20-30 seconds. My latest videos no longer have those huge dips in viewer attention after the first few seconds because there is noting to skip.
A note here is that you can have large dips in the first few seconds for other reasons as well. Clickbate thumbnail and title, posting/promoting your video on places where many will click but most will not be interested or problems with audio quality.
  1. Added a call to action, visual and voice over to almost every new video and picture of my channel logo.
Calls to action at it's core is nothing else then: "Please subscribe, like and comment my video" to put it simply. Why do you NEED to do this? Because people are generally lethargic (sluggish and apathetic) when watching something on their screen. Even if they like your content there is a high chance they will not bother to like, leave a comment or subscribe. Three things every new channel desperately needs.
You can do a call to action with a voice over and with extra visual effects, pictures etc. Some add their logo to the video at that moment. It sounds simple enough but doing this right is everything but simple. I stared to do this a while back, but I did a lot of experimenting. Different places in the video. Different sentences and visual effects.
There are a few things that I could call obvious about this after experimentation and analysis :
a) People don't like it done right at the start, at least not before you have explain what they will see, hear or learn in the video
b) people don't like it long or if it detracts from watching the video, the more seamless it is the better it will go over with the viewer
c) doing it at the end of a video will not get you positive results. Very few people watch videos to the end and very few videos are worth watching to the end.
d) The optimal placement of a call to action is right before or right after you pass on, give, the most important information that your video has, to your viewer. Before in the event your main point is at the end of the video and later if it is at the middle. This is because you want the Call to action to be seen and heard and these two are the places where the people who are watching your video will be most interested and at the peek of their good will towards you as the creator. I would advice NOT having this in every video and NOT having it at the exact same place(minute/second) every time.
  1. Used the analytics to tailor my video release times to when most viewers where online (now YouTube analytics shows that data).
This one is really easy and simple, and YouTube made it even easier now with the additional analytics table showing this data. My viewers are 30+% from the US. Another 15% from other English speaking counties. And 90+% of them are 18-44 years old. This makes their ON time a bit wide but I aim to release a video a few hours BEFORE the time they are going back home from work/school or have already arrived there.
For me, where I live, in my time zone, that time is at 14:00h, and I expect them to watch it between 17h-23h. And the cool thing? I was right on target. When YouTube rolled out their addition to the analytics, which shows you when your viewers are online my viewers are mostly online from 12PM-12AM with the highest numbers between 16h-21h.
This is something that can really help you post videos on the time of the day that has the highest number of people available to watch your video. The more views you get in that time the more likely it is that your video will do even better in the long run.
  1. Made new, updated versions of my already popular videos.
This one is a really important one. I have a few videos that are popular on my channel and as I started to work on my channel more seriously I took at look at them and analyzed them. I also went online to see if the subjects of these video is still active online on forums, Reddit, facebook and so on.
So, I picked one of my most successful, oldest and most active videos. It was about a single game and about a single game mechanic that was really hard to understand and which created problems if you didn't know how to play with it properly. In essence, very specific, and something people would actively search for during many years. I watched my old video, played the game some more and tried to do an even better video.
The old one was named: Let's Talk Not enough Goods, Buyers, Products and Materials in Cities: Skylines. It was part of a series of videos, all named: Let's Talk... then some specific gameplay mechanic. The description was 2 sentences and tags where horrible. It was getting about 40 views a day in 2019., and it's views had been constantly increasing since 2015.(it was getting 1-5 a day back then) when it was released. It had ~26k views in jun 2019.
So, I made a new video on this subject and named it: Not enough Goods, Buyers 2019. | How to fix and prevent tutorial for Cities: Skylines | Guide #2. I added 2015. at the end of the name of the old video. This video had a huge description, half of it from my script from the video. It had good tags at first, then much better ones as I continuously analyzed the traffic tab of the analytics and changed tags to be more inline with how the search was hiring it.
Thumbnail wasn't, and still isn't perfect, but it is simple and to the point. A few too many words for my linking, but the subject of the video is complex so there was no helping it. I promoted this video in a few places where people will have the most use out if. It started with 40 views per day and "stole" 50% of views from the older video.
The views grew constantly, each month 20% more then last month. After 4 months even the old video on the same subject started to get more views. And then... I doubled down. I made a 3rd video about this subject, but 3 times shorter, and much more to the point and mostly only about a single solution of the problem. That one grew even faster, 30% each month.
And all three videos where getting more views now. It's name was: How to fix not enough Goods | Policies Solution tutorial Cities: Skylines Guide #3. Today, the oldest video has 44k views, 150 a day, second one, 48k views, 600 a day, third one 21k views, 360 a day. To be honest, it's a dirty tactic, but it works like a charm.
As I was writing these explanations I realized just how long they where, so writing all 50+ in one post seamed like a bad idea for multiple reasons. This is why I have decided to post this first part, which contains all the introduction about this post, all 50+ things I have tried over the last year and explanation to the first 10.
I will try and post at least one part of this post each week. And I will interconnect them all with links to each other.
Thank you for reading, feel free to comment and ask. Do remember that this is all from my experience, and even if my writing style seams like I am telling you what YOU should do, it's only what my advice, from my experience, for you would be. You don't have to use it, you don't even have to agree with it. And if you don't agree with it, I would love to read why, it will help others to hear more opinions and experiences.
Have a nice day!
submitted by spector111 to NewTubers [link] [comments]

Emails/Phone calls and Customers of the Week 6/11/2020 OR u/pestilence (the only good mod) loses $1 to me

I know you all have been looking forward to this day! Lets get started with some emails!
Subject: Ruger SR1911
Message: Hi. Are you a FFL/store front or private seller? Thanks
FC: I think ATF would have an objection to a guy with a website, business cards and 800 guns for sale without an FFL
Would agree. I have to admit I did t even read the website. There is a gentleman on another site that has business cards in his posts to support a political campaign/candidate so I guess I just assumed and you know what they say.
Subject: Nighthawk GRP Recon
Message: Hey do you have a tracking number for my purchase?
FC: Don't send out tracking anymore due to diversion.
FC: People intercept packages at the post office and the dealer never gets them.
Wow! 10-4...can you let me know when you get delivery confirmation?
FC: Sure. Should be at Rob Blank's place in Milpitas on Tuesday.
Subject: Glocks
Message: Hi, Do you have any Glock 23 or 27 available to ship to California? How much does it cost with shipping?
FC: Right now, all stock is tight. Any preference on new versus used? I have no new 23's or 27's. I could scrounge and get you some used guns but prices are top dollar and them sone right now. Do you have a target budget in mind and an FFL that can get your paperwork done?
Thanks for your quick reply. I would prefer a new one please.
FC: I can get you a new one, would take some effort and some scrounging but it's doable. What's your budget?
I have about 600 or so, and I live in Monterey California. I have to check with the local gun shop about receiving the shipment for me. Does your price include shipping or can you please explain to me your fees and other cost? I am assuming you are going to be looking for a California approved gen 3 version.
FC: Well, the gen 3 is the only thing the dealer can transfer to you. If you want, I can get you a gen 4, ship it there and it just sits there until it becomes legal but that's not really a great option. What's your window on delivery? Both those guns are going to be tough to get.
This option seems just too much of a hassle. Thanks for your quick reply and consideration. I think it is time for me to consider other guns to add to my CCW.
Subject: Glock 26
Message: Hello do you still have a Glock 26 gen 5 in stock? I’m in Oregon would need it shipped to an ffl out here
FC: Sure do! Get me an FFL and I'll get it sent!
(No response back)
Subject: (no subject)
Message:Hey, do you still have the Noveske Light Recce for sale?
FC: Sure do. Would you like it?
Would you consider a trade? I have a Barrett m107a1 in Fde. It has the 29” barrel. Willing to work out a deal.
FC: Sure. I trade when I can make money.
Can you add some guns in?
FC: I have 900 guns in stock right now. Can you be more specific?
I’m looking mostly for the m82+cash. I prefer it to my m107. But outside of that Noveske Light Recce, LWRC pistons or di Ar10 in Pof, DD, HK and KAC Saw 249 .338 lapua rifles Mp5s Stuff like that.
FC: I mean I could do anything there but there’s lots of variation. You’d be best served doing a cash deal with me but I’m going to make money on both ways.
Could you do the N4 plus cash?
FC: Sure but I'd need to see what you have and know how much cash. Keep in mind, I can buy lots of things wholesale with terms though
FC: Okay. So what value do you put on it for trade?
Paid 11k but trade value at 10k
FC: I can buy that new on 30 day terms for the same price as your used gun.
Subject: Glock 19
Message: hey is the glock still available?
