New Zealand Gambling Laws on Land - Online Betting

New Zealand Article on eSports betting "Concerns online games are leading to underage gambling"

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England vs New Zealand 2nd ODI Match Prediction and Online Cricket Betting Tips

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India vs New Zealand 1st ODI Today Match Prediction and Online Betting Tips

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Hypothetical: Scrub to Scratch in 18 months. Is it even remotely possible?

Me and a buddy have recently gotten into golf and have both fallen in love with the game over the last 5 weeks, playing approx 15 rounds in that time. Neither of us are fantastic by any means, we both play some great shots from time to time but we struggle a lot with consistency, usually having 1 or 2 holes each round where we score double figures. We haven't recorded a birdie yet but we've had about 10 pars between us so far. We don't have an official handicap yet, but I've created a spreadsheet using a handicap formula I found online and I believe our handicaps are both sitting in the mid 40s. I know that's really not great but it's dropping rapidly and we're predicting that we'll probably both be in the mid 30s by the time we've played 25ish rounds.
Earlier this week we tried predicting how many rounds it would take us to break 100. Then today we both played our best rounds ever. I shot 118 after a horrendous 66 on the front 9 followed up by a 52 on the back, my friend shot a 112 with 58 on the front and 54 on the back. If we're capable of 9 hole scores of 52 and 54 that include 3 putts, 4 putts and multiple scuffed shots then I feel like we're both just consistency over 18 holes away from breaking 100.
This is when the hypothetical questions began. First we asked whether either of us would accept a bet, laying a large amount of money at 5-1 odds, essentially winning more than a comfortable years salary (purely hypothetical, neither of us would make a bet of that size), if we could break 90 within a year. After a lot of discussion we both decided that if we could essentially play golf full time for a year with the incentive of a sizeable years salary, then there should be no reason we couldn't break 90 within a year.
Then we took it a step further, and this was where we wanted to get the opinion of some golfers much more experienced and knowledgeable than ourselves. If a golfer such as ourselves, at our current skill level and with our limited experience, took 18 months off to play golf full time, would it be even remotely possible to achieve a scratch handicap? Here are the parameters. $15,000 to spend up front on properly fitted clubs, memberships, professional lessons, other golfing equipment and expenses. We can only count scores towards our official handicap if the round was played from the tips (this will add a lot of extra difficulty as neither of us are huge hitters). If achieved then we win a life changing amount of money, so motivation will never be a problem. This would be treated as a full-time job, "working" at least 6 days a week and over 10 hours a day either playing, practicing, studying or working out.
A bit about me. I'm 26 years old and live in New Zealand. We have plenty of courses to choose from in our city, as well as an indoor simulator if the weather or lack of daylight doesn't allow for outdoor golf. I'm not in great shape and I'm not overly strong or naturally athletic, so I would also have to work on my fitness and strength on top of my golf. I currently have a slight slice on my drives and long iron shots that I would need to fix, but that has been improving over the 5 weeks we've been playing. My maximum driver length is currently about 230-240yards if I hit it perfectly, usually closer to 200. Approx 160y with my 5i through to approx 100y with my PW.
This is all hypothetical of course, being able to take 18 months off to play golf full time would be an absolute dream. But we just want to know, given all these parameters, would it be possible for golfers like us to go from scrub to scratch after 18 months of playing full time, or is that completely insane?
TL;DR : Could a relatively new golfer with less than 20 rounds under their belt and a mid 40s handicap become a scratch golfer within 18 months if they treated golf as a full-time job and didn't have to worry about start up costs?
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[Table] IamAn orchestra conductor - I wave my arms for a living (or did, during non-COVID times)! AMA!

