Ft worth stock show rodeo results

Sun Pharma stock recommended?

2023.06.03 11:55 Own-Introduction-728 Sun Pharma stock recommended?

With the company posting good results in Q4, is it a stock worth buying at its current market price. Why or why not? And for how long should I stay invested
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2023.06.03 11:52 saumil-soni Top 9-Step Guide to Buying a Diamond

Why is this Precious stone Aide?

One of our perusers was working with us as of late and has gotten some information about this precious stone from Dream Diamond. Presently her most memorable response was that the jewel was shocking. however, at that point, she asked what setting it will go in. At the point when the peruser answered with this setting, we understood that purchasing this jewel would have been a horrible error.
This article is for anyone hoping to purchase big engagement rings (either without anyone else or with a wedding band as a "form your own" set) online at one of the numerous internet-based precious stone sellers.
At times I fail to remember exactly the way that troublesome it is for a buyer to shuffle all the data while sorting out whether or not something is a decent cost. My group and I have such a lot of involvement in choosing jewels (every one of us chooses hundreds consistently), exploring the minefield turns out to be natural as far as we're concerned.
For instance, if you somehow managed to ask me for a 1-carat round splendid slice jewel to place in a radiance wedding band, it would take me around 15 seconds to track down this lovely precious stone on Dream Diamond for you. An additional 20 seconds, and I'd include this extraordinary elective diamond. Yet, looking all alone can be horrendous and loaded up with uncertainty. On the off chance that you need a little genuine serenity, go ahead and get in touch with us for some private guidance.
Assuming you've been around our site previously, you'll see that we by and large suggest purchasing from Dream Diamond. For clarification of why that is, you can peruse our singular site audits for Dream Diamond.

The most effective method to Purchase Jewels

Picking a lovely jewel includes reducing your shape and choosing excellent choices for the 4Cs — without overpaying. We'll go into the four Cs in more detail beneath, yet until further notice, they are:
You'll then contrast individual precious stones to see which one offers you the most brightness and fire. Follow our bit-by-bit guide underneath to track down a dazzling precious stone while remaining affordable enough for you. Financial plans can change a ton starting with one individual and then onto the next, so make sure you're OK with the cash you need to spend (for instance, in the event that your financial plan is around 4k, jump in our $4000 jewel wedding band article after you read this 9 stage manual for get motivated).
We suggest trustworthy internet-based precious stone diamond setters. In view of our long stretches of involvement, Dream Diamond have demonstrated to offer the best determination at the best costs (see the full rundown of Best Web-based Adornments Retailers here).
Since their above costs are low and they don't keep a stock in-house, you'll track down the best arrangement with these two retailers. Dream diamonds give HD and 360° symbolism so you can analyze precious stones very close before buying.
With this vital data far removed and the Christmas season upon us, we should begin with the main strides during the time spent purchasing a jewel.

1. Pick Your Jewel Shape

The state of your jewel is the starting place of your ring's plan. No shape is better compared to the next — it ultimately depends on your own inclination (or your accomplice's). Round Brilliants are the most famous jewel shape for wedding bands and emit the most splendor.
Others lean toward a more novel shape like a Pad Cut or an Oval. Assuming that you're uncertain what your accomplice likes, you can ask her loved ones.
It's critical to pick your ideal shape first since this will decide the objective boundaries for cut quality, variety, and clearness. Select a shape to limit your hunt and look at jewels.

2. Select Your Carat Weight

Is your life partner to-be anticipating a 1 or 2-carat precious stone? Might it be said that you are searching for a stone that is observable yet not over the top? There's no "great" carat weight for a precious stone, meaning this piece of the interaction is totally down to your own inclinations.
Pick the carat weight territory you're available to consider, for example, a 0.95 to a 1.08ct precious stone. As carat weight increments, so does the cost.
Carat weight influences how huge a jewel will show up (as does its shape and cut quality). You can learn more commonplace carat loads and jewel measuring in our manual for normal precious stone sizes to assist you with settling on an educated purchasing choice.

3. Thin Down on Precious stone Cut Quality

The viewpoint that most significantly influences a jewel's marvel is its cut quality. Cut grades aren't normalized across all retailers, however, as a general rule, we suggest just Great (in the event that a precious stone accompanies a GIA declaration) and Optimal cut (whenever evaluated by the AGS) jewels.
You can restrict your quest for these cut-quality grades utilizing the devices given by our confided-in web-based jewel sellers.
For instance, on Dream Diamond's site for round jewels, you ought to restrict your choice to Ideal and Astor Ideal precious stones. On Dream Diamond, pick Ideal and Genuine Hearts cut.
Our Recommendation
Our guidance for cut grade is this: On the off chance that you are searching for a round splendid precious stone, just quest for "Ideal/Incredible" grade jewels. On the off chance that you are looking for an extravagant shape, notwithstanding, it could pay to either incorporate "Premium" or to dismiss the cut grade by and large.
It is not necessarily the case that cut grade isn't significant - going against the norm, it's of the most extreme significance. It's essentially saying that numerous gem dealers don't accurately report extravagant shape-cut grades, so why to channel out many outcomes from your inquiry which may be extraordinary decisions?