FC: Sure is. How many do you want?
Just one please
FC: I can get it done. Picking up?
I can pick it up. Where are you located? I'm coming from North Louisiana.
FC: Baton Rouge. Background checks are 9 hours behind today though.
Hmmm. Only obstacle is I just moved to LA. I dont have a state ID yet. I have new york id, and I'm a disabled veteran. Just got here a week ago. Been trying to get a carry piece b4 theu shut down sales entirely
FC: Well, get an ID with your residency and we'll figure it out.
I got a lease, so that would work
FC: Leases don't work.
But the lease proves my residency.
FC: Not to ATF.
I'll try to get a fishing license 2moro then.
Subject: Knights Armament SR15
Message: Interested in the LPR Mod 2 if you have one.
FC: Sold out, I can order you one though.
Hi Will, My local gun store said they would put me on a list but I’m not confident since they are so busy. They said I’d probably have to wait till KAC makes more guns. If you come across a LPR Mod 2 please let me know.
FC: The only way I’d get one of those is if I scrounge one up from my dealer buddies and that gun is going to be a tough one. All my KAC guns sold for top dollar two months ago going into Coronagunrun.
(three days go by)
Will, What do you think of this deal? I found this LPR Mod 2 on armslist.
All the black rifle builders are backed up just like every other black rifle builders. I got $2750 out of all mine when I had them. It's easy for me to spend someone else's money, but I'm not sure what you're asking of me. Correct me if I'm wrong but you don't want to wait for another gun to come available but you still want one today? That makes it tough to figure out a plan. Plus it says listing deactivated.
I know… I’m all over the map, but thank you for that information, I’ve never bought a gun like that before and was just looking for some confirmation. With so much doubt on finding this rifle and finding one for sale… I didn’t want to lose the opportunity so I bought it.
Subject: Sig 226
Message: Do you have a 226 available left?
FC: I have one MK25 left in stock.
Excellent. I had my FFL email you their FFL. Just to confirm and document a couple of details of our transaction here.
  1. Handgun model: The Sig P226 MK25
  2. Clear title no previous owner.
  3. New gun, never fired with everything come in factory box.
  4. Any handling wear and tear?Could you please confirm? Thanks.
FC: I have their FFL info and can get a shipment label off the printer in a few minutes and get this out with today's fedex run. Mk25 is correct Previous owner was a large multinational firearm manufacturer. New with factory load out Box hasn’t been opened by anyone but me so they’re all mint
I was under the impression these firearms are new and not pre owned. Why are you advertising them as new when clearly they've been owned by someone else?
(No response, gun goes back on shelf)
This one is too long for me to cut and paste. Here's how it goes.
Subject: (none)
Message: glock 19 gen 5 in stock?
I tell him yes, he lines up a dealer in California that won't take it. He asks me for availability on 20 other guns, none of which are CA legal. He gives me a list of another 5 guns and asks pricing and availability, none of which are CA legal either. FC gives up and loses his will to live.
Subject: none
Message: Hello I have a question would you be able to help me and another person do an NFA transfer she is getting her paperwork back for a Mac I am buying it from her the local gun store near me doesn't do it they do not do individual to individual but could you do the paperwork for us that's the question And what would your services be if you're able to do it I have a guy down at Houston we can use but that's a long ride I know there's somebody around here that can do it I know how to do it but it's easier for a dealer to do it that way there's no mess ups Thanks
(I return the phone call and have a 30 minute conversation with the guy who claims that if you could get a home based FFL he'd have one and about how he's such a wheeler dealer and about how he's bought so many machineguns and SBR"s over the years and I get the bright ide to ask him something: if you've bought so many guns, why do you need someone to walk you through a form 4? Shocked pikachu ensues.)
Subject: Colt 45
Message: You have had this listed for a long time. What is the best cash price you will do?
FC: What are you offering?
If you are leaving it up to me...$750
FC: Your old emails have you at 725 on this one firm.
Ok, don't let this cash burn a hole in my pocket! I'll go to 750 on that gun!
FC: I'll be honest. I sold about 30 guns this week, I wouldn't mind selling another 30 next week but I'd have to hang on to what I have left to do that.
Somebody should have bought that Colt long as you've had it listed!
FC: It could be you! But not at 750
(next morning)
Well good morning there. Today is a new day. You selling me the Colt today?
FC: Thinking about it. Make me a better offer.
I'm a Baton Rouge resident. Sell me this Colt at my price. I could be a long standing customer. If not, be like a fart in a whirlwind.
FC: I’ll sell you this stainless series 70 colt at your price - $750 on one condition. Can you figure out a way for me to make money doing it?
I like you pretty good. Maybe I'll buy a gun off you in the future...thanks for you time
Subject: Magpul back in stock
Monday: June 1. I will spare you all the play by play timestamps.
The AC isn't working at FC HQ. It's Louisiana. It's hot. The thermostat is in the other unit and they're closed mondays. Fuck.
Guy calls me up asking about the LWRC M6 I have. Very polite. Spends 35 minutes grilling me on options, optics, etc. He gives me info for his FFL, I call his FFL and get everything coordinated.
I come to find out he's looking at an old old old ancient forum post. From August 2015. He expects August 2015 price. I tell him NOPE. Market rate. He hems and haws and then he says okay its a deal. he asks about condition and specs. I tell him brand new factory 16" gun.
When he finds out it's a 16" gun he's surprised. He was expecting a 10.5" gun. I tell him that's an SBR. He wants an SBR! I tell him he's going to have a 9 month wait on tax stamps. He wants an SBR today. I tell him the closest I can get him is an AR pistol. He does not want an AR pistol. I tell him that's the best I can do right now. He says thanks but no thanks.
I sell a SHIT TON OF GUNS. That LWRC M6 I had? Threw it up on one of the gun boards FOR A HUNDRED BUCKS MORE. Sold in an hour. I take the money and ink the deal.
I call the bar journal editor and tell her I need a copy of the article I ran for my brag book. She says it's in the mail.
My phone rings, it's Keith from Virginia. He's the brother of a very good customer of mine down here. He needs an AAC 51T muzzle brake in 5/8x24. I don't have any. Nobody does. I start scrounging and I find one on guns for sale. I double check all the item numbers and I get it taken care of for him. I tell him it should be in his mailbox by the end of the week.
Tuesday: June 2. AC is running. It's frosty. I like this. Today is gonna be a good day. Maybe I won't even have to use my AK.
Guy who wanted the LWRC M6? He calls me wanting to buy it. Already sold. Sorry buddy.
You guys will love this. Actual conversation I had in person.
(ring ring)
1: Hey I'm here in the parking lot looking for your door
FC: I'll come out and find you.
I find the guy and lead him inside
FC: What can I do for you?
1: I'm looking for a rifle, semi automatic. Something nice.
FC: Okay any preference on caliber?
1: Something like five five six, maybe five five seven. If not too much more money, I'd be willing to go five five eight.
FC: (stunned silence)
1: Or maybe something in the AK platform, seven six two by thirty nine or possibly even forty nine.
(I'm not joking. Those were the words.)
Wednesday: June 3
I shipped a gun to a dealer an hour away. I get a phone call.
1: I need a copy of your FFL
FC: Why?
1: because I need a copy!
FC: Why?
1: FEDERAL LAW SAYS I NEED A COPY, I can't book in this gun without your FFL.
FC: Why not?
FC: I don't have to, you should read the regulation book.
1: LOOK, I've been doing this THIRTY YEARS and I know what I'm doing. I need your FFL to put it in the book with a license number.
FC: There is a license number. Look at the invoice.
FC: No it's not, and all my info is on the invoice that you can plug into your records.
1: WHERE on the invoice?
FC: On the invoice on the top. First three last five are in ink on the paper, do you see it.
1: Those numbers are your license numbers?
FC: Yes.
FC: You said you've been doing this thirty years?
1: Absolutely!
FC: So in thirty years of doing business you'd know that EVERY FFL in the ENTIRE STATE of Louisiana begins with you're telling me in thirty years of doing business you're unable to recognize a license number from the very same state and geographic region that you operate within?
That dude was buttmad. My job here is done. Oh yeah, and that Stainless colt that that dude wanted me to sell under cost? Sold at asking price.
I sell one of my regulars an old Stainless Sig 220 in 45ACP. He takes it to the range on the spot. I get an email telling me he loves the gun.
Wednesday: Everyone fails background check. Not one, not two. Everyone. I discover that the customer buying a Glock 19 was implicated in a 1968 drug smuggling operation as a mule for cocaine in a certain part of Michigan with some co-conspirators
He tells me the records were supposed to be sealed but I guess they weren't. The other guys I have no idea and I keep their money.
ring ring
FC: Go for FC
1: do you have 40 ammo?