Source
The conductor answered nearly all the questions, so there were some repetitive ones mixed in.
Questions Answers
Could an orchestra actually function/perform perfectly fine without you? The musicians all have their music in front of them and and a good part of their training has to do with really learning to play with each other, whether in the section, like string players matching the way they play, or within the orchestra, like when percussionists really know how to play with other instruments in the orchestra (unlike strings, percussionists can't really just "sneak in"). Honestly 85% of the time an orchestra might not need a conductor at all. But especially during times when the tempo is flexible a conductor is essential. And there needs to be an agreement on an artistic approach to the work. While some conductor-less orchestras have developed amazing systems to gain consensus about an artistic vision, in most cases the conductor is the one that unifies the approach to a piece. There might be a crescendo, a swelling in the music, but how is that crescendo done? With urgency? With patience and a slow build? The conductor generally decides those aspects.
the below is a reply to the above
Hmmm, doesn't the Hannover Band play (and record) without a conductor? There are several conductor-less orchestras, one of the most famous being the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra which has released many recordings. New Century Chamber Orchestra in the SF Bay Area is conductor-less, and there are many others. But the vast majority of orchestras use conductors.
I have my hands in the air for a living too--only directing heavy equipment, so actually completely unrelated. Do your arms get tired? My arm actually feel asleep yesterday. What are the pro tips for tired conductor arms? You ever think about installing dry wall? I bet those guys got nothing on you. That's why we use batons! For conductors the tiring part comes when using your shoulders. The more just using forearms and a baton, the more stamina you have. And then when you're older you don't have big shoulder issues like many people have. And batons are designed to be ultra light and balanced so not too much strain.
Are you still able to make a living as an orchestra conductor with COVID impacting performances for live audiences? Many orchestras have completely shut down, some even completely cancelling their 20-21 seasons. For musicians it's a very difficult time as even when restrictions are relaxed, it'll be hard to get audiences into a concert hall when it's an enclosed space with lots of people over a longer period of time. So it's very difficult to know when the industry will be back. Many orchestras are pivoting to online concerts, but obviously it's not the same at all.
Some of my groups are now fully online for the time being, so it's not a complete loss. Even if the activities aren't full concerts, we're working on staying in the public eye and continuing to make artistic contributions during this time.
Yes, possible to make living, but the situation is now completely different on the ground!
Why does the media portray conductors like they're assholes with horrible tempers? Tom and Jerry and Ghostbusters for example. It used to be that conductors were actually like that, dictators on the podium. Toscanini, the famous italian conductor, was the Music Director for the NBC Orchestra for a long time. He was famous for his tirades. And there are still some conductors today with terrible tempers.
But today orchestral players have a lot more say about the conductors and even rate them. There are secret evaluations that orchestras have on conductors that we actually never see. Most conductors love collaborating with musicians, so conductors like Simon Rattle are leading the new charge of how conductors interact with orchestras.
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Nice thanks for answering. I'm a union member and am curious if (I believe they're unionized) the musicians union had any role to play in musician's rights so far as dealing with a jerk conductor and the evaluations you mentioned. Oh of course, ICSOM, OCSM, and ROPA all use evaluations and can request of other orchestras the evaluations of a conductor they're considering hiring for guesting or longer term things. And yes, many musician friends have good stories of the union standing up for players, even in the middle of rehearsal.
One opera conductor was pissed off about one section that the first violins were playing. It had happened to be that the second rehearsal had a few more subs in the first violin section - which is probably why some of the things rehearsed and intonation weren't like they were at the end of the first rehearsal. Anyway, the conductor was really mad and pointed at one of the players to stand up and play the excerpt solo. The union rep immediately jumped up and said, "maestro, unfortunately you can't do that - you can't single out players." Then the conductor said, fine the stand partner can stand up too. Union rep - "sorry, can't do that either." The players' committee and the conductor then went out to have a long discussion about this all... :p
Which instrument do you think is underutilized and you would like to hear more from? Hm, at this moment? Why not the theremin? That's the instrument that was often used for alien spooky sounds in old tv shows and movies. But it can be a gorgeous instrument, especially in the hands of somebody like carolina eyck. SF Ballet just did Little Mermaid with a score from Lera Auerbach. It uses theremin throughout and it's absolutely amazing as a legit instrument.
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are there any recorded works you might recommend that use a theremin throughout? I don't know if there's a released recording of Little Mermaid - but this video describes the composer's thoughts on using the theremin in the ballet:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJfUYS7fbHk
What are your thoughts on symphonies playing along to movies like the Harry Potter series? My kids and I absolutely love these when they are available, but what do you and the other musicians think about this? Is it boring, exciting, or just another job? John Williams is a personal hero of mine. His background and training is rooted in classical music and continues the traditions of many of the greats. Most classical musicians I know absolutely love his music though it's a pain to play (since it can be really difficult). I remember conducting a pops concert of Harry Potter music when the movies had just come out. The orchestra players didn't know the music because it was so new and they were so upset because it was really difficult. And it was a pops concert so they only had one rehearsal to put it together.
All music though can get tiring if you do it too much - I'm lucky to be involved in many areas of music (choral, orchestra, opera, ballet, pops). If I had to do Star Wars every single weekend... well... honestly, I don't think I could get tired of that... :D
You ever go full Toscanini on a section/musician? One never goes full Toscanini ;)
Do you require that everyone refer to you as Maestro? Seinfeld... heh
I don't require it and do find it awkward, but often people do it as a default, especially if you don't know the person.
Who are some contemporary conductors you’re impressed by? I can't get enough of Anna Clyne. Conducted her night ferry last year which is a fantastic work. She just released a new cello concerto called Dance which is unbelievable.
Hello!! I'm in college for teaching band/orchestra and hoping to eventually get into professional conducting. I've noticed there's a distinct lack of women in the profession, at least on the instrumental side. It definitely seems to be a unspoken thing in instrumental music that women stick to the younger kids. What do you think we can do to help make instrumental conducting/teaching less intimidating for women to advance in? Do you have any specific tips for women (or anyone) entering the field? Is there a way to make myself stand out against the other candidates besides networking and practice? I understand if you don't want to answer this question as I can see how it would be controversial, but thanks for doing this! I hate that it's still common for some of the old guard to disparage female conductors. Conducting is a hard profession as it is anyway, but those that persevere will definitely make it. Definitely reach out to Marin Alsop, Joann Falletta - they really go out of their way to support female conductors. Orchestras will eat conductors alive, so it's key to know how to gain their respect.
This 27 year old conducted NY Phil and the flute player asked, do you want me to play it this way or this other way. The conductor said, the other way. The flutist snapped back, I played it the other way before and you didn't say anything, were you even listening?
Some conductors might have flinched, but he just laughed and said, "no, i didn't hear what you played, but i'm glad you brought it up." he gained the respect of the orchestra and they just got back to work.
There will still be people that disparage you - for being young, or being female, or being short, or not using a baton or whatever. But as long as you know your stuff, have a good working relationship with them, and don't waste their time - all that will go away. Ultimately they want to work with somebody that's not going to waste their time and who is going to get stuff done. After that, they won't care about anything else!
What's your favorite piece/composer to conduct? Anything you'd like to conduct but have never gotten the chance? Anything you see on a program and go "Ugghhhhhhhh"? Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet - so much color and power. The last scene, the death of Juliet, is so amazing.
There are hundreds of pieces I've never conducted yet, gotta do them all ;)
There are certainly pieces that are fun to conduct but I don't want to hear in concert. But more often it's the the performance isn't engaging. Even if it's a piece I wouldn't think to listen to but it's an amazing performance, it'll be great!
the below is a reply to the above
Is there a rule that when conducting pieces from a ballet sans dancers you have to conduct it at an absurd speed that would give anyone who ever danced it a heart attack? Actually, SF Ballet was on tour to NYC and we were doing a piece that they were doing, but a completely different choreography. The NYCB dancers heard our tempo and completely freaked out - they immediately came out and were like that's utterly impossible to dance to! Heh, that was fun.
the below is a reply to the above
I can not remember when SF ballet came here. Anyways, and on top of that NYCB is already too fast since Balanchine is the F1 of ballet. Did you or do you dance currently? It's a notorious battle between musicians/conductors and dancers about tempi like you mention. A hint that I'll mention is that musicians tend to prefer to be too fast when working with dancers than too slow. If it's too slow it kills the dancers, whereas if it's too fast they can leave out something. Obviously neither are ideal and I love collaborating and trying to really connect to what is going on on stage. But yes, many ballet conductors are told "if you miss a tempo, better to be too fast than too slow." (for what it's worth)
Forgive me if this seems ignorant, but I'd like to ask, with each person playing their instrument and having a sheet in front of them, what is the role of a conductor? Do you point towards the people you want to take the lead in a particular verse, and then point up or down depending on the volume and tone you want them to play at? Just answered a similar question above! But I'll also add that professional orchestras often put together music very quickly. A normal pace is the week of the concerts (3-5 rehearsals). There are many concerts, especially pops or education concerts, which have only a single rehearsal! So a conductor is needed to ensure that the process is efficient.
Yes, cuing (pointing or gesturing towards certain instruments) is an important part of conducting. As mentioned in the other comment, the musicians have the music in front of them. It might say to play loud, but how are they to play loud? Aggressive and with force? Warm and comforting? Brilliant and bright? The conductor and our gestures help convey the style of the music.
the below is a reply to the above
[deleted] It has to do with perception of weight often. Gesturing with a very tight intense arm will imply aggression. If you hold your arms like you're holding something, like a pumpkin in implies a weight that will imply a certain type of tone that is warmer, fuller, richer. If your hands are palms down and relatively higher, like elevated near your face, it's like they're floating. You might imply a more ethereal, lighter sound in that manner.
the below is a second reply to the original answer
Not always gestures - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7_6Z33eCaY (a video I watched a number of times - always get a kick out of the expressions) Hey man, with masks on during performances and rehearsals I have to work on my eyebrow gestures too... :D
How did you find your calling? I was on a choir tour in undergrad (as a piano major) and we were giving our 7th concert out of something like 14 concerts. So the same repertoire each time that we had been working on for months. However, this performance was transformative. One of the works was a Ukrainian carol and this seventh performance happened to be at a Ukrainian church with a large Ukrainian population. We realized they all knew the carol we were singing and there was something transformed in the performance. The entire room, audience, performers, conductor were fully in the performance together. I realized at that point that the conductor was the conduit for the energy in the room - it was the start of my love of conducting.
the below is a reply to the above
Was it Shchedryk? That wasn't the particular piece but we did have a version of Carol of the Bells that we performed. I actually don't remember the song itself, but it was a holiday song about girls singing and rocking their dolls?
How much do you get to override the arranger? Like if something just isn't working for your players, can/do you rewrite some measures here and there to keep everybody happy? Yes, that happens a lot with new works or pop pieces. Sometimes if you get a poor arranger they write something that's not playable for the instrument. So if the arranger or composer isn't there, the conductor and player can change the music. Sometimes we have to make interpretive decisions, that even still happens with composers like Beethoven. The instruments during Beethoven's time didn't have the full range of today's instruments and sometimes he wrote awkward things for them to play to adjust. But if those instruments had the full range, it's obvious he would have just written it how he wanted it. So you can choose to do what is currently written, or what you think Beethoven would have actually wanted.
Doing concerts and traveling a lot, how do you balance that with family life, having pets, hobbies, ...? Honestly it's REALLY hard. Many very famous conductors who are on the road have horrible personal lives. Luckily I have/had a good balance between concerts near my home and traveling. My wife likes to bring up at dinner parties when I left for Paris for five weeks only a month after our second child was born. But I have many mornings free and early parts of the week so I see the kids to school for drop off and am involved with their school a bit as well.
As for hobbies, I'm a sucker for restaurants/drinks so that works really well for travel. And if it's a particularly long trip and things make sense regarding school, oftentimes people have their families travel with them.
Obviously everything's changed now and I'm home almost 24/7. I'm WAY more stir crazy as it's a drastic lifestyle change for me. But managing, like everybody else - chatting for this IAMA helps ;)
When the DJ says to "put your hands in the air" and "wave them around like you just don't care", do you join in? Or is that considered taking your work home with you? man, but i wave them around like i do care. :p
Since you're a conductor and there is a pandemic going on, how do you continue your career from your home? I mean, I don't know an app that has zero latency for musicians to communicate and play along, so everyone needs to record their own tracks and send them to an arranger in order to have a clean recording. So we don't need a conductor in this case, right? Is there a way that you can continue as a conductor? If there is none, are you playing an instrument or are you doing the arranging? Conducting in the traditional sense in Covid time is impossible. There's just no way for a large group of people/instrumentalists to actually play together. Too many issues with people's internet speeds, the delay of processing, actual distance, etc. All the videos you see online of virtual performances are artificial. They're not following the conductor, they're following a click track or a recording they're listening to (hence all the headphones). But Music Directors do more than just conduct, there's a lot of administrative responsibilities so we're still generally employed.
Thank you so much for doing this AMA! I am an undergrad for music ed. My goal is to be a choral director for advanced or professional choirs. I also hope to get involved in the musical theater scene. Do you have any experience working with choir or theater? How does your conducting style change when there is no orchestra? Do you change your style for ballet or opera? How much do you deviate from the traditional conducting pattern? I notice a lot of high level conductors rarely just beat time unless there is something of importance. Do you have any advice for someone starting down this path? P.s I would love if I could get the chance to chat live(or by email) about your thoughts around music and covid. I actually started in choral and symphonic choral conducting! Yes, conducting for ballet/opera is completely different, especially opera, because your function is hyper critical. You're trying to align the sounds from the stage, which could be 40 feet away from you, with the sounds of the orchestra below the stage. It's really thrilling to do. In general the conductor needs to be of greatest service to the ensemble. So with professional orchestras, they need something very different than amateur or student groups. Opera orchestras need something different than choirs. So your conducting will change greatly.
I deviate a lot from conducting patterns and would suggest practicing musical gestures first. I used to practice conducting patterns a lot and it's hard to break that as a default. Since you want to portray the music, it's good to connect to musical gestures too.
Sure, I'm happy to chat - since my website is up in the proof section (www.mingluke.com), just email me through there.
If I (with basically no knowledge of classical music, other than being able to recognise some pieces from adverts) listened to the same piece of music conducted by three different people, would I be able to discern a difference? I assume you would be able to? Linked to that, I'm curious about whether conductors have their own discernible styles; would you be able to identify a particular conductor on hearing, for the first time, a particular piece conducted by them? Yes! Definitely I think you'd be able to tell the difference. Obviously with more exposure, elements of each work would start to stand out more. But there are very different versions out there of various works.
Listen to Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 8 - the heavy metal movement:
Example 1 - Manic and out of control (deliberately so)
Example 2 - tragic and depressing
The first example is deliberately so fast and out of control, the playing is angular and aggressive. The second is much slower and really with (deliberately) better tone but still intense.
It depends what affect you're looking to achieve - even the same conductor will change the way they approach a work each time they do it.
Are you also a musician? Did you go to college? What did you study? Went to grad school and undergrad for music. Grad school was conducting, undergrad was piano pedagogy and music education. Piano was my main instrument and I still play a bit today. But had some tendinitis issues so I try to limit my playing!
I also play violin and in the past used to sit in a community orchestra... and complain about how much conductors talk. ;)
the below is a reply to the above
I'm a budding pianist so I had to ask this, can you tell me how you had the issue? I want to try and avoid that in the future! Seriously take rests part of every hour. Remember that the pain you might feel in your wrist is the friction from inflammation. When you're having pain in your wrists and after advil you feel better, that's when it's healing, not that it's actually healed yet. Just like anything, it's building in the habits of resting enough, even if you think you don't need it. You do. And going to type at the computer is not giving your fingers/arms a rest. Those things! Hyper important!
What's the opera house or concert hall that's on your wishlist to conduct, and what opera house/concert hall impressed you the most? Bolshoi theater in Moscow was one of my favorites. Amazing history and orchestra. The sound from the pit was so powerful and live.
I've never conducted in the concertgebouw - would love to conduct there!
Reading up on John Cage, he apparently had some difficulties with some orchestras. He describes Bernstein as not getting what he and Feldman and others were doing and just allowing each member of the orchestra to improvise whatever they wanted was basically the same thing. And how members of the orchestra destroyed some of the equipment he had purchased for them to use (contact mics, etc). This was all in the late '50s, if I recall, but even in the '70s and '80s he had to stipulate in writing a minimum amount of practice time or he would withdraw the piece because apparently orchestras would assume that they could just wing it when it came to his music and not practice it ahead of time. I assume things are better now -- especially with Cage -- but do you run into pieces that some members of orchestras rebel against even if in minor ways? Do you conduct much music in that more avant-garde/experimental vein? How have audience reactions to this kind of music evolved over the years? Is it the essentially the same? Does location matter (thinking the LA Phil and SF Phil vs more conservative places) the most? Oh god, it's actually NOT often better. There are conductors and orchestras that despise playing new music, even those that are known for doing new works. Sometimes composers are really given very little rehearsal time, or players complain about how the part is written.
I absolutely LOVE new music - it's not only discovering what the composer is saying, but also learning the musical voice of a composer. This is different than in Beethoven's time as Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn were all writing within a certain style. Today's composers are finding their musical voices in addition to figuring out what to say about their works.
But I'm not known as a new works conductor so I rarely get asked to do new works. I think that audiences sometimes are scared of new works, but if an organization or a conductor really embraces it and shows why these works are important, than that goes a long way to making it exciting for audiences.
Is there a particular section of an orchestra that you are not a "fan" of? I went to college as a piano major (did not work out, too competitive and I wasn't dedicated enough) and I had a personal beef with the french horns. Are you trying to get me killed. I love ALL the instrument groups in the orchestra. Equally. Because, you know, if I didn't, I'd be in trouble. Especially the bassoons. :p
the below is a reply to the above
As a trombonist I can confirm the answer is the trombone section. We think every note is a solo and Interpret every dynamic marking as triple-mother-forte. Never look at the trombones... it only encourages them... (Strauss)
I've been to an outdoor performance of the 1812 Overture with real cannons, what weird instrument have you pointed your baton for conduction and direction? And how could you communicate to someone firing a cannon that you'd want more emotion from their performance? :) Cannons are always the top for weird instruments. But the vibraslap (flexatone) is a favorite of mine for fun instruments. You can hear it in this recording.
During the performance, the conductor is, of course, God. But before that, do you have to listen to the stage managers like the rest of the mortals? Always listen to the stage managers... :) some of my favorite people.
Actually, once my vest came undone and the stage manager came rushing out on stage after me to fix it... the audience got a laugh out of that...
As a conductor, how big an influence do you have on the final performance. Would you be able to recognize the conductor based on their "signature style" when hearing a piece of music being performed? There are some stylistic traits that might be identifiable, but the ensemble has SO much to do with the sound. Chicago Symphony was famous for their brass, Vienna has a very famous overall sound. Simon Rattle once did a Beethoven cycle with Berlin and London at the same time - the two recordings are very different!
Have you ever conducted a combination of two music pieces? Yes! Some pieces were meant to be played on top of each other. I forget the piece, but one piece is actually supposed to be the sounds of a cell phone and conversation interrupting another.
But some pieces are meant to sound like two pieces played at the same time - Charles Ives was famous for that. He lived in the center of a small town that had two marching bands. The bands, to avoid bothering each other, would play on opposite sides of the town. However, where Ives lived he could hear both bands. So he often wrote music to sound like two pieces played at the same time that had nothing to do with each other.
University viola student here and I found we actually happen to have mutual friends on Facebook LOL. Music world is small. Anyways I wanted to ask some things about what you listen for during auditions. I’ve heard many things from my teachers and other musicians who have been on the audition panel about what THEY listen for but haven’t heard all that much about what the conductors themselves are looking for. -What can make an audition positively stand out from the rest? -Are there any automatic giveaways that someone auditioning has what you are looking for or vice versa? And how long do you have to listen for you to know? Edit: One more question- Best viola joke you know? You're a violist so you already know all the best jokes! But of course, my favorite is that this violist ran up to the conductor whining and said, "maestro - my stand partner detuned one of my strings!!" the conductor said, "man that's childish, oh well, sorry to hear about that." the violist whined again and said, "you don't understand the worst part - he didn't tell me which one!!!"
The Met Opera is doing masterclasses and often on audition prep:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89618549528?pwd=cXNlSE44c1pHTmlCUThGR09LNGREZz09
July 15 11am EST. This is the cello/bass masterclass as the viola has already passed. But yes, feel free to watch.
Auditions are brutal. Seriously. Single mistakes are perfectly fine, unless there's a hint of some systemic issue. Most people want to hear personality and a deep understanding of the music in excerpts.
Other than orchestras and music groups simply trying to convert ticket sales to "live stream" events, or "zoom" concerts, are you hearing or seeing any examples of new trends or innovations in "live" performances amid/post COVID? Classical/new music concert-going will be forever changed. Out here in Boston, my partner is still deeply mourning the personal and professional loss of what would have been a pretty baller 20/21 season. I'm so saddened for all my colleagues and friends in the performing arts. I suspect many won't be able to recover. It's so tough because the power of music is the direct communication, not only with the audience but with the other players. I have no idea what trends will continue but everybody agrees that zoom and other virtual programming seem much more temporary fixes than industry changes. Unless there's a way to have truly simultaneous playing virtually it'll be impossible to have actual performances together.
It's really just a tough time for everybody - something like 40% of restaurants have permanently closed because of COVID. My best it to try to keep people involved and excited about music. Hopefully we'll get back to performing sooner than later. It's hard to hear about orchestras in New Zealand and Europe already returning when in the US it looks like we won't be there for at least another year (for performances).
My perspective is the work of the conductor is making sure the piece is interpreted correctly by the orchestra. Making sure the orchestra is playing it flawlessly as a unit and also that the notes and timing are correct. What we see on stage is mostly theater. How far off am I? Very close! The only difference it that there are many ways to interpret a piece, so the conductor decides the artistic vision of that particular performance. Orchestras often keep different sets for the same piece since conductors will have different approaches to the work.
The conductor is essential during the performances too though. It can be very hard for orchestra members to hear across the stage and there's still a lot of flexibility that happens in performances. There IS a lot of theater and show during the performance, but lots of practical need too.
I keep going back to the recording of Klaus Makela conducting the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra on the Ninth Symphony. He seems to express such affection for the musicians and (at least to my eye) seems to be connecting deeply. Am I over-romanticizing this, or is this anywhere near the experience for an experienced conductor? The filming of the performance was wonderful as well! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkQapdgAa7o&t=1674s The connection with the orchestra is utterly key. If you don't have the trust and respect from the orchestra, they will literally try to ignore you. The best performances, at least to me, are those where the orchestra and instrumentalists truly respect each other and work together for the performances. It really is one of the most critical things!
Favorite choral pieces written in the 21st century? Oh I'm such a sucker for a cappella like Eric Whitacre's Sleep.
I play the violin. I dream of being an orchestra conductor since I was little. My idol is Gustavo Dudamel since we are from the same country. Any advice on how to be a conductor? Learn your instrument as best you can and just be as curious as you can be. Try to ask conductors for their advice and try to emulate the ones that the orchestras respect. Learn as much about music history, theory, orchestration, etc. as you can!
Favorite funny memory from a performance/rehearsal? I was conducting Giselle (ballet) for the first time and there was a hunting scene with two dogs in it. In the middle of the scene they just start having sex - the audience went nuts. They were laughing so much that the orchestra couldn't even hear themselves play (and couldn't see what was going on). Best part was the ballet artistic director was so mad that at intermission he went backstage and fired one of the dogs...
What is the most satisfying part of your job? There are moments in the concert where everything goes right. The intonation, alignment, the way everybody plays together, a particularly beautiful solo from a player. Those are my favorite moments.
How does one get to carnegie hall? To perform? You just rent it out - it's actually a common rental and I can say I "performed" there when I was like 13 or so and also gave a piano performance in one of the smaller rooms at age 18.
Who were the conductor you were influenced by? Kleiber's musicianship and ease of conducting. Bernstein's infectious buoyant energy. Simon Rattle's curiosity and joy.
This just popped up in my feed so I hope it’s not too late to ask a question. With the autonomy that conductors have (urgency of a crescendo example); how close do you feel modern day renditions of the classics are to say a Mozart or Beethoven’s vision of their original piece? Period performances, which is the practice of trying to recreate as much as possible the original performance practices of Mozart's and Beethoven's day is a whole field of classical music. Instruments have greatly changed since that time and the range and strength of instruments have increased in the modern day. So right away modern orchestras have a different sound. There are some orchestras, like the Vienna Philharmonic, who are considered the authority for how Mozart and Beethoven should be performed. But there really are different ways of approaching their works. Beethoven's metronome markings are notoriously weird, people even speculate it was broken they're so off from what seems normal. So a lot of debate!
the below is a reply to the above
Thank you so much for your response and this AMA. I totally get your point about the evolution of instruments, if I could ask you one more question regarding that; how would you reconcile today’s instruments and said advancements to the unicorn of orchestra instruments, the “Strad”. Cellist hobbyist here and to the guy that questioned your intent on doing this AMA, screw him. Eh, it's okay - the guy's a troll - his account is filled with him saying the same thing for various IAMAs - so not even worth getting worked up about it.
Yes, with stringed instruments the old italians, bunch of french, and some germans are fantastic! But with some instruments, like basses, wind instruments, various brass instruments, a lot of changes have taken place over time. Even in Brahms' horn trio was written for natural horn, not the modern horn. And man, the tuba is still going through changes.
Many modern high end string instruments are really fantastic instruments. And the difference between them and strads etc really isn't that much. Obviously strads have a marketing value and historic value. But as instruments, there are plenty that are very close.
How does one become an conductor? I’ve always wondered Most people learn an instrument as best they can first. There typically aren't undergrad conducting programs - just grad programs. They have to learn music theory, history, and how each instrument works (but they don't have to know how to play them). If you take the responsibility to lead a group, you need to know everything about the piece you're conducting!
I listened to an interesting podcast recently in which somebody from an orchestra described some stereotypes about the musicians who play different instruments, with the violin players as prima donnas, the viola player as wannabe violin players and so on. How would you briefly describe the players of the major instrument groups? Heh... a lot of those tend to be true... this is a cop out but I'm going to play nice and not stereotype orchestra sections too much. Except for the contrabassoon specialists... they're a special breed... j/k :p
the below is a reply to the above
Hey now! Have you ever gotten to play a contrabasoon? I’m just saying it rattles something deep inside. It could change your life. One of my closest friends is married to a contra player - heh :) I just like giving him a hard time. Beauty and Beast excerpt is so great too. And had a crush on a contra player when i was younger, man, she was good with a knife :p
Hi maestro, I’m a composer and have lots of questions. In your career, what have been the most challenging pieces to tackle and why? Which pieces have required the most workshopping with the orchestra? What are the biggest sins a musician can commit and have you ever had to fire somebody? Have you ever heard this piece? I’ve always wanted to get a conductor’s take. And finally, what’s the most underrated ballet and why? I think the word challenging can be taken in two different ways - one could be technically/practically challenging, the other could be musically challenging. Practically, works with a lot of changing meter but also shifting emphases often are difficult. John Adams is famous for music that doesn't sound like the meter that it's written in. Some of those works are pretty challenging. Musically it's all over the place - even Mozart can be difficult to get musically satisfying!
Musicians need to prepare their parts and be ready to work on orchestra. While I've never fired people during a concert, I've definitely stopped hiring people or removed them from the orchestra for not preparing (multiple times).
I love Zappa!!!
Most underrated ballet - it's hard because there are ones that are audience favorites, but all the new works out there can be absolutely amazing. There's a work called Hummingbird by Liam Scarlett that I absolutely love!!
Do you think you can be good with dance pad with your legs? I'm actually notoriously terrible with dancing! Conductors aren't supposed to move their feet so perhaps I lost some ability there.
Do you wave your hands when you talk on the phone? AND pace. I find it pretty annoying that I can't sit still when talking on the phone... it's really bothersome...
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What you should know about gay sex - from a future porn education star