FC: What kind?
1: forty
FC: No what kind FMJ or hollowpoint?
1: Uh.
FC: When you figure it out let me know.
I hang up.
They call back later.
I tell them $100 a box. They say no thanks.
I then sell a case of 500 rds of 40S&W to someone for $350. Life is good. I stop by the catholic church thrift store and donate a bunch of old clothes on my way home.
Thursday: June 4
Don Rimgale, the fire marshal over at station 17 stops by on his lunch break. Apparently the church thrift store had an fire early in the morning and completely burned down. Don thinks that it is electrical.
Fuck me to tears.
Don shoots the bull with me and I show him some more guns to buy.
A regular comes in and buys a gun. He's cool.
I get an email from a guy in CA that wants a stainless sig 220. I tell him it's gonna cost him. He says its okay. I call back the guy I sold the 220 to. I offer him $100 more than he paid. It's a deal.
Friday: June 5
Regular's wife is mad and I buy the gun I sold him back at a $200 discount. I make the best deals America. Nobody makes deals like these. The bar journal is in the mailbox. Two copies, one for me and Megan. Except one problem. They sent me last month's issues and not this month's. Oh well. No biggie.
Sig 220 stainless comes back, I count out some cash and the guy is super happy he got to rent a gun for free AND MAKE $100 IN THE PROCESS
Where are we getting guns to sell to new people with money? We're buying them back from the people we just sold them to. CA guy is happy. I made $350 on the deal and it took me....maybe an hour?
An old friend from high school stops by and asks me to sell his gun collection. Solid! A customer walks in while we're chatting looking for a cheap Glock 19 Gen 3. I tell him you and the rest of the country! He buys a Sig 226 magazine for coming in and wasting my time. I tell him it's not a waste if it's a sale!
While I'm making my fedex run in the rain, I get a call from a guy looking for my door. I tell him I'll be back in 10. I get back and he tells me he's looking for a Colt Government Model steel frame 45ACP or a Glock 23. I show him what I have.
Eventually, we narrow down the gun he wants to order: an FN FNX Tactical 45. I get the order written. He's looking at other guns and snags two more for him and his wife. New customer, first impression good.
Apparently he went to the store across the way and they didn't treat him very nicely, didn't answer any of his questions on 9mm vs 45 and were very very poorly and he liked my approach a lot. I get his order working and I've got to find some more stuff for other customers and get that ordered.
There's only one problem: There's ONE warehouse in the country that has everything I need.
You guessed it. Bill Hicks Co. In MINNEAPOLIS.
Not only is Bill Hicks backed up 2 weeks on shipping!
I'm getting a box, from a warehouse where everyone got the 'rona.
Order it and grab some lysol wipes. I check the mail.
Pest lost another dollar to me again, and like a champ I will accept my win gracefully. I hang his $1 next to bat george from our August 2012 bet that he also lost -
If anyone was wondering what the bet was. He said that my uzi, wasn't really serialized as IWUVBRITTANY but rather 1WUVBRITTANY - the number one instead of an I. I proved him wrong.
My phone starts ringing. It's Keith in Virginia. He's pissed that I got him the wrong mount. I get him to explain the problem. The can won't fit on the mount. It just drops in.
Now, a little backstory. I had to scrounge to get this mount. I checked the exterior packaging and the numbers THREE TIMES. This should be a five eighths by 24TPI mount. I had to set up a paypal friends and family payment to get this done. I had to draft up from scratch a deliberate well crafted thoughtful message about how my payment to the seller for gun parts would be labeled as some money for their gender reassignment operation, a new wardrobe and how "All of us especially your uncle ted - knew you were a woman trapped in a man's body this entire time" - I SPENT A LOT OF GODDAMNED TIME MAKING SURE THIS WOULD GO RIGHT AND NOW WHAT in the holy FUCK is going on......
Back to Keith. He's furious and looking at the back of the package stating that the reason it probably does not fit is it's the metric 18x1 mount.
Me: Is the mount on your rifle?
K: No
Me: Is the mount not going on the rifle?
K: No, it won't even fit in the can.
Me: Tell me what you mean won't fit in the can.
K: It just drops in it won't lock on.
Me: It won't lock on? Tell me about that.
K: Well I drop it on and it just pulls right off.
Me: You have to turn the can on the mount for it to latch.
K: Oh really?
Me: This is your SDN6?
K: Yeah, I got three of them.
Me: You know how you have to turn it to get the latching mechanism to lock the can on?
K: Well it's been a few years since I've been to the range, I think I get it now. Your check is in todays mail.
Crisis averted.
I manage to sell another Glock 17 for $850. I bid on a Glock 18C on gunbroker but I get outbid.
Debating making another post sample.
Have a lovely friday everyone!
submitted by FCattheKFC to guns [link] [comments]

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure OC Tournament #5: Round 1 Match 21: Fira and William Vs Casu and Rushen

The results are in for Match 19.
Through the lens of a sniper rifle, looking just so, just the right way, a person could see all that happened in the city hall building. Every shot he’d taken had been accompanied with a grin, every successful kill a laugh, but all of it was undercut with the tension of a perfectionist who had been denied his perfect victory.
To think that one of the guy’s own guards did him in… An unidentified rogue police officer killed him and ran, that’s what they’ll say, surely. What a joke… Surprising that it was that guy in particular who did this, but one thing’s for sure: boss sure as hell isn’t gonna pay me for this when they got exactly what really happened to March on camera.
It wasn’t making him feel as good as doing his job usually did, knowing that this was all the aftermath of his failure to get the perfect shot he’d lined up just so, that this little game had seen him defeated, so for the moment, he took a break from easily piercing through the defenses these protectors of the city council had seemed so proud of. He thought he would simply look to see who made it out alive, simply take a break from this and offer a silent congratulation to whoever made it through that assassin’s gravity wells just as well as this hitman’s bullets.
Is that a… Train of cats or something? Showing out Councilman Great Days, huh? So the old lady and the short girl won out in the end… But they seemed fixated, too, on taking out those other guys just for being in their way, even when they were working to the same end. That allowed the sniper another grin. I understand the feeling… Sometimes, when you see somebody in your way, it can feel like the biggest rush in the world to fight them to the bitter end. I bet Jo Kaneko felt that then, too, and even that man Father Blue looked like he was truly LIVING in those last seconds of his life. Even after death and rebirth, some things never change. Speaking of which, though…
The sniper took his aim elsewhere, having confirmed what he’d needed to see, and even though he had lost out on what he would be paid for, his location was perfect, and nobody had encroached upon it yet, and as he realized who the man with the golden eyes was to the criminal underworld of Los Fortuna, he thought not only of how much his most frequent employer would pay for his remains, but of how perfect it would be to take him down with his own bullets. Yes, he would try to find him there, and then hit the bar to celebrate.
It was time to refocus.
The winner is B.A.D.D. G.U.Y.S., with a score of 61 to Baker Street Rat Pack’s 59!
Category Winner Point Totals Comments
Popularity Baker Street Rat Pack 14-16 This was a close one from the beginning! Teams were neck and neck for the majority of the voting period, with Baker Street pulling ahead at the end.
Quality B.A.D.D. G.U.Y.S. 21-19 Reasoning
JoJolity B.A.D.D. G.U.Y.S. 16-14 Reasoning
Conduct Tie 10-10
Great Days, the councilor representing Agora Row, spoke to his saviors with a combination of relief, bewilderment, adrenaline, and fear. “That was… I just… I can’t believe… I didn’t much care for Councilor March, and on a personal level, he didn’t seem to like me, either, but…” He glanced at blood and particulate upon his salmon-colored suit. “You could tell that everything he did was borne of a ‘love’ for this city, a desire to do for his constituents all that he thought was necessary…” He shook his head now. “That speech he delivered, though… The extremes it drove him to… With all due respect to the man, even if it tanks my popularity, if somebody else tries to introduce those bills in his stead, I cannot in good conscience support legislature like that, especially after my life was saved by two Stand Users.”
Gabanna P. Dolce held her tongue, sure that, on some level, much of what was being said here was platitudes and postulating, as if he wanted really hard to make it clear to her and Jenny that he was one of them. She could smell it on him, but even then, she knew it wouldn’t be useful in any way to say what was on her mind here. Rather, then, she said, “of course, Councilor Days… Keep us in the loop, yeah? My restaurant is one that’s all too happy to take good care of its regulars, and I’m sure you could be of great help to our business… If ya catch my drift.”
“Of course…” Days said with a nod, sighing and looking around some more. “I’ll be sure to stop by, keep you informed and ahead of goings-on in city hall… But, erm, one more thing. Would you mind escorting me to my car, you two? I’ll be fine to get home from there, drink and sleep today off and let my sons know I got out alive, but-”
“You’re just gonna walk away from this like it means nothing, huh,” Jenny answered, understanding in her own way and almost resenting the ability to do so scot-free, given how her life had been defined by living on the lam so much and feeling vexed to see someone so easily pull away from this threat, go back home to a family that loves and worries about them. “No matter what you say, there’s some things here that are going to get worse before they get better, maybe not for you, but for us. Maybe they won’t force out whatever they said the University has on us, maybe some privacy-killing private company, isn’t gonna get a seat on the council, but you think people who don’t want to make our lives harder didn’t just get a lot stronger today just because one guy feels happy for us?”
“I…” He stammered, not really having much to say to that, perhaps too frazzled to properly debate the matter. “I know, alright? They have an in with city hall now and they’re gonna milk it for all it’s worth! I’m still trying to think about what to do about the fact that Wedding March just said ‘Stand Users’ on a live recording of a speech going out to the whole city! I feel like most people are going to be confused, or not care, or forget about it and move on like they always do, but those who don’t… And the special election, too, is just going to… Nngh. Look, don’t ride my ass, alright? I’m going to do what I can, whatever little that is.”
As they led him away, and eventually bid him off, Gabanna shot Jenny a less than pleased look, one laden with the maternal sort of neutrality which Jenny understood all too well conveyed immense disappointment in a publicly accessible circle.
“I know you have a temper sometimes, but there are times and places in which to up and say things, and there are times to hold your tongue and bide your time. If you’re worried about what this means to you, and your ‘situation…’ I am going to look out for you, not allow your sordid past to ruin your life, so long as I have mine. I promise.”
Jenny folded her arms, tapping at her elbows with her fingers awhile before finally answering, “alright, no need to get pissed… We’ve done our job here, we’ve stopped some other shady Stand Users, and we’re in a good place to look around and find out more. First things first… When you’ve been on the streets like me, you get good at spotting a fed no matter what they seem to be dressed like… That guy who killed the Chairman and ran off? No way in hell he was a cop…”
Gabanna nodded. “I concur, completely… Let’s survey the area, then.”
As they spoke, a well-built middle-aged man in a three-piece blue suit and black bowtie stood in that same parking lot, speaking to police officers, shifting his weight against a walking stick as he found his eye drawn to them through circular, red-tinted sunglasses.
There has been blood spilled here, and Los Fortuna, even beyond these two, has no shortage of frightening and prolific killers, mysteries tied to them and their further plans yet unanswered. There is still yet a day to vote in a match featuring one such serial killer, whose lair has entrapped countless innocent people, where currently a college-aged climbing enthusiast and a cartoonishly-styled villain with frighteningly real plans fight to fend him off and escape.
SKADE Talent Agency offices, Business District, 1:37 PM
During lunch break at the SKADE office, when most other employees had left to gather a bite or two from whatever local restaurant they’d gotten attached to, two people remained (excluding Howard, who practically never left his office anyways) - Rushen Smith and Casu Marzu.
The latter was on his way out of the office when Rushen called out to him and stopped him. “Hey, Casu, before you leave to get some grub, can you catch me up on your findings on that killer in the slums? After that you’re free to go, hell, I’ll even come grab something right with ya!” Rushen inquired, rolling his office chair over to Casu and stopping in front of him.
Casu, in response, looked back at Rushen, who was sitting in front of him, his everpresent grin apparent on his face as he grabbed a nearby chair and pushed it over to Casu. “Here - sit down and get comfortable.” Casu obliged, before leaning back slightly on the chair. The investigation in the slums… Well, there was a lot to cover. “So… Where do you want me to start?”
“Hm… Just go over everything you can think of relating to you guys’ investigations.” Rushen said. Casu sighed, organizing his thoughts and getting ready to speak. This was going to be one hell of an explanation.
“So… Me, Kisa and Ace started by asking people around about suspicious activity and other such things. Regular talent scouts usually don’t have much of a reason to visit the slums, so our usual cover story didn’t work, but we managed. Anyways, we looked around the slums, asked around and questioned the people who first discovered the aftermath of the most recent incident, who, by the way, were really fucking traumatized by the experience of coming across a molten corpse in a random alleyway. From there, we looked around a bit more, searched for information relating to some of the older incidents, I had to transform a few times to beat some people who messed with us up, yadda yadda yadda… Anyways, the point is, we eventually discovered old evidence of a few similar crimes a couple of months back that took place outside of Los Fortuna, which means-”
At those final few words, Rushen’s eyes lit up and he interjected. “Which means that the culprit likely came from outside of Los Fortuna, just like us!” “... yeah. That’s what I was about to say. Anyways, we investigated a bit further, and learned about this place, the Elephant Bones, which might be where some stand users new to the city are staying. If there’s any place to continue our investigation at, that’ll be it. For now, all we know is that it’s an abomination and a deathtrap, that its bone broth is actually quite good somehow, and that its manager is this woman named ‘Fira’ who’s an asshole to pretty much everyone.”
In response to that, the grin on Rushen’s face widened even further. “Hell yeah! You three made great progress, and soon there’s no way that that woman from ODIN who contacted us won’t be more than satisfied with our progress! Hell, I might even step in a bit myself to help out a bit, you know? This case is too important for us to do anything but send the best of the best out, so I want to participate in the action as well!”
With that, Rushen confidently got up from the chair. “Now, let’s make our way out of this crummy office and out into the streets to get some grub to charge up!”
A street on the western end of the Business District, 1:52 PM
Fira B. and William Eyelash walked through the bustling streets of the Business District in complete silence. This wasn’t necessarily due to any bad blood between the two as much as it was due to the combination of William’s constant anxieties and Fira’s stoic nature putting the two in the situation - any attempt of William’s at making small talk would be met with a simple one word answer at best, and indifferent silence otherwise, while Fira had no interest in talking with the boy.
That didn’t stop him from trying every few minutes, attempting to understand why exactly she had dragged him out of the Elephant Bones and into the district all of a sudden. His questioning wasn’t getting him far, so at some point he simply stopped asking when none of the variations that he could think of on “Where are we going and why are we so far away from the Elephant Bones, Fira” had proven to work. Best not to piss her off too much and just let her do whatever with him.
In reality, William and Fira were there for the latter’s work at the behest of her boss, Davy. She’d been asked to send someone out for a simple delivery job - go to the Business District, grab a nondescript package from someone there, used for god knows what, and give it to someone else in a different district. Fira didn’t necessarily have to go herself, but the staff over at the Elephant Bones were getting particularly annoying, what with the messes they constantly made, so she decided to go out herself, catching a well deserved break from having to deal with them. Tossing her managerial responsibilities onto Byte, she left, taking William alongside her in case sending him out to perform the delivery in her stead would prove to be necessary.
As they went along, a nagging feeling started gnawing at William. Though his worries and concerns were usually for nothing, something about this felt different. Through his many panicked looks around during the walk, he had noticed something - two men who seemed to be following them as they walked around. From afar, one wearing a stylish two-piece suit and with a tall high-top hairstyle, while the other, an olive skinned man, seemed to be wearing plainer clothes, with a leather jacket and a turtleneck.
Sweat ran down William’s brow. Were the two men following them? Why were they doing that? Did they catch on to whatever illegal thing he and Fira were here to do in the district that she wouldn’t explain to him? Worse yet, maybe… could they have caught on to Ocean Eyes? To what it had done? Would it have to... deal with them? William started breathing heavily, starting to feel a headache coming on.
Anxiously, William tried to get Fira’s attention. “Um… Fira, I’m...” she didn’t respond. “F- Fira, I think we’re being followed!” hearing that, Fira’s stern expression shifted into one of surprise for a second, before returning. “Explain.” “Uh.. I noticed that there’s two men that seem to be following our movements… Do you have any idea what they might want-” Fira clicked her tongue in displeasure, before speaking over William and shutting him up. “Follow me.”
Picked up the pace and turning into an emptier street, Fira and William moved onwards in hopes that their pursuers would be shaken off, or would prove to be harmless. “Check if they’re gone.” she said coldly, and William obliged, covertly looking around. “... I can’t see them anymore.” “Keep an eye out.”
They kept on going, eventually moving into another crowded street right by a HEIMDALL building. After a couple of minutes passed, and the pair of pursuers remained unseen, William spoke up. “I… I still can’t see them. I’m not sure if they left us, but-” “Excuse me, but would you mind if we asked you some questions?” William and Fira stopped in their tracks, turning to look at the source of the voice - the sharp dressed man asked, his tall column of hair looming over the pair. Behind him was the olive skinned man, who remained silent. William shrunk back, taking a few tepid steps backwards. Fira said nothing.