Below is a dump of things I think gay guys should know. It’s long, heads up, because it’s thorough. Also, I am annoyingly wholesome, haha. It can be cheesy but embrace the cheese. There’s useful stuff on the other side.
My credentials are: - A lot of sex from ages 18 to 31. - Successful open relationship of 11+ years, despite rocky events in our lives. (Recently ended, no one’s fault.) - Currently creating an educational sex series, so this advice comes from a lot of research, thought and experience. The series will be called Pornducation and will feature me giving sex tips and making jokes while literally having sex. Made a pilot already. It turned out as fun as I thought it would be.
To be clear, this info is a work-in-progress. For instance, I haven’t yet run it all past sexual health organizations. I stand behind my advice but it’s good to assume that NO ONE’s advice is 100% accurate or 100% everything you need to know.
Here is what I have so far, much condensed. Feel free to share it yourself. I'd appreciate credit and a mention of Pornducation but that's not as important as the sharing. Enjoy!
THINGS I BELIEVE GUYS SHOULD KNOW
Important: - Everyone is surprisingly different. Every guideline has an exception. These tips are commonly applicable, though, and a good place to start. - Safety tips apply to everyone. - Advice is great but there's always a chance that it's wrong. Listen to yourself and your body first. - Where not sure if something is good or comfortable? Ask. If you ask matter-of-factly, it looks like confidence. Confidence isn’t knowing everything will go well. It’s knowing that you’ll be fine even if it goes bad. The bird doesn’t rely on the branch that might break, but on its wings. - Use moans and body motion to indicate when things feel good. Arch your back, thrust your hips, or groan, for instance. Communicating what you like increases the chances of getting more of it. - You can always say no to sex, at any point. Any point. Even the very second before sex you can say no. Even during sex, you can change your mind. This is such a strong rule that, at least in New Zealand, even if you were paid for that sex, you can stop at any point. Your body autonomy takes priority over any contract. You can also say no to certain sex acts but yes to others. You can say yes to sex acts in certain ways but say no to others. You can change your mind. It’s your body, your rules. That’s true of other people’s bodies and their rules, too, of course. Anyone who isn’t okay with that is an arsehole. - You won't be good at sex straight away, it's a skill. You'll do it imperfectly and learn, that's natural. - Wash around the head of your dick and your butthole, especially just before sex. Just use water and/or light soap. Your skin is sensitive there. - If your fingers might go inside anyone, trim them. This makes sure you won't nick anything. Freshly cut nails are sharp, though. I keep a nail-file specifically so that I can trim and blunt my nails before a guy comes around. - Go for guys you think are out of your league. You may surprise yourself. - Be kind. Not just for them but for you. It’s surprising how many times the right thing to do also benefits you. For instance, if you are nice to a lover, they may decide to try something adventurous with you because they feel they can trust you. - Be kind to yourself. Not just for you but for them. It’s surprising how many times the right thing for you also benefits others. For instance, if you set-up and enforce emotional boundaries to make sure no one takes more than you have to give? Then others can relax around you because they know they aren’t going to accidentally mess you up. - ANYTHING THAT GOES IN YOUR ARSE NEEDS A FLARED END. Arses are known to suck objects up. You wouldn’t be the first person to go to hospital because they have a cucumber way up in them. Remember: Without a base, without a trace. - Cheap dildos are a risk, too. They might be made of something that isn’t body safe. Or the dildo could be made dangerously. I've read one story of a dildo bought on Wish that had a hole in the tip, for some reason. Ants crawled in and then he put the dildo in his hole. Wasn’t a great time. Research is, uh... recommended.
Blowjobs: - No teeth. Even clipping a dick with teeth feels bad. Cover your teeth by sucking slightly, it pulls your lips over the teeth. Or pout like it's a duck face. - A dick with a foreskin is more sensitive than one without a foreskin. A blowjob can get oversensitive and unpleasant if you do too much to the head of a penis that has its foreskin. Dicks without a foreskin often prefer a lot of sensation around the head and neck of their penis. - Don't worry about making guys cum yet, sex isn't all about the orgasm. But if a guy says he's close and you want to get him there, keep doing the exact same thing. Maybe just a little more intensely. Changing it up may distract his brain away from cumming. - Deepthroating means putting the penis to your back of your mouth or even down your throat. Sometimes just to hold it there, sometimes to move it to that point and back. This feels good for the other person as it stimulates more of the penis. It’s also hot. You may find it hard to do because of your gag reflex. That’s ok. For most people, your body will reject it at least a little if you put anything at the back of your throat. But, by steadily, gently pushing yourself to go a little further each time, you can reduce that gag reflex. Some people get rid of it completely. I've heard of people practicing with a dildo. - You can give your lovers a similar feeling to deepthroating without having to deepthroat. Put a hand around the lower part of their dick and your mouth around the upper part. Bob the hand along with your mouth. - I also understand that making a fist with your thumb on the inside and clenching it will disable your gag reflex until you stop squeezing. I haven’t tried this one, though. - Moving your hand and mouth on the dick is also a good way to add variety to a blowjob, even if you can deepthroat well. Too much of the same thing can be boring. - I didn't used to like sucking dick but now I do. Don't sweat it. You don't have to do it, though it's polite to return the favour. - When you are the one GETTING a blowjob, be cautious when thrusting into someone's mouth. They won't thank you for making them gag.
Sexual Health: - STI stands for a Sexually Transmitted Infection. If someone has an STI, they may not be aware and can transmit it to you during sex. To be clear, masturbating alone will not give you an STI. Many STI’s are symptomless. They are still good to get tested for and cured, as they can have long-term health effects. Becoming infertile is one possibility. Also, something that is symptomless in you may have symptoms if you pass it along to others. - You can catch Sexually Transmitted Infections, aka STI's, from giving or receiving blowjobs. But HIV is very unlikely. The chances of oral giving you HIV is almost vanishingly small, unless you have a mouth sore or a cut. That's my understanding, at least. - Condoms can prevent STI's, but they're uncommonly used for oral because it feels different. It's up to you what you put in your body and what you consider an acceptable risk. If you decide you want oral to include condoms, that's a valid decision. Be prepared to stand your ground on it with pushy guys, though. The best way to stand your ground is to be okay to not have that sex if the other guy isn't into it. Also, decide that disappointment on the other guys’ end is their issue to deal with. There’s a lot of power in the concept, “You deal with it.” I personally don't use condoms for oral and have caught something maybe 5 times in my throat. Most of them have been in my later years. STI's are on the rise in many places. - Put the condom on like it's a rolled-up beanie. This means: Rolled up bit goes out/up, so that it unrolls down your dick easily. The other way, it's just more awkward and you might reach in and scratch up the latex with your fingernails. - If you put the condom on the wrong way first, it will have precum on it. Precum is a little bit of cum that comes out of the end of your dick when you are hard and aroused. Precum is enough to have a chance of transferring an STI. Throw the condom out and get a new one. - Anal sex has the risk of transferring HIV, so we will talk about that now. You may also have heard of AIDs, which is essentially HIV but further progressed in your body. Left untreated, HIV / AIDs can kill you. HIV can't be cured. But the good news is that nowadays HIV can be suppressed so well that tests won't pick up that you even have it. People with HIV that take their medicine correctly have totally normally lives and run no risk of transferring their HIV. As they say, undetectable means untransmittable. U = U. People who catch HIV? They actually get it from those who are newly infected and THOUGHT they didn’t have it. (HIV negative is a description of someone who doesn't have HIV, by the way. HIV positive means someone with HIV, even if it’s suppressed by medication.) But even with HIV medication, there's still a lot of social problems to navigate. Judgement, shame and out-dated laws affect HIV positive people. So, use condoms to protect yourself. - If you find out that you are HIV positive, reach out to friends and family that you trust. There are also counsellors – the organisation Ending HIV in New Zealand provides 6 free counselling sessions that centre around things like this. You may have something similar in your area. There also will be people in your area who have been dealing with this for years. Heck, you could probably go on Grindr and find someone whose profile mentions that they’re HIV positive. Ask them if they’re willing to talk, even. There are resources and support for you. Reach out. You’ll get through this, like millions of others have. - HIV can also be prevented by taking a daily pill called PrEP (also known as truvada, which is a common brand of PrEP.) If you find the idea of condom-less sex tempting, then PrEP is a good idea in case you give in. But even with PrEP, you can catch other STI's like Gonorrhea and Chlamydia. These are the most common STI's, but they're curable. (Though there are antibiotic-resistant strains in a few places.) At least in New Zealand I liken catching an STI to falling down in the street. It's embarrassing as all hell and it stings. But get up and move on, you'll eventually forget it. - There's also Herpes, which isn't curable, but you can manage breakouts. - Get tested every 3 months if you're ever having a lot of sex. Get tested at least once a year even if sex for you is infrequent. - To get tested, Google “Sexual Health Clinic” in your area or talk to your doctor. A lot of campus’ offer the option and some gay events have quick-testing sites. - It's also a good idea to use condoms even with people you trust. Catching something nasty from a partner who turns out to be cheating is a tale as old as time, honey. - Oil-based lube like Vaseline will break down a condom and make it more likely to fail. Use silicon or water-based lube. These can be found in most supermarkets, sex shops and pharmacies. People are unlikely to pay attention to your purchase, especially if you buy it with confidence.
Bottoming: - Bottoming is receiving a penis into your butt, to create pleasure for both of you. - It shouldn't hurt. Pain is your body saying to stop or slow down. Ignoring it can cause damage. Pain also teaches your body to fear bottoming, so it may clench up in the future. Don’t force your way through the pain. Stop, add more lube, try some relaxing techniques that I will list later. Go slow. If you must, you must. You’ll be far from the first. - You want to show your body that bottoming is okay and even fun. For that, make things as easy as possible, push your limits a little but listen to your body and respond appropriately. - Have an exploratory attitude to the sensations. Try things. Go with what feels good or even just what feeling you are curious about. - This is my own personal theory, but I believe that the brain LEARNS to interpret anal as something sexual. I mean, there are also a lot of physical and mental factors helping this along. Like the prostate, the huge amount on touch sensors in your sphincter and that dick is hoooooot. Also, I should note that some brains work out that anal is sex easier than others. But bottoming is still an acquired taste that many of us need to give ourselves time to acquire. - For this reason, the first time you bottom may feel weird or feel like you want to poop. For most people, after 1-3 times, that gotta-poop feeling stops happening forever, more-or-less. Your brain works out the difference between in and out. If you bottom and feel you want to poop, feel free to get off and use the toilet if that’s more comfortable. Play around if you feel comfortable with that. The feeling may just go away. - Getting on a dick too fast can feel like getting kicked in the nuts. - Only go as hard as you want. - Don't expect to bottom perfectly, especially not the first time. - Use lots of lube, always. - Use a condom to prevent catching STI's. If you use a condom the first time you do anal, you’re much more likely to do so in future. - Each time you bottom, let the dick in slowly once. After that, your butt will gradually warm up and you can change positions and be entered easier, generally. - Bottoming is easier if you warm up your butt first with a finger. Start by putting a finger in a little, then wait until your sphincter has adjusted. Put a bit more of the finger in. Wait until your sphincter relaxes. Put a bit more finger in, then wait, etc. Repeat until the whole finger is in. Have a play around, maybe. Then maybe do the same with another finger. See what you feel you need, it’s fairly variable. THEN do the same with the dick. Put it in a little, wait, in a little, wait, etc. Dicks are often thicker, so it will probably take longer to adjust to than your fingers did. That’s okay. - To repeat: Listen to your body, particularly if you feel pain. That's your body's warning system. - Some things that you can do to help ease the finger or dick in: Notice where your body is tense and relax it, if you can. Shoulders, for instance. Breathe deeply. Make out, to give your brain something else to focus on. Remember that you can stop if you want to. Apparently, pushing your sphincter out like you're pooping can help, I haven't tried. - Easiest angle of entry is to point the dick towards your belly button. (This is because of the angle of the Pubo-Rectal Sling, if you’re an anatomy nerd. That’s the main thing that pulls tight when your butt clenches to protect itself.) - A good first sex position is the Cowgirl. The top lies down, face up. You face him and kneel with your legs on either side of his body. Shuffle back and forth until you find the best spot for the dick to line up with your butt. When and if you’re ready, put it in a little. This can take a few tries and be kind of awkward, even for experts. This position has two advantages: The dick points at your belly button, which we established is the best angle. This position gives you control of how fast you're sitting on the dick. - Using a dildo before the top turns up may be a good way to warm up your butt and to give you confidence. That’s what I often do. - Nearly every guy will lose their erection during sex at some point in their life. Maybe it takes too long to get into your butt. (No one’s fault, you each can only do what you can do at that point in time.) Maybe they got distracted. Maybe they got nervous or often get nervous. Shaming them for it helps no one. Tell them that it’s okay, that you understand. Offer to stop for a bit, try again later, or ask how you can help. I guarantee that they will appreciate it. I also guarantee that they will be WAAAY more likely to get that boner back. So be kind. It’s in your best interests. - Some people never enjoy bottoming, no matter what they try. Or never enjoy topping. Or either. That's perfectly fine. You are who you are, I've never found any good in beating my head against that fact. But you may also never have had the right situation or the right advice. - At this point I don't have a troubleshooting-your-butt advise section. But it’s good to explore what might be holding you up. One example is: If you have trouble bottoming, it may come down to your attitude. If you think about how much it could hurt as you sit on a dick, of course your body will clench up. If you instead train your brain to think of dick as something potentially very nice, your body may respond better. (Though bullshitting your body won't work. You'd need to make a deal with yourself that if it DOES feel bad at all, you'll stop. And here’s another thought: You may need to let go of the expectation that you will never feel pain, at least a little. Pain is a warning signal and it’s okay, even useful for it to happen. Ignoring pain is what I advise against.) - Bottoming gets easier the more you do it. But if you don’t do it for a while, you may lose that progress and must build it up again. It’s the same as, say, building flexibility in your legs. Doing the splits gets easier the more you practice. But, if you stop practicing, it gets harder and harder again. You can make bottoming easier later with semi-regular practice with a dildo. You don't have to, of course. Find what's right for your body and for your lifestyle. - Reminder: Anything that goes in your arse needs a flared end. Arses are known to suck objects up. Without a base, without a trace.
Butt Cleanliness: - Once in a while, a dick will come out with poop on it. Fact of life, don't sweat it. You can wipe it off and continue or get a new condom or stop all together. Whatever you're both cool with. - Honestly? Guys get desensitized to poop. So even if you’re mortified, the other guy really might not be. - Treat poop-strike like no big deal and it most likely won’t be. Like I say earlier, people follow your lead. - Invest in some brown towels specifically for anal sex. Stains show up less. - Douching, (also known as enemas,) can really reduce the chance of poop. That’s where you wash your butt passage out by putting water in, then expelling it into a toilet. Repeat until the water comes out clear. - I won’t go into how to douche in detail, there are guides online. Use one. - My big warning with douching is: It's possible to not fully relax your sphincter and you end up keeping water in there without knowing. Then when you relax for the dick, it comes out. Goosh. It’s never happened to me, probably won’t happen to you. But to avoid it, give yourself plenty of time on the toilet. Wait, watch a video, notice how your body is feeling. Build up experience. - You don't have to douche. I don’t, too many guys say they’ll turn up but don’t. And, honestly, I find an unclean dick is not that common anyway. - Fibre. Instead of douching, (or in addition it,) you can eat a lot of fibre. This makes your poop more solid and less likely to stick to the dick. Fibre also makes your poop less likely to be in the close part of your butt passage. Metamucil or Psyllium Husk are common sources of fibre. - If I’m worried about being clean that day, I tend to just use a dildo beforehand, honestly. This warms my butt up for play, as discussed. But it also troubleshoots my hole, haha. Uncleanliness happens to the dildo, leaving my passage more hospitable for later guests. - Douching too often can harm your gut bacteria and dry your passage out. - Also be aware, douching isn't a fool-proof solution to poop-strike. Nothing is. - Some guys expect you to douche, but in my opinion, that's on them to tell you. Hopefully nicely, like, "Do you prefer to douche? ... Oh, I usually feel more comfortable if the guy has douched." Like I say, in my experience, poop on their dick doesn't happen all that often even without douching. Depends on the guy, though.