“Name’s Rushen Smith. My colleagues and I have been investigating a few peculiar situations around Los Fortuna, including some murders that have recently been happening around the city, near the slums. Let me tell you, from the descriptions, they’re very grisly. Now, me and Casu over here were on our way to grab some food for our lunch break, but we overheard you talking about working at a certain Elephant Bones restaurant, yeah?”
In response, Fira’s expression remained stoic and unflinching, looking back at Rushen and Casu. This was a relief - though some of her work surrounding the Elephant Bones wasn’t entirely legal, she wasn’t aware of any murders there. “Yes. And?”
“Oh, nothing, just curious if you’ve noticed any odd figures coming around that might have a connection to such murders, right? Any stand users who can melt people, something like that?”
Oh. So they were stand users. Whatever. “Nope. Not us. Check the syndicate next time.” She turned around, ready to grab William and leave, only to realize that he had begun running away into the crowd. Goddammit, what was his deal? He wasn’t even a stand user, what did he have to be scared of?
“Well, seems like your friend over here might disagree on that, eh? Guess we’ll have to see what he has to say on the matter, right, Casu?” Rushen said with a casual smirk, before he and Casu broke out into a sprint towards the direction William left in. Fira stood silent for a moment, unsure of what to do, before rushing over to follow the two and William herself. If he was to get caught in something, it’d be bad for the restaurant, and, more importantly, for her.
Running through the crowd and after William, Casu Marzu knew what he would have to do, though he wasn’t necessarily pleased about having to do so. ”Rushen! Make some sort of distraction so that I can transform without everyone gawking at me!” he shouted out to his teammate. “Really? We’ve got a lead on who the murderer is and you care about that? Eh, whatever - HEY, THAT KID OVER THERE STOLE MY WALLET! SOMEBODY STOP HIM!” Rushen shouted, pointing towards William’s direction, the distraction hopefully doubling as a way of slowing his escape down.
“I don’t give a flying -ahh! Bite Me!” Casu shouted out the transformation phrase, as the hypodermic needle expanded and Bite Me’s outfit formed around him, getting him ready for action. Easily ducking between the crowd, which had heard Rushen loud and clear and was fixated at William by this point, Casu quickly made his way towards the boy, but he was quick as well. Rushen was right by him, and he could hear the footsteps of that woman the kid was with behind him.
Whatever - what mattered was getting to the kid and stopping him. Though, worst case scenario, with how this district was and how close they were to the HEIMDALL building, there was no doubt going to be security footage of this encounter that SKADE could glean information from either way.
Casu broke through the crowd, just in time to see that William had, after getting stopped by a few crowd members, turned to run directly into the HEIMDALL building. Was the kid that distressed that he couldn’t even think of how foolish doing that was? The more time went on, the more apparent it became - this kid knew something about the murders, and sure as hell wasn’t going to peacefully reveal it to them. They’d have to force him to confess.
With Casu and Rushen chasing him down, William burst into the HEIMDALL building. He couldn’t go anywhere else - when the suited man called attention to him, he was surrounded by civilians, and that was the only open route. His head hurt like hell and he didn’t know what to do, but what he did know was that he had to get the hell away, even if it meant bursting into a random building to do so. He felt overwhelmed and terrified, and if it all kept up, then... Ocean Eyes would have to drown it all out.
William felt a hand trying to stop him from entering - was it a receptionist? Someone else? He didn’t know, but they weren’t enough to stop him as he dashed forwards into the lobby. He could hear shouting from behind him, possibly belonging to the receptionist, or perhaps the two pursuers who were after him. He had to get away. He breathed heavily, tears welling up in his eyes as he dashed into an open elevator and began slamming on the buttons with as much ferocity as possible, trying to get it to close before he got caught.
Not caring where it sent him, or what he would do afterwards, all William wanted, no, needed to do was get away. He flung a nervous look over at the elevator door, which had begun whirring shut, seeing three figures dashing towards him. The olive-skinned man, “Casu”, whose outfit seemed to have changed drastically from before, Rushen, and… Fira? As the elevator doors closed, many thoughts ran through William’s head - Why was Casu holding a giant hypodermic needle? Was it his stand? Why was Fira running after him as well? Was she here to stop him? To ask him why he lied about not being a stand user? Was he going to have to move again, to leave everything behind and find a new place within Los Fortuna to-
Before the doors could close shut, something got pushed in between them - Casu’s hypodermic needle, keeping the doors open. Shit. Shit. William slunk back to the back of the elevator, and Ocean Eyes emerged from behind him, hands caressing his shoulders and peering at Casu and Rushen, alongside anyone else who would potentially seek to harm him. “G- get away!” William shouted, acidic nectar beginning to drip from the holes on Ocean Eyes’ body and leaving behind holes on the floor. If they didn’t leave him, then he’d have to...
None of William’s pursuers listened, and all three entered the elevator just as the doors closed and it began making its way up the floors. William was stuck alongside them inside of the elevator, with nowhere to run.
“William, what the hell?” Fira said, walking over to him. She didn’t expect it at all, but she didn’t care much about him hiding the fact that he was a stand user from them. However, that stand… it seemed dangerous. Far more dangerous than one would expect for someone as meek as William. Going off of what the two men said, he might really have been responsible for those recent murders, and he’d done so right under her nose. Still, he himself didn’t seem malicious, more... scared. Worried about his own stand’s capabilities just as much as everyone else was, perhaps.
That being said, none of that particularly mattered at the end of the day. She had worked with murderers before, and so long as his actions didn’t affect her work it didn’t matter to her, but these two men were after them, jeopardizing her job, because of him. How the hell was she supposed to get out of that situation and get the delivery on time? “Unsummon your stand so that we can sort this out.” she said, perhaps a little too bluntly.
“Yeah! If there’s nothing to hide, then there’s no reason to be afraid, and otherwise, fighting us will just make the situation worse!” Rushen said in agreement. “And if you don’t, we’ll have to force you to submit by force!” Casu shouted out, twirling Bite Me’s needle for dramatic flair. In response, Ocean Eyes stepped forwards, guarding William, who was shivering in the back of the elevator. It twitched violently, more droplets of nectar getting flung around and further damaging the elevator, as if to warn anyone who dared to get any closer of the fate that would await them.
“Not helping.” Fira shot the pair an annoyed look. She said, bringing out In Silico as a precaution and taking another step towards the cowering boy. “I won’t do anything to you, so let’s talk this out.” Ocean Eyes leaned closer to her, but refrained from attacking. The stand could tell that she wasn’t going to harm William.
Now near William, but still keeping a distance away from him so as to not frighten him even further, Fira repeated herself. “Unsummon your stand.”. William looked up at her, and then at Rushen and Casu, fear in his eyes. Ocean Eyes didn’t budge, and took another step towards the two, continuing to twitch.
Unsure of what to do at the sight of the shivering boy and the violent stand, Rushen and Casu braced themselves. They clutched their stands and prepared themselves, ready to attack if the stand would lash out and it’d be necessary - they’d taken the time to charge their stands up on the way towards the building in preparation for whatever might come. “So? What’s it going to b-”
Casu’s speech was interrupted when the elevator suddenly skidded to a halt. Something had happened. The conflict seemingly got put on hold, as everyone looked around for the source of the disruption, only to find nothing. The doors were tightly shut, and they were trapped.
“Oh, just perfect! Was this the best time for the elevator to fuck up?!” Rushen yelled out in exasperation at the situation. Being in an elevator with a homicidal stand that he was trying to apprehend wasn’t exactly his definition of a good time, but being trapped made the situation even worse!
Luckily for Rushen, he wasn’t exactly “trapped” in the elevator, as Ocean Eyes’ nectar had opened up a large hole in the elevator floor. Unluckily for him, the elevator soon began rapidly accelerating and falling. “What the-!?”
Without any time to spare, Casu sprang into action. “Rushen, get ready to make some platforms! We need to get out of here!” Casu shouted, before aiming Bite Me’s needle towards the ceiling. “Gorgeous Rainbow Corrosion!” He shouted out, as a ball of glitter shot out of the needle and quickly ate through the ceiling. “Got it!” Rushen shouted, using Men In Black to create a series of steps for the pair to leave the falling deathtrap of an elevator on.
As they climbed, the pair looked to the side, only to see that William and Fira had done the same, taking a temporary break from the action to make a hole in the ceiling and get out with their stands.
Climbing up and taking a look around the interconnected elevator shafts, they saw that the cable holding the now falling elevator up was gone - was this someone’s doing? Did someone want to eliminate them? Though they could still see the cables which were meant to hold up the other elevators, the elevators themselves were far away from them. They had nowhere to go. Still, they had to do something! The ground was getting closer and closer, and if they did nothing then-
All of a sudden, everyone found themselves divorced from the elevator floor, and back in the air again, falling. “Wh- what the hell?! Is this one of your stands?!” Rushen shouted, turning to Fira and William, who seemed equally confused and panicked. Something was teleporting them back into the air whenever they got too low, keeping them constantly falling!
“What the hell?! This just keeps on getting weirder and weirder! Look - if we work together, we can get out of this alive, so let’s just-” “Rushen, look out!” Rushen’s words were interrupted by Casu, who pulled him over just in time before a stream of nectar flew towards where he once was. Ocean Eyes had begun attacking, trying to use the opportunity to take down its pursuers.
“HEY, WHAT THE HELL?! I’M TRYING TO HELP US ALL OUT HERE!” Rushen and Casu turned to look at William, who seemed just as scared as before, while his stand seemed just about ready to try and melt them alive again. Fira, while she didn’t seem pleased with the stand’s actions, wasn’t likely to take their side were a confrontation to start either.
“Alright, so you want us to do it this way?! Fine, we’ll kick your asses, turn you in, and then get out of here and stop whoever did this to us!” Both sides turned to face each other, while using whatever means possible to put as much distance between them as possible. From opposite sides of the set of elevator shafts, while constantly falling, they stared each other down, knowing what would have to happen.
(For the unpixelated version, look here Content Warning: Trypophobia)
(credit to magistelles for the images!)
Location: A set of interconnected looping elevator shafts inside of a HEIMDAL office building. Conveniently, it is missing the elevators. The area is quite spacious at 8 by 16 meters with each team being near the shorter walls with around 15 meters between the teams.
In the center of the arena there is a 1.5 by 1.5 meter central support beam and around are hanging cables that should be attached to elevators however you do not see any elevators during your descent. Each cable is around 2 meters away from each other and one meter away from the walls, forming a rectangle of 4 cables along the 8 meter walls and 8 cables along the 16 meter walls.
The area is fairly well lit with sunlight streaming in from the glass ceiling and interior maintenance lights along the walls.
Goal: RETIRE your opponents!
Additional Information: Assume that players are all falling at terminal velocity, and that the terminal velocity is the same for all of them (50 m/s to be exact). The sides of the shaft are made of solid metal, and are quite thick, allowing you to carve about 1 meter into them without breaching into the outside, but attempting to leave will lead to you being snatched by the person who launched you down the shaft and them beating your ass, leading to a swift RETIRE.
For the purposes of the match you will be falling down the same 100 meters of elevator shaft on a loop, and any changes you make to the shaft will be revisitable over time.
During the chase after William, Rushen and Casu have both charged their abilities up to a certain extent. Rushen starts the match off with 2 cubic meters of solid light to work with, and Casu starts with enough energy for one “charge” of his ability, after which he’ll have to charge up color again.
Team Combatant JoJolity
The Graveyard Shift Fira B. "The rat moved the traps to where it knew we were gonna hide and set them near rocks… all to create an opportunity to attack us!" This whole situation is weird as hell and incredibly confusing, but the first step towards regaining your bearings and getting out of here is to take a look around you! Make use of this situation and do something with this constantly falling state you’re all trapped in!
The Graveyard Shift William Eyelash “If the rat enters our range and we miss, it won’t ever come close again. Don’t shoot until you’ve got a clear head and a clear shot.” Ocean Eyes’ first shot might have missed, but you’re not gonna let that happen again! Make sure to make all of your attacks count, with no throwaways!
Sharp Lookers Rushen Smith “"Bastard… It knew i was going to dodge and bounced the darts off a rock…"” Like any star FBI agent, you know how important understanding your current situation and not letting it tie you down is! Make use of this situation and do something with this constantly falling state you’re all trapped in!
Sharp Lookers Casu Marzu "It knows that if it reveals its location by attacking hastily, we'll be able to counterattack." You might not like to admit it, but you’ve got a flair for the dramatic, and there’s nothing that ruins the mood more than unnecessary attacks! Make sure to make all of your attacks count, with no throwaways!
Link to the Official Player Spreadsheet
Link to Match Schedule
As always, if you would like to interact with the tournament community and be among the first to get updates for the tournament, please feel free to PM a member of our Judge staff for an invite to our Official Discord Server!
submitted by Dungeon_Dice to StardustCrusaders [link] [comments]

The problem with covenant choice being tied to character power

In this text I will try to explain why Blizzards current stance on tying player power to covenant choice is worrying, not just for myself as a complete degenerate, but also for the WoW community in general. It's a long text, but it is also a complicated issue. So, to catch everyone up to speed, the current outlook for Partylands is that we as players must choose a specific covenant and progress towards goals within said covenant. The covenant system is, according to blizzard, one of the main features of the expansion. The choice is significant in several ways:
  1. Covenant choice impacts what storylines and quests the player can engage with throughout the expansion – for example the connected covenant campaign, availability of certain world quests and so forth.
  2. Covenant choice impacts which cosmetic rewards the player can obtain and use, for example, mounts, a variety of transmog options, such as gearsets and awesome looking back attachments.
  3. Covenant choice impacts player power. Player power is to my knowledge affected in three significant ways: The first way is the covenant wide signature ability, such as the Venthyr teleport or the Nightfae fox. The second is the class specific ability, e.g. Condemn or Conquerors Banner for Warriors from Ventyr and Necrolords respectively. The third is the soulbind system, where each covenant has three talent trees with traits reminiscent of the artifact weapon system in Legion. Furthermore, players can fill in conduits in this talent tree to enhance spec specific abilities.
Why is tying player power to these covenants a problem? The argument put forth by blizzard is that in the RPG genre, players must make important choices, if you want to excel in melee brawler-like combat in a game like skyrim, you need invest resources in talents and gear that enhances that fantasy. This ultimately means you sacrifice the ability to play as a ranged specialist, a sneaky assassin or a powerful sorcerer. This is a situation where meaningful choice feels rewarding and makes sense. It is a single player experience and the game is designed in such a way that whatever choice the player makes, the challenges the game poses to the player, such as combat and interaction with quests are still available. Another game that gives players many options for meaningful choices is the Fable series, where players can choose to be good or evil. This system gives players access to several different gameplay options, depending on how the player chooses to behave. This system is in many ways like the covenant system, where evil players get access to certain quest lines and rewards, and good player have others. Furthermore, it is not an easy journey to go from being the evilest person in the world, to the most beloved saint. The evil/good system is a one that I personally have had a lot of fun with growing up, playing through the Fable series. There are however a few problems with an implementation of a similar system in World of Wacraft. The obvious problem is that WoW is not an RPG, it’s a MMO-RPG. This causes problems on several levels: If I choose to behave like an evil person in Fable, swapping back to good can have a significant penalty. That is fine, it’s a single player game, and my choice only impacts me. WoW does not function as a single player game. If I choose to pick a covenant that I desire, based on cosmetic rewards, aesthetics and fantasy, that choice also impacts my characters power. This does not just impact me, but it also impacts my m+ team, my raidteam and my arena partner. If swapping covenants comes with a significant penalty this will not just punish me, but also the people I play with.
The player power connected to the covenants will impact my performance in a significant way. Either through the signature abilities, the class abilities or the soulbinds. Blizzards current position is that they will be able balance these different choices to a regard where it does not matter. This is an unachievable goal, it is impossible to balance 36 classes, 12 covenant abilities, god knows how many legendarys, 12 soulbinds and 4 signature abilities. Anyone who has been involved in any form of competitive PVP or PVE in WoW’s history knows that perfect balance does not exist, and it never will. So what does this choice mean, and how does it impact me, the people I play with and my experience engaging with the content in WoW? Quite simply put, if you want to play anything on a competitive level, say, mythic raiding, you need to choose the covenants (note that this is plural) for your class. Why plural? Because raiding offers several different types of encounters. Let us take the perspective of a DPS, some fights require hectic add cleave, some pure single target, others heavy burst aoe. For each of these situations, inevitably there will be one covenant that pulls ahead of another. In this case then, the correct way to play for a competitive player will be to choose literally all the covenants and maintain four characters. Similar arguments can of course be made for healers and tanks.