Topping: - Read everything in the bottoming section, such as how you should always use condoms and lube. Put a finger in them first, a bit at a time, or get them to. You should be using all the other advice in that section, too. - If you only top, you may have no idea how much work goes into bottoming, or how sore it can be. - I recommend bottoming some time, even just to see how well you can. Even if you decide it isn’t your thing. Knowing how it feels will make you a better top. Try it a few times until you can do it comfortably, the first time probably won’t feel like how bottoming usually would feel for you. - Listen to the bottom. Ask if he's ok. Avoid pressuring him. - Go ahead and ask for help to get your dick hard again, mid-sex. It’s common to get distracted, nervous or for things to take too long and your dick to go down. It’s not a big deal. If they make it a big deal, they may not be someone you want to be around anyway. - Often, people have difficulty finding the bottom’s hole with their dick. A common mistake is to aim too high and push a bit harder. You run the risk of popping in too quickly and hurting the bottom. Bottom’s pick up on this chance, so they can tighten up involuntarily- the opposite of what you want. To avoid this, when I top, I feel out where the hole is with my fingers. I'll watch the dick go in. If guys often say that you're too high, maybe you can aim lower than you’d think. Try a different position or ask the bottom to put the dick in himself. You won’t lose points or anything for it, haha. Obviously, experience and practice help, too. It's ok to mess up or even make a fool of yourself, that's how you learn for next time! The only way, really. Certainly the main way that you can’t skip. - If you find it hard to enjoy topping or to cum from topping, look at how you masturbate. I typically wank with the tips of my fingers and thumb, rather than circling the shaft. Some guys wank really hard and fast. In that and other cases, your brain isn’t used to the sensations an butt provides. Try wanking with lube and a medium-soft, circled grip. After a while, you may find your dick has acquired a taste for arse. - A block in the way of enjoying topping may also be mental. Look into the Sexual Anxiety section. I don’t have a topping-specific approach thought out yet, but it would be based heavily on the tips here, under Sexual Anxiety.
Safety/Consent: - I’ve met a lot of wonderful people in gay bars and clubs. They’re a place you can let your guard down in some ways and be as gay as you want. But it’s not in your best interests to treat them as a completely safe space. - People may put drugs in your drink, in order to take advantage of you. Don't drink from anything that's been left unattended. If you start to feel funny in anyway, you may have been drugged and should alert your friends and/or the bar staff. Feeling funny may include light-headed, drunker than you would expect, sleepy or many other things. It is better to be safe than sorry. - Casual assaults are surprisingly normalized. A lot of us don't even think about it anymore. Like, sometimes a guy will grab your butt as they go past without permission. Sometimes even just reach directly into your pants, without asking. It sucks. I'm sorry about that. I'm not sure what advice to give about it, except to talk about any feelings with people you trust, no matter how small what happened seems. And if you’re someone who does this, please keep your hands to yourself. It can be more damaging than you realize. Especially for people who have been through violence - sexual or otherwise. - The clubs can also feel like a jungle - all drugs and sex and you’re treated almost like meat. Which, if you’re looking for that, great! But if you’re coming out of high school and expecting to be embraced and supported by the community? It just may not happen that way. Again, I’m sorry. Look for places like Gay-oriented sports events or volunteering for a more wholesome community, I would say. Some bars may be wholesome, I can’t speak for all of them. - Gay clubs can also be cliquey, where no one will talk to the new people. - People who look unapproachable might actually be quite approachable, on the flipside. - First time at a baclub, it may be best to go with friends that you trust. - Drink water between alcohol when out at bars. Eat food and know your alcohol limit. Pride in how wasted you get is for beginners. - Best to find out what your alcohol limit is by drinking with friends or family at home first. This is important because very drunk people can be taken advantage of. They can also die, frankly. - Overdose from alcohol is a thing. Or falling ovefalling asleep on the road. Be careful out there. - Most of the advice for drinking applies to taking drugs, too. (Though ecstasy and possibly other drugs can make you drink TOO MUCH water and harm yourself.) Do research before taking anything. I’m not condoning or shaming drug use here. But if you take any, take it in a safe place, with people you trust. Also, read the later section in this dump on drug use. - Consent is something that people think they know but it can be more nuanced than you assume. And it’s VERY important. I like the Tea Rule. If you wouldn't give tea to this person in this situation, don't do anything sexual to them either. They’re asleep? You wouldn’t give tea to a sleeping person, so no sex. They agreed to have tea earlier but changed their mind? You wouldn’t pressure them or force them to drink tea, so no sex. They want tea but not milk? Give them tea without milk! (In the metaphor, that’s having sex but not doing whatever sex act counts as milk.) Also, tea can be very hot. So, if they are too drunk or too young, they might not know this and scald their tongue. Likewise, young or drunk people can’t decide if they’re emotionally ready for anything sexual. No tea, no sex. - Even BDSM/rape fantasies stick to the Tea Rule. What is going to happen is generally agreed to beforehand. For most people, kinky sex is like a play. The submissive person is the scriptwriter. The aggressive/dominant person is the director who decides what happens within that script. Maybe pushing the boundaries a bit, but depends on the people. Again, best to talk about it. - People get boners and even cum during assaults. That doesn't make it wanted. It's an automatic response. - Don’t make false rape allegations. These make real claims harder to believe. They also ruin lives. False claims ruin lives more than anyone would want, even if they wanted revenge. Career destroyed. Everyone they know stops talking to them. Their trust in any future lovers is shattered. Even when it comes out later that the claim was fake, these effects remain. Seriously. The destroyed life doesn’t come back together after the allegations are dropped. Don't ever fake such claims. - That said, real rape allegations are MUCH more common. Like, the vast, vast majority. If a friend tells you that they were assaulted, it's statistically a VASTLY safer bet to believe them. - At this point, I don’t have advice ready for if you are ever the victim of an assault. I’ve got no doubt that there are amazing resources online, though. Look it up. Find the subreddits where people discuss it with each other. Reach out to those, plus friends and loved ones you trust. There’s a whole world just waiting to support the hell out of you.
Kissing: - As with anything, kissing will improve with practise. - Lead with the lips. My opinion is: lips should touch at least a little before tongue. Like, all the time. It builds anticipation and avoids odd surprises. - Well-cared-for lips feel nicer. I used to deal with dry lips but the best solution I found is to have lip balm in my pocket all the time. I put it on my lips when they feel a bit dry, which is maybe once an hour? Fairly often. But you work out what works for you. - Pecking too much can be weird, it doesn’t give much sensation. - Mix it up. Peck just a little, maybe. Push lips together for a bit. Bring the tongue in. Back to just touching lips every so often. Mixing it up is great advice for any sex act. - Kissing the edges of their lips or other uncommon zones can be great but should be done in moderation. It’s more of a thing to add variety than fun on its own, in my opinion. Play it teasing and sensual if you want to do this. - I think hovering just before touching lips together is underrated. Tease them a little. Make them come get it. Use this rarely, though. It’s easy to tease someone so that it gets a little annoying. - Start small and low-intensity. Build up to passionate. - Use pacing, like is described below, under All-applicable Tips.
Rimjobs: - A rimjob is where you use your tongue and mouth to pleasurably stimulate someone’s sphincter. - Obviously, the receiver of a rimjob should make sure they are very clean. - Again, this is all my opinion: A good rimjob is all about teasing. Building anticipation. I'm not big on them in general but I DEFINITELY don't enjoy it if they go straight for the hole with their tongue. I lose all sensitivity; I stop feeling it. Play around the edge, dip in. Build up to applying more tongue to the hole, then go back to the edge. - That said, I’ve seen some people really enjoy their butt getting eaten like someone’s life depended on it. Everyone is different.
All-applicable tips: - Use pacing. Pacing like movies use. Google, "Interest curve, Star Wars." The intensity of what's happening on screen starts out high to grab interest, drops down, then goes up a little, down, up a little more, down, etc until it reaches the climax. It’s a classic, excellent wayto get the most enjoyment out of an audience member. Every sex act is improved by applying this. Same with applying pacing to the sex as a whole. Don't feel too much of a slave to this, but I definitely became a better lover when I learnt about the pacing in Star Wars, no lie. (It comes down to how human brains work. Specifically, the Law of Diminishing Returns.) - Like I said, mix it up. Variety stops someone from getting bored of what you’re doing. They stay keyed in and feeling pleasure. - Like I’ve mentioned in other sections: Build anticipation. Going straight for the most pleasurable thing is, ironically, not that pleasurable. There’s something about the tension between knowing something is coming and when it arrives that is just so fucking hot. If I learnt pacing from studying movies, then I learnt tension from studying music. Tension is what makes a bass drop so satisfying when it finally hits. - You could argue that how much you enjoy something comes down to a formula: (Results minus Expectations equals Enjoyment.) If something was good but you expected better, you don’t enjoy it that much, for instance. But if you went to see something kinda rubbish and it turned out to be good, wow! That was surprisingly fun, I enjoyed that! So, expectation control is important. Both in yourself and in others. Undersell, overperform is a good rule of thumb. Though don’t undersell too much. You’ll get a feel for it over time. Also, keep your own expectations low (on the quiet. No need to be rude.) - Like I said in other sections, and this is weird but true: People tend to follow how you act about things. If you act like a bit of poop or a dick going a bit soft isn’t a big deal, people will feel it isn’t a big deal. Which it isn’t! And then you’re more likely to be able to deal with the obstacle and continue with sex. - Sex isn’t everything, don’t base too much of your identity on being good at it or getting it. If you go that way, you’ll never have enough.
Sex Anxiety: - A lot of us end up feeling anxious about if we'll perform well. I myself had a period where I'd worry if I'd get a boner, which is a great way to not get a boner! It really messed with me. But I managed to overcome it by following these steps: - Give yourself permission to not be into it. You may need to say something like, "Sorry, you're very attractive but my anxiety is playing up," and that's ok. Or give yourself permission to say, “I’m sorry, I don’t seem to be into this.” Then, once you’ve accepted those possibilities, focus on what you feel. How his lips feel. How his body feels. How his hand feels on the back of your head. Not trying to make it feel good, just notice what is actually there. When anxious thoughts return, acknowledge to yourself that they are there, then refocus on what you feel. Thoughts are like tar. Pushing them away only makes them stick more. Touch them with a feather, instead. They may just float away. - All anxieties are a bully. They feed on you arguing with them or trying not to listen. Distraction and accepting both yourself and the anxiety are your best responses. - If anxiety is ongoing, it may also help to reprogram your brain. This is done long-term with repeated effort. Whenever you think about sex and then worry, it makes the connection between those two things stronger in your brain. So, you go from sex to worry easier in future, which makes the connection stronger, etc. It builds into sex anxiety. But you can’t destroy connections. So, build a new connection and strengthen it! The old one will then whither. For me, that looked like this: Any time I noticed myself worrying about sex, I would focus my mind instead on whatever I was physically feeling at the time. Maybe rubbing my fingers together, for instance. Or playing with my boner in the morning. No judgement, just noticing. The more you do it throughout the day, any time you notice worry about sex, the stronger this new connection is. As an added bonus, learning to focus on your body can help you enjoy sex more.
Relationships: - Communication on potential problems and emotions is key. If communication isn't solving all your problems, you just aren't using enough of it! Either you'll find a solution where you're both comfortable, or else a solution isn't possible. If the latter is the case, it's best to know now. - When you discuss issues, remember that it's not you vs them, it's you vs the problem. - Abusive relationships can happen to even the strongest people. In fact, abusive people use that very strength AGAINST you. "Thank God this is happening to me, not some young girl." "He's hurting, he needs me." Thoughts like that are common in the victims. - Another way that abusive partners keep you around is to have a cycle of abusive. Mistreat you for a while, then apologetic and lovely, then mistreat you again, etc. - Abusers may also isolate you from friends and family so it's harder to get help. Turning you against each other. Making you seem crazy to others. Having you move cities or leave a job. - Abusive partners are also often very charming. - Leaving abusive people isn’t something I have a lot of knowledge about at this point. But you deserve better and there are a lot of resources around to help you leave. Both information and actual, physical resources. Organisations in your area probably offer shelter, for instance. - More people should know about Coolage. It's a biological term and it's basically your genes fucking you over. If you put two rats in a cage, they'll fuck regularly for a while, then stop. Put them in cages with other rats and they'll fuck those rats. That’s coolage. Coolage is your genes saying, "It's been a while, you either have kids or it's not gonna happen. Move on." I believe humans often have this and it's a reason why people have less sex the longer they are together. You still like the look of your partner, you still enjoy it when you bang. It’s just that the urge to do it as much doesn’t happen as often. Coolage. Perfectly natural, don't sweat it. - We equate love with sex too much. The Greeks talked about there being several kinds of love. There's eros, which is sexual. There's new love and friend love and self-love. Then there’s what they considered the highest love: Pragma. It’s a more mature, realistic love. Pragma is based on compromise, understanding and patience to make it work long-term. If you have Pragma now, rather than a new sexy love? Well I think that’s pretty cool, honestly. - Another useful concept is the 5 Love Languages. We all express love in all these languages to different extents. Some feel more comfortable or feel it's more genuine to give gifts. Some prefer words. Some do tasks or spend time with you to show affection. Without understanding this, you may feel unloved when in reality your partner is sending love signals loud and clear. Talk about love languages with the people in your life. Look it up for a more thorough explanation. - I'm a fan of open relationships. You get cuddles and support while also flirting with dudes online. It also takes a certain pressure off of satisfying libidos for each other all the time. Say, if one person has a higher sex drive or you are dealing with coolage or injury. Some people find it easier to stick to an open relationship than monogamy. - Other people feel more comfortable in a monogamous relationship, which is also valid. - All open relationships have rules, even if they're unspoken. Don't bang their brother, for instance. Long-standing open relationship often have rules like, "No staying overnight." These rules may change as you both mature and discuss how things are going. - One rule I advocate is: Either of you can veto any guy even if it's for an irrational reason. So, you can always say, "Don't bang this guy." This always put your partner's feelings ahead of any dick. - Avoid breaking rules or cheating on your partner. I’ve broken a rule for something I found irresistible. I eventually had to come clean for two reasons: 1) Someone told me, “Everything comes out in 6 years,” and I was seeing signs that that was true. 2) Guilt about breaking a rule is a happiness tax. You can be having a good day and suddenly remember the bad thing. I personally just didn’t like it. No thank you. Avoid breaking rules. Coming clean may be the best option. It was for us. - Avoid being the person for someone else to cheat with. This is personal preference, I suppose. But I’ve slept with someone who was GOING to break-up with their partner. Then they didn’t. And years later I ended up shaking the hand of the man I had cuckolded. I didn’t tell him. At this point, I don’t think that’s my place. But I didn’t like that. No, I did not. 0/10, would not recommend. - Long distance relationships are emotionally difficult. Don’t enter one lightly. They also aren’t a long-term solution; you’ll want to settle in one place eventually. - I find this quote from Mr. Rogers useful: “Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active word, like to struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” - At the same time, sometimes change is needed. There’s a tension between that and Mr. Rogers’ great advice. I think we all must walk the line on that one. Accept someone as best you can but prod them to change if it’s needed. - Both partners must respect the others’ feelings. You will be happier if you can set and enforce reasonable boundaries in your life. Particularly on people wanting your time and energy. You will also have a healthier, happier partner if you respect their boundaries. - If someone ignores your feelings repeatedly, that’s a huge red flag. - Trust your gut, it often picks up on things before you do.
That’s the word limit, so I’ll put the rest in comments below. I told you it was thorough! Which is a nice way of saying going on for way too long.
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My Personal Market Research & Statistics in 2020: Countries That Gamble the Most