Now of course, the casuals and elitists alike scream in the background – You don’t need to be perfectly optimized to defeat bosses, you can get curve while being suboptimal. This is correct, you can get curve while playing outlaw rogue on Nzoth, which I did. So why is this a big deal? I am not here to argue for the world first people, if Gingi needs to level four hunters for partylands, he will do so. The problem is more significant for the rest of us, the player base who wants to optimize and play competitively, to get good logs, to push some high keys and get cutting edge in a timely fashion. Player power tied to covenant choice will impact our ability to perform in several areas of the game. Imagine this scenario in BFA: 8.2 launches, Players must pick an essence, and it is a meaningful choice. So swapping between essences means you have to farm the essence again to swap major. Imagine your frustration trying to do mythic plus or arena, while needing to have CLF for raiding. This is essentially what shadowlands currently is making players choose between. This means that some players will be at a significant disadvantage in other areas of the game. The problem is in other words that certain game content that players usually engage with in meaningful ways, now has a higher cost of entry. How frustrating would it be to try and get into arena with a buddy, only to realize you are at a significant disadvantage because either you or your friend picked something that is good for m+ or raiding.
The most frustrating part of this whole debate with the covenants is that we as a community have been down this path before. In Legion, acquisition of legendaries was completely random, and the relative power between specs was hard to determine in the early stages of the expansion. Some players got lucky and «chose» the correct loot spec, and therefore, if they were lucky, received the best legendary items for output in the different endgame systems. This was a shitshow at the time and the community backlash was massive, blizzard made concessions in the end and implemented a legendary vendor. But at this point it was too late, the damage was done. Some players did now not get the chance to experience progression raiding, high end pvp or m+, because they bet on the wrong horse or just straight up got unlucky. Some players of course chose the exit strategy and walked away from the game completely. We are now heading towards shadowlands, and the same mistake is being made again. It is my opinion that covenant can still be a meaningful choice for players. Unique covenant storylines and quests can still be gated and the connected cosmetic rewards. A solution to the problematic player power tie in has already been put forth by several voices in the community. One avenue is to make the class abilities a new talent row, and then let players choose which one fits with the content they are going to engage with. Another solution is to make to signature abilities only work in outside of dungeons, raids and competitive pvp. The soulbind system is still problematic, and here I have no good solution other than streamlining the variation between covenants.
WoW is game that has thrived for so many years, not solely based on the game being good, but the fact that it has a engaged, social and active community. This is a major strength and asset for the game. It doesn’t matter how good a game is, if it has a small community the amount of positive experiences players can have in the long run will be severely limited. The current implementation of the covenant system can split the community in many ways, mainly because it will introduce further barriers to entry for existing players. Personally, I am a player who enjoys m+ and mythic raiding, but that does not mean I don’t want to occasionally play some rated arena. Making the barrier for entry higher will inevitably mean that some of the content that I enjoy, will now be harder to engage with in a meaningful way. I argue that this is dangerous for WoW because what keeps players engaged is the connections they make with other players, having low entry barriers for engaging with different types of content means that players have a higher chance of making new connections and therefore staying within the community. Which is what I think we all want, we are all passionate about the game, and we all want the best for Shadowlands, developers and players alike. As I hinted at early in the post, I am a complete degenerate and have already leveled 4 hunters, 4 warlocks and 4 rogues. I will do each covenant because I enjoy being optimized, but I also enjoy obtaining cosmetics and mounts. However, I also enjoy playing alts, in legion I did the mage tower on all classes with all specs, I had a blast doing it. But if the mage tower was tied to player power, and I had to do it on four rogues to stay competitive, I would be frustrated, I would at that point not be doing it because it is fun, but because it would be mandatory. This frustration will be especially true for players who want to optimize their play, regardless of skill level, but who aren’t complete degenerates willing to maintain four of the same class.
TLDR: Covenants as a meaningful choice with player power doesn’t work well in an MMORPG, because choice impacts a player’s community and friends. Furthermore, connecting player power to covenant choice will have a negative impact on the WoW community as a whole and will create higher barriers to entry for meaningful engagement with different types of content, e.g. raiding, pvp and m+. I argue that covenants can still be a meaningful choice for players, if it remains disconnected from player power.
submitted by terrentini to wow [link] [comments]

32 y/o male and suspect I have autism

I very recently began suspecting I have autism when i started getting to know my kids. I've always had a hard time with them (two of them are autistic) but have had some success this summer. The more I get to know my oldest and youngest (the two on the spectrum) the more it feels like looking in a mirror. It has changed the way I think and act towards them for the better and was the catalyst for my looking deeper at myself. I was in the army from age 19 until age 30 and spent that decade going back and forth to behavioral health due to depression, anxiety, adhd, but always ended up feeling like nothing had changed and like something had been missed. I am once again seeking help, now that I have a new direction to look. The more I read the more plausible it seems. An official diagnosis is important to me because it's alluded me for so long, among other reasons. I've started writing down my thoughts whenever I get introspective and I'd like to share them here, get opinions and look for shared experiences. I am in the process of seeing a doc through the VA, so that's covered fyi.
They're very stream of consciousness and in whatever order the thought occurs so apologies in advance if they're confusing. Feel free to ask for clarification.
Thought 1
I started walking early. If I remember correctly, I did many things early as a child, according to my parents. I feel like my ability to understand social interactions has prohibited me from making healthy life and relationship choices. The previous sentence took what felt like a lifetime to write. I have been thinking about all the girls I dated in my teens. I had no idea what to do... i thought that was normal at first, but it never went away. I just recently learned how important setting boundaries is and that an acceptable number of red flags in zero or less. Those things didn't come in to play until marriage, but in my teens I barely dated, and when I did I was silent when we'd spend time together, or when we were on the phone - I do remember trying to read something I thought was funny from an internet forum that I had printed off from a friends house so I could read it over and over, anyway, she interrupted me to tell me that she had to go and broke up with me shortly after. Most of my breakups were on their part.
Marriage is a blure. We spent the nearly 8 talking past each other. We had different ideas of what marriage was and very little interests in common. I wanted to use my newfound freedom from the tyranny of my parents rules to spend my free time how I liked. Shiiiit. That's Jamie's future. And Lindsey (hey Lindsey, I don't know if I'm going to show you this yet lol) I believe, and I could be wrong, wanted the picturesque, american dream family. Thinking about it now I think she wanted to prove her parents wrong and/or make them proud. I've never been good at showing empathy, not until the last couple years and it's still difficult. I remember lindsey telling me things her mom and stepdad had told her something and I remember sensing clearly that it was hurtful to her, but I didn't know what to do or say. I remember her telling me that she'd found out that her dad had Parkinson's and I remember knowing I should do something to console her, so as I hugged her while she cried, I wondered why I didn't feel anything. I knew I should be distraught at my wife's grief, but I just wanted the interaction to be over as quickly as possible. Lindsey deserved better than me, and that's not self pity. I wanted away from my parents and I'm sure I made promises and said yes to many things I didn't want to with a smile on my face and saved my resentment and anger for my tantrums that I have when I'm alone. Omg.
[Writting things out of order and adding post hoc so some retread is coming up]
In marriage I just wanted to fuck and play video games. We had very little in common. I think she just wanted to be wanted, to have her ideal life: stay at home mom with beautiful kids. I don't remember what I was thinking back then. [To get away from home and be independent] It's a blure. I remember being deeply religious and feeling extreme guilt because of a continual crisis of faith. I'd fall away and feel guilt for long stretches of time. I couldn't understand why I didn't feel the holy spirit. I wasn't convinced I was being a good enough christian too get into heaven. Those thoughts consumed my mind from my earliest memories into my early twenties, at which point I was able to let go of it to a degree, and then completely at 29. I never had a plan for life. I didn't know how to do anything. I relied on my first wife, lindsey, for EVERYTHING. I made the money and she did all the social interaction that i didn't absolutely have to do myself. And the things that i did HAVE to do, got done at the last second, late, or not at all. I have always relied on the the crippling pressure of failing to push me through the finish line at the last second, but sometimes and more and more frequently, I'm beginning to misjudge the finish line, and once I see no chance of success I just quit.
I joined the army because I saw no better option. Most of it was a nightmare but I was forced to get better at fitting in. Which to me is more accurately I had a diverse range of people to learn scripting from. I have noticed that i tend to pick up the mannerism and speech patterns of the groups I'm around but I dismissed it as something everyone does. I had aspirations in the army but I wasn't disciplined enough to achieve any of them except getting promoted to sgt and begging to be deployed, which was one of the worst and loneliest periods of my life. I was a weak leader but I was generally liked and respected during the 6 years I was a leader. I basically had one really good period when I was on prozac and topomax when I lost a lot of weight and studied for the board, got promoted, etc. I stopped those meds. I still managed to get promoted but I went down hill. I was drinking every weekend for over a year now. Eventually I got on adderral and lost more weight. Then I deployed and lost a lot of weight. I was a Skeleton. I started drinking when I got back from Afghanistan and soon went from every weekend to every day. The weight started coming back. Inwas still doing ok at work because I was loaded up with energy and high on feeling "fit" despite people telling me to my face that I looked way too skinny. It hurt to do stretches on the ground when we'd have to support weight with our hip against the ground. I thought I looked fine. I finally left the tyrrany of Lindsey, who always wanted all my free time for being a family and stuff. I imidiately stumbled into another person that was in a rush to be committed. A pattern in my life. 3 times I've rushed from hello to talk of wedding with 1 year. They all ended as you'd expect.