My Personal Market Research & Statistics in 2020: Countries That Gamble the Most
The gaming sphere is so different and immense that it is divided into many structures and substructures. For example, games can be divided according to their type, capabilities, gambling, devices, technology, etc. But what is more remarkable is the appearance of statistics in games, when you can see and understand many nuances with your own eyes. So, let's talk about gambling research and statistics in 2020.
Throughout its existence, gambling has been constantly subjected to various pressures from the law, states, and opponents of this activity. And the first step is to talk about the most important thing in the gaming industry, namely, legality.
There are several countries where gambling is allowed. This business is closely monitored by special authorities, subjecting the gambling activities of companies to various frameworks and rules. On the one hand, some laws can be very depressing, but compliance with them allows companies to legally and transparently offer their content to the consumer - and as a result of legality and licensing, the company ensures safety for the user and gains trust from him. There are also countries and their areas where games are partially allowed or have more severe rules.
https://preview.redd.it/k3c15lhb7eb51.jpg?width=625&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=c5d00e3ca7c045288c9f4332079ec208a496814d
The main countries where you can gamble are:
  • Australia;
  • The United States;
  • Canada;
  • New Zealand;
  • The UK;
  • China (Macau).
But it is highly recommended to check the legality of gambling for money in your area, the rules and laws change quite often. Often online casinos have a separate page where you can check this.
https://preview.redd.it/bwky69rc7eb51.jpg?width=433&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=11ab101087def28200b4ed2c4e31aa6992b395fe
The most popular gambling games in the world are casino games (mainly slot machines and roulette), sports betting (mainly horse racing), and poker. It's also easy to see the big difference between playing ages between the United States and the UK. In the first country, young people play more, as in the second, those who are over 55 years old. This may be due to many factors, at least mentality and freedom of choice. Note that the world's most famous gambling capital Macau wins in terms of income per visitor, and the biggest losers are in Australia.

Australia
More than 6.8 million Australians are considered to be players who play in the country - this is approximately 39% of the total population. Australian people love to play, most of them love to gamble on portable devices that they can take with them, such as a mobile phone or tablet.
78% of players are able-bodied adults 18 years of age or older, and the average playing age is 34. Women and men play equally in the same amount, that is, 50/50, although earlier women players were 4% less than men.
Australians play pokies mostly for fun, and some older people play to train their thinking and improve their brain function. Residents are not against betting and consider them very useful for the economy and development of the country.

USA
As you know, the most common place for gambling in the United States is Las Vegas, but do not forget about Atlantic City and the water casinos, which are legalized in Louisiana and Illinois. Online betting is available for almost all states. Almost 65% of the entire adult population of the country, one way or another, play games, mainly on their smartphones.
More than $ 80 billion is the total value of the gambling industry in the country. Most of the people who play are mostly in the 18 to 30 years old area. 15% of all residents of the country play at least once a week. Mostly preferences are for online casinos, but many players love old school and play in land-based casinos. Americans love big win and impressive jackpots, especially progressive ones, which can easily reach up to $ 20 million.
https://preview.redd.it/rscu153i7eb51.jpg?width=607&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=876f3cac692bfc81e7d94dee194fa0b24d9e6bcf
UK
In the United Kingdom, more than 46% of the country's population gamble and at least several times a month. Players prefer different strategies for their pastime and use handheld devices, but there are also a large proportion of those who still prefer a computer for their gaming sessions.
The older generation plays more in the country. These are able-bodied adults who are 55 years old and older. Most likely this is due to a large amount of free time and the possession of significant finances, which can be easily used in online casinos. Players prefer online casinos 10 times more than in other countries, but there are still more than 250 land-based casinos in the country. To a large extent, the British know how to play to win significant sums. They use the strategy of maximum possible bets on the same game regularly.