Get a call or text from work is a day ruining event. I agonize over it. I'm afraid of telling anyone no. I have gotten better with age in that regard but I still resort to white lies to excuse my abscense at work or social interaction when I don't want to go or even when I can't go but I feel like the reason I'm not able to isn't valid or good enough. I agree to do things I don't want to and it makes me angry and resentful but I do it anyway. I basically don't have an actual assigned job at work and just fill in wherever they need me that day, so I'm constantly pissed off at work becaus I get asked to change tasks, even if the task they're changing me to is one I'd rather be doing anyway. I swear outloud a lot at work and I know I shouldn't. I try not to do it when anyone's around but sometimes it happens and I worry they'll complain. When they call to ask me to come in I lose my mind because I'm afraid to say no but i hate having to change home mode to work mode; it drives me crazy. I started school very excited. It dropped off fast and now its something I can barely make myself do.
I was a truck driver for a year and a half. I loved it, then I started getting bored and wanting to be home more, then i want to change companies because they would be better, then I wanted to change departments, and so on. I couldn't decide what I wanted to do. I didn't want to live in Georgia and die there a nobody like all my redneck ancestors. I am literally afraid of dying and disappearing into the void of time. I'll be forgotten within two generations or less and no one will know I existed. So I moved to texas. Finally ducked up enough at work to get fired. I was careless and would inevitably bump a trailer or crack a fender or damage a trailer door. I was tired of the job and tired of the unpredictable schedule. I was a month away from quitting to go back to school.
My last relationship was the worst of the major three. She abused me. She got inside my head. When I left her I deleted all my social media and blocked anything else and moved states.
I'm trying to remember my childhood. I remember my dad trying to do things with me and eventually him losing patience at my lack of interest in anything he tried to include me in. He'd try to play catch with me and I'd ask if I'd go inside. He'd get mad and I'd freeze up. He'd storm off. I do the same thing to jamie. It's a cycle and I have to stop it. I don't know how to do it. They frustrate me so deeply and I don't know why. I'm getting better at catching myself, apologizing, admitting I'm wrong, and listening to them instead talking at them. It just feels like a losing battle. I can't take care of myself much less them.
Thought 2
I have always explained to myself (yep) that (that's a whole other can of worms but I have to focus).
Topic change. (Couldn't focus after all)
The vast majority of the group interaction I've had throughout my life has been me standing around not knowing what to do. Every once in a why I'd get brave and try to contribute to the conversation; everyone would turn and look, I'd freeze up and mumble, and they'd all awkwardly go back to talking. I tag along silently; usually when I'm luckuly enough that someone around drags me along (bless you, draggers).
"You don't talk much" "you always look mad" "speak up" "you don't talk much" "I cant understand you" "you don't talk much" "you're quite" "well don't talk my ear off!" "he doesn't say much" "what's he saying?" "go talk to her" "he's pretty quiet" "I need you to communicate" "I need someone who will talk with me" "talk to your kids!"
I've heard each of these hundreds if not thousands of times.
I complain loudly and vocally about the stupidest bullshit; In hyperbolic and egocentric diatribes about how everything is against me. I almost said us because this is a strong connection I have with my father. He did it around me and i do it around my kids. I know better than to do it full force around people because I knew I sound like a fucking asshole, but I'm sure I still do it around people without realizing it.
I also spit, snort, hawk loogies, clear my thought, sigh, and make all kinds of other noises that when I stop and think about, I know aren't normal and disgust and annoy people, but I don't even think about it and do it anyway.
Though 3
For as long as I can remember, I've chronically examined my own motivations. I also hedge my bets with my wording; being carefully to use wording that will allow me to backpedal if I'm wrong. That's probably a common critical thinking problem, *but I think I mostly just claim misunderstanding (which it is) and through in some post hac reason.
*That's something I'll have to watch for because I feel iffy on whether that checks out.
I add disclaimers when talking to people about unconfirmed info because I hate spreading false info but I like gossiping, I assume because it makes me feel included.
Thought 4
Managed to keep this one pretty coherent lol
The more I think about it, the more i feel it's likely that my dad went through a very similar experience to me in his childhood. I don't remember him talking much about his childhood and only in the form of a short anecdote every now and then. I think the stoic, brooding father I grew up with was what I've been becoming. I've lost interest in more and more as the years have gone on; I don't laugh as easily, deeply, and frequently as I used to. I've been noticing it for a while but just shrugged and said "depression lulz I'll fix it one day". I think my dad let it beat him. I think he gave it all he had with his second wife -I remember him seeming genuinely happy - I think he had no will to try again when that one fell apart. He's gotten more and more closed off it seems, but so have I so maybe it's just me. I see the past and future in my father and my sons, mostly james and colin. I am starting to get flashbacks of the things I'm saying to them being said to me (or something similar) and how I felt in that situation. It breaks my heart. I am pretty sure i am autistic. I have struggled with everything my entire life. Social interactions being the worst. I hang out with whoever accepts me, within reason, or maybe I just got lucky. The army at least got me out of the echo chamber I was in and probably helped me learn some critical thinking. Katy Mead is the beautiful human that has taught me so much emotional intelligence and made me aware of how little I know. A lot of it seems to be very common communication problems though so I don't attribute that to autism but it is certainly exacerbated by it.
My mind is wandering.
Thought 5
I still need more answers. I finally figured out the mystery of "you don't seem anxious". I've been told some variation of this by lots of people, including at least one therapist. I've lived long enough and been in enough situations that I've learned to navigate public interactions. Its stressful and I'm never quite sure if I nailed it; it's like knowing how to order a meal and ask for directions in another language. I know enough to sightsee but if they deviate from the script, I'm imidiately lost. My public mask is old and has seen a lot. As it grows, my true self shrinks and atrophies.
Thought 6
Our hobbies are our escapes. The outdoors was my dad's, video games was mine and is my kid's. I've noticed my fathers decline in interest in his hobby, and I've noticed the loss of interest in or patience with my own interests. We've pushed everyone away. Every failed relationship is another scar because we invest so much energy into maintaining them. I don't know how much of this actual applies to my father or just me, but we're a lot alike and have ended up in very similar places in life; very few friends, difficulty maintaining communication with children, failed marriages, anger problems, low mumble speech, hate having to repeat ourselves, road rage.
Though 7
I think part of the problem is that maybe I'm just not into the same things anymore but I refuse to try new things or when I do I just drift back into my comfort zone. I thought it was depression (and it may be) but this seems likely as well.
Thought 8
My life has been a series of "do-overs". Like "ok, starting tomorrow" has been something I've said to myself probably monthly, if not weekly. Those commitments are usually broken at the very first crossroads of do task or don't do task. As a christian I routinely got "re-saved" because I couldn't figure out how to stay high on jesus with an emotionally desperate re-do for fucking realzies this time I swear jesus.
In marriage it meant boiling points due to my neglect that would often have us resort to a "dating period" or something similar where we'd go back to basics. I don't remember all the details of all the fights we had but I feel safe in saying that they all failed because of the three things that consumed every spare second of my time that wasn't committed to the army: drinking, playing video games, and spending time with the few friends I had. Lindsey used to listen to me scream at video games for hours and I don't know how she didn't lose her fucking mind. My drinking got more and more out of control. It let me be outgoing and free of constant worry. Until it didn't. After a while it only dulled it. That feels right. Either way, it was a problem. Until about 7 months ago I was drinking almost every day until I cut back for work. It had consumed me but I struggled so hard. Now I smoke weed and instead, and I think and I write. The weed is a problem too though, despite being so much less harsh, I lose all motivation to do anything. I don't want to do this shit anymore but I'm having a super hard time swallowing life right now.
Small thought 1
I convinced myself I was an introvert; I'm not. I want to talk to people, but every conversation is a minefield.
Small thought 2
I've always been relieved when people that I am forced to be around are on the phone because it meant for sure that I wouldn't have to speak to them/act for them
submitted by TheYeastFactory to adultautism [link] [comments]

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