Canada
More than half of the Canadian population gamble and their percentage is growing every year along with the development of online casinos and the availability of gaming content. The biggest number of residents of the country prefer casual games, they quickly learn how to play in various slots, which also increases the number of new players at lightning speed. Also, Canadians like to use different tips for choosing a game or strategy, for example, such as the one here https://freeslotshub.com/offline-slots/
78% of the country's online gamblers are male, and the average age hovers 35 and a half, although almost a decade ago, he was with the index 45 years. The legal age for gambling in Canada varies from province to province, some from 18 and others from 19. The average annual spending per average Canadian on betting is over $ 17 billion, and every year the figure is growing by about 5%.

Other Countries that Gamble
Various forms of the gambling industry are legal and regulated in many places: in the countries of the European Union, Asia, and countries around the Caribbean, but they have much stronger control and rules from the state.
  • 44% of Singaporeans aged 18 and overplay.
  • Almost every 9th German player.
  • More than 31.5 million visitors to Macau per year.
  • Spain registers about 3.9 million new players every year.
  • Japanese gamblers spend over $ 31 billion in casinos annually.
https://preview.redd.it/47fdp0te7eb51.jpg?width=436&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=5452d58b2a724e846772b57458aa9019b3c530f2
World statistics easily show that approximately 26% of the world's population regularly gamble and more than 17% of them play online.
The gambling industry is growing and thriving, over time the income of companies that are involved in the gaming industry will grow at lightning speed. To some extent, the development of technologies provokes this growth, because experienced players have simple and convenient access to gaming content, and new ones have the opportunity to try content for free without any risk of losing real money.
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First time Poster, Exile Since Closed Beta - My Thoughts on Path of Exile

This is long, so grab a beverage or something, or go back to funny pictures.
The first time I got a whiff of PoE, I was researching some other game and came across a video on youtube. It was a video of some guy slowly navigating around the skill tree to the original music of Lioneye's Watch. I can still hear it in my head. Mind blown. Screw that other game, I gotta get into this!
So what is this game anyway? Well it's Diablo 3 basically. But it's an indie game.
Well what about Diablo 3? That's coming out right?
Yeah but the "Blizzard" who made d1 and d2 (and Warcraft 1 and 2) are actually a different team than the team on Diablo 3.
Ok so who's making Diablo 3?
The idiots who crapped out World of Warcraft.
Oh so D3 is basically gonna be World of Diablo? It's gonna be complete trash as already evidence by the videos and anyone who actually buys that "game" is either a sucker or an asshole and everyone should play this game instead?
Exactly.
Alright, so who are these guys?
Well they're actually a group who created a popular mod for Diablo II and hosted it on their own private server for years.
Holy shit! Well if anyone can make a true-to-the-original sequal to d2, it's gotta be these guys!
Yup!
Ok so how much does it cost? I'm not paying $12 a month for a game I might not even play every month. I like to come and go.
No that's actually the best part - it's FREE!
Ok so then it's gonna suck. You can't have a free game and have it good too.
Nope again - you can buy optional features like alternate skill effect art and extra stash tabs. Nothing that affects gameplay though, so it's never pay to win.
With a fuzzy head from being shotgun-mindblown, full of dreams, and a half chub, I got into that closed beta as fast as I could. Looking back, it wasn't very difficult to get into "closed" beta at all.

When I started playing PoE, there was Act 1, and there was Act 2. When you beat Act 2, you went back to Act 1. The GCP was the new Stone of Jordan, a 6L was a thing of Rumor and heresay, and every build guide started with "Level with freezing pulse with a linked multiple projectiles until level X, then buy a crapload of regrets and respec into this build." This was the next Diablo in beta.
And it was the greatest thing any of us had ever seen. Here's this game in closed beta by an indie group of developers in New Zealand that is the actual sequal to Diablo II. And it was. You would walk into the warden's chamber and he would say "Ahh, fresh meat!" I'm pretty sure I cried a little the first few times I heard that.
They did everything right. I used to describe PoE to other people as "Imagine all the things you ever said to yourself, 'someone should make a game like this,' or 'someone should make a skills system like that,' or 'I wish someone would do blank,' well PoE does it!" They knew what we wanted before we did. Anything they did wrong was simply because it was in beta and not ready yet.
They took the look and feel and randomized dungeon system of Diablo, something like a materia system from FF7, the skill tree from FF whatever one it was with the skill tree, modular characters and skill augmentations, no gold - just orbs that do stuff, no potion grabbing - just flasks that refill, only 3 stats (lol), an endgame system where instead of killing baal or meph over and over you get "maps" where you can go to different areas and kill different bosses over and over, and much more. And they're always going to be adding new content. You can do whatever you want. Infinite potential.
I had to support this game. I wanted this game to keep going so badly and I knew it was only fair that I contribute, especially being in a financial situation where i can afford it, I wanted that closed beta supporter forum tag, and I'll be honest - I needed those stash tabs.
And so the fuck did everyone else.
I'm not only talking financially, but bug reports, feature recommendations, balance recommendations, nearly every bit of testing ever done, and so much more. Especially those with a sense of guilt in not being able to support financially, you can bet your ass they doubled down everywhere else. Path of Exile did not consist of a set of developers and a community. It was one community from Day One (Or, if you prefer, one big development team. Fact).
And thus, a new form of social contract was born. You guys focus on making the content, and you just let us worry about everything else. We'll do the videos, game guides, build guides, bug reporting and testing, balance testing, we'll pay the bills, and all you have to do is keep making my game! This was a time when crowd funding was infantile. This was an experiment, it was risky, no "real" company would have done it, and it was hugely successful.

Time went on and the problem that arose first was, of course, a "broken" economy. You can bla bla bla all you want about this, but what it comes down to is this:
In the real world, people die, and the living cost money to keep alive. Taxes are collected on everything. Central banks put mechanisms in place to guide inflation. People lose. Dynasties manipulate markets, countries go to war, and people throw money away on frivolous things that have no real bearing on their lives. On and on and on the reasons go.
You cannot have an economy in an infinitely expanding universe without infinitely expanding inflation.
Asking a team of video game developers to fix that is like asking your grandmother to fix your helicopter. She can try god bless her but there ain't no way she can do it.
There was one other thing that some people couldn't wrap their heads around, and that was the map system. People got spoiled and complacent not having to kill baal and meph over and over, or PoE was their introduction to the genre, and they eventually got bored running maps over and over.
The answer to their gripes from the One community was basically "That's the game. Like what else do you really want?" It was for a very long time and I mean long into leagues that this was the answer. Run maps. Run them faster. Don't kill the boss. Run them with others. Chain them. Don't pick up everything. Don't dick around so much. Maps maps maps. That was the right answer, even though there was a time when I disagreed with that. Now there is a point to this that I will return to.
The solution to both problems - the economy and the maps - was the same:
Temporary leagues. "Fresh economy" is like the first selling point mentioned in every league description. It's pretty boilerplate. And then of course there's league content. So now the answer is run maps and do other stuff too, but only a little of the other stuff. Mostly maps. And then the league ends and you start a new one. And you can always just play standard if you want. Keep all your characters forever.

The awful demon that was and still is the economy has been improved immensely. I actually like the economy now. So many features of the game, really, have been improved since then, and it's always getting better. There are still issues with the economy, and for years, Chris' main focus was the economy. But it's not anymore.
A new demon has arisen. I'm not entirely sure when this guy came around, but I know that this demon has been Chris' arch-nemesis for at least a couple years now, not the economy. I keep reading about it. Every time "why can't I do blank?" comes up, it's the same answer.
Server load.
And this is where the ethics start to come into play. WTF does server load have to do with ethics?
There is a certain type of player. This type of player used to be Chris' favorite type of player in the times of big bad economy. This player wouldn't give a shit about the economy. He would play through the acts and figure out how to get to red maps and successfully run them over and over like a good boy doing just what he was told to do. And he was good at it. Really good. Still is.
Well today Chris totally hates this guy with a passion. If every player played like this guy, no one would play. The servers would be down. Point blank. After years and years of "Just do maps," now it's "just stand around confused in your hideout, alt tabbed in reddit, or the forums, or poe trade, or filterblade, or any number of other places so the numbers tell us (and the world) that there are a hundred thousand players playing the game when really it's many many fewer than that.
Stand around in your hideout playing the inventory management mini-game for far too long. Make a hideout and decorate it with a spectacularly wide variety of bullshit. Stand around in town and show off with your obnoxiously large mtx and answer noob questions in global 1. Stand in your hideout and beg for free shit in global 820. Hang in global 5055 and tell noobs they're stupid buy first answering every question with the customary sarcastic and witty jerkoff answer that never seems to gets old. Stand in your hideout and vicariously watch someone else on monitor 2 do all the things you wish you were doing. Stand around in league content and try to figure out how you're supposed to do anything.
Whatever you do, don't simply ignore league content, speed-grind through maps, buy all the stuff you need from the suckers, and speed grind endgame content (unless, of course, you're a streamer aka free advertizer aka HYPE man).
Meanwhile, whenever anyone complains, there is an endless supply of pretentious condecending ball-gagging fanboy douchbags telling you that if you are having trouble, you're doing it wrong. You're a noob. You're stupid. Go online and research it or interact with the content and "figure it out" just like "everyone else" and "it's not that hard."
I'm starting to see a pattern here.
I thought it was just me. Or that I was in the minority. For YEARS. But I'm finally starting to see things clearly.
The content is designed to be shit because they don't really want you playing the content. If some things were stream lined, too many people would be doing too many interactions and too many clicks and too many megabits per second of server resources. They want you to want to play the content. They want you to try. And they want the vast majority of players to fail. And they want you to believe that it's your fault you failed and not because they designed the content to consist of the most amount of players doing the least amount of activity for the most amount of time they can get you to do it.
It is the epitome of the proverbial "Evil Bullshit," just more evil, more calculated, more ugly - emphasis on "more" here, notice i didn't say "increased" (sorry I couldn't help it).
GGG is not selling a game where you can do a whole bunch of stuff and it's totally awesome. They're selling the dream. You're paying for the potential - willingly and of your own volition, without coersion, and without guarantee that you're gonna get what you thought you paid for. Few will succeed, most will fail. It's wolf tickets. It's always been wolf tickets.
It's just plain wrong, and it's a betrayal of the original social contract that was formed when we decided as One community to make Chris a very rich man in exchange for a very rich game. Now he's trying to weasel out of it, and the rest of the community is not having it.
Now the reality is that the answers are rather simple. More servers. I'm in the US. We have California, Texas, and Washington DC. Do you know how long it's been CA TX and DC? Thirteen server locations total from which to choose in the world AFAICT. That was good for beta. Good for 1.0. Well it's not good enough in 2020.
But but but we dont have money for that or we don't really need that.
Yes the fuck you do.
But but but the boss won't let us spend any more money.
Send me his address. We'll talk to him.
Nothing's getting fixed until you get more servers up in more locations and I got news for you: This shit ain't gonna fly for PoE2. We're not gonna take it.
And for daddy Chris to whine to mommy Reddit that the kids are being mean to him is just - well it's just plain unappealing. You look like a damn sod. Put your big girl panties on, honor the deal, and get the fuck back to work. Don't worry, we'll keep taking care of the advertising, videos, game guides, build guides, bug reporting, testing, balance testing, and the bills. We have your back.
To be clear, I love this game, and I will never stop loving it. Every league there are new improvements. Harvest brought some serious lighting improvements. That's HUGE. And there are always a ton more improvements that are mostly taken for granted. These guys are fantastic. The leagues just are not there. At all. Until the real (server) issues are addressed, I recommend speeding throught the acts and maps and ignoring league content until around level 90, and that is exactly my plan until then. I just want to play my game.
Now I'm not one to shit and run, and I am a firm believer in constructive criticism, so I went ahead and took the liberty of designing your 1.13, because I know I'm too late for 1.12. So here it is:

Path of Exile: Balance League
The Balance Challenge League
Challenge leagues are a great opportunity for a fresh start in a new economy. All of your old characters and items are still present in the Standard and Hardcore leagues, but you're encouraged to join the new leagues, complete challenges and demonstrate your mastery of Path of Exile!
In the Balance Challenge League, we've taken a slight departure from the standard new story line, characters, and new league content and instead focused on balancing some of the existing content that we've added throughout the years, specifically allowing players more options and control over what content they will interact with and the frequency with which it will appear for them in game. When you encounter a master for the first time, you will gain access to the Hall of Masters from any waypoint.
Each time you encounter a master in a map for the first time, you will be able to visit them and all the masters you've unlocked in the Hall of Masters. Once all of the masters have been unlocked, you can begin taking special missions from each master. Each time you complete a mission for a master, you have a chance to be rewarded with a Balance Orb.
Within the Hall of Masters you will have access to the Tree of Balance, where you can socket Balance Orbs into the Tree of Balance. Socketed orbs will increase or decrease the likelyhood of encountering a specific master in maps, depending on the node, and some nodes give other effects as well. With the Balance League, you can eventually choose to never encounter one master and frequently encounter another, if you so wish.
With 3.13.0, there are Standard, Hardcore and Solo Self-Found variations of the Balance challenge league available. They have the same core mechanics and items. You can create private league versions of these leagues, with mods that make the game harder.
The new challenge leagues include a set of 40 new challenges. When you complete 12 challenges, you will receive the Balance Footprints. When you reach 24 challenges, you will receive the Balance Cloak. At 36 challenges completed you'll receive the Balance Portal. These microtransactions are only obtainable in this league.
From the 19th challenge onwards and for every third challenge after that, you will receive pieces of the Balance decoration to display in your hideout. The something-something permanently showcases how many of the Balance challenges you completed during the league.
Major New Content and Features
Hall of Masters, Balance Tree, Balance Orbs
As for everything else, no new, just balance, or leave as is
Masters:
Einhar, Niko, Alva, Jun, Zana, Cassia, Tane, Oshabi
All other encounter types appear in some form and can be manipulated in some way on the Tree of Balance (Legions, Breaches, Delirium, Strongboxes, Essence, Torment, Etc)
Since this league has no "every zone has one" type of thing, a master will be encountered in every zone. If a player wants to do only Niko, Tane, and Cassia, the Balance system will allow for them to do that. If a player only wants Einhar, Jun, and Oshabi, they can do that too. And if a player wants Alva in every single map and never see another master, the Balance system allows that too.
The kicker is that you can make these missions take about the same time as it takes to clear a fully juiced T16 map, but make it something with much less server load.
But but but but but but. .
Just Balance it. That's it. We need Balance.
submitted by tg08096 to pathofexile [link] [comments]

[Inquiry] Student Emergency Fund for international students?

TL;DR COVID-19 fucked us all I bet. I am 5 weeks waiting for my check/deposit

I filled out the online survey and I have yet to hear anything? I emailed ISS and they forwarded me. Last night I emailed the Dean of Students and received a prompt but generic response stating "We are working on it. Your info has been forwarded to the committee"
April 10th
around 750 requests for support with an average of $100-$500.
July 2nd Currently, the website states [idk when it was written]
To date a total of $3.9M in direct grants to 7,991 eligible students ... and award amounts (ranging from $150 to $600).
Has anyone here received anything? How much and when?
Esp. International students on F-1 visas. As I don't believe we qualify for the general stimulus check (at least that's what I read on an article).
Unlike in Canada and New Zealand, international students in the US are excluded from this list of federal aid recipients.
International students on F1 and J1 visas are considered US nonresident aliens, disqualifying them from the aid.
Edit: Correction. Some F-1 students qualify. Read PIAPAPA's comment
submitted by ease78 to UofArizona [link] [comments]

List of Online Teaching Companies

submitted by Dantello1 to IWantOutJobs [link] [comments]

Sports Betting Tips - Introducing Brand New Z Code System ! Sports Gambling Became Legal Because Of A Horse Track (HBO) Breaking News Rush Street Online Gambling To Merge With DMYT SPAC DMY Technology Group Inc DraftKING PAKISTAN ____________Places to Visit  Tourism Super Over India vs New Zealand 4th T20 Highlights

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