4. Determine the Right Precious stone Variety Grade Reach

The objective with a jewel tone is to pick a precious stone that seems white. In any case, in spite of prevalent thinking, you don't have to pay for a D or E jewel to get a boring stone. As a general rule, precious stones in the G to I variety range seem dismal to the unaided eye, yet all at once cost undeniably less.
It is vital to recollect that various shapes reflect a variety at various qualities, so your decision of ideal tone, offsetting the jewel's appearance with the precious stone's cost, will rely enormously upon what jewel shape you've picked.
  1. Select Lucidity Grade
For Lucidity, you ought to search for a jewel that is eye-perfect, meaning you can't see any flaws or considerations with the unaided eye. Contingent upon the shape, you can for the most part find an eye-clean jewel in the VS1-VS2 territory. There's a compelling reason to need to pay for an FL/On the off chance that jewel when you can get a lower-reviewed precious stone for considerably less.
With most gem dealers, you can see the jewel up near survey its lucidity. For instance, with Dream Diamond's "Virtual Loupe," you can assess a free jewel before you get it. It has likewise started to offer top-notch photography. Take a gander at the jewel near and check whether you notice any imperfections.
For a useful outline of the different clearness grades, investigate this jewel lucidity diagram.
Eye-Neatness is Vital
As we would see it, a buyer's objective ought to be to view as the least expensive (concerning lucidity; different variables matter too) "eye-clean" jewel you can find. We use "eye-clean" to portray precious stones that might have considerations assuming you take a gander at them with an amplifying glass (or magnifying lens or loupe), yet the run-of-the-mill individual can't see the incorporation with their unaided eye.
We have as of late evolved Ringo, a licensed man-made consciousness model, that can look at recordings of precious stones and decide whether they are eye-clean. Ringo will likewise channel for different boundaries like ensuring the jewel is very much cut, doesn't have fluorescence issues, and will match the style setting you pick.

6. Analyze Comparative Jewels

Whenever you've reduced your favored specs for a jewel, contrast comparable stones with figure out which one to purchase. You'll need to consider angles like how splendid the precious stone is, assuming it's eye-clean, and what the cost is in contrast with comparable jewels.
Different qualities like fluorescence, cleanness, and balance influence a precious stone's worth and appearance somewhat, albeit significantly less than the 4 C's. For an inside and out conversation of these three variables, look at these singular articles: Fluorescence, Clean, and Balance.

7. Check the Endorsement

Jewels are assessed and evaluated by proficient labs, alluded to as reviewing substances. These are the associations that give every jewel its particular cut quality, lucidity, and variety grades (as well as numerous others).
Some precious stone reviewing labs are incredibly severe and steady, while others have sketchy principles and are significantly less solid. You ought to consider just GIA Guaranteed Jewels and AGS Confirmed Precious stones as you continued looking for a free jewel.
Avoid IGI, EGL, and HRD reviewing reports since we've found we would say that their outcomes are not dependable because of their conflicting precious stone evaluation. Likewise, don't mistake GIA reports for an examination by a GIA gemologist. Those are not exactly the same thing.
Fortunately, Dream Diamond makes it simple to restrict your hunt to GIA or AGS-guaranteed jewels.
On Dream Diamond, click the "high-level choices" button under the other jewel boundaries, then select the "GIA" and "AGS" checkboxes:
With us, all free precious stones are confirmed by the GIA, significance there's a compelling reason need to sift through jewels with lower-quality endorsements from your inquiry.

8. Pick a Wedding band Setting

Wedding band settings range from rich and straightforward, similar to the solitaire setting, to luxurious and eye-getting, similar to the radiance set. Each setting offers its own remarkable personality, as well as particular benefits and inconveniences.
For instance, basic settings, for example, a solitaire ring are entirely reasonable and extraordinary for making a visual spotlight on the middle precious stone itself, while settings that contain radiance jewels can deliver the presence of a bigger precious stone.
There's no "best" wedding band setting, nor are there any "four Cs" for settings — all things considered, this piece of the interaction is absolutely emotional. Pick a setting that matches your preferences, inclinations, and spending plan and supplements the precious stone you've chosen.
Follow our insider tips for how to decide the sort of setting she'll adore.
Our full rundown of ring settings and styles covers all of the most widely recognized wedding band settings, as well as their significant upsides and downsides.

9. Make the Buy

At last, when you feel positive about your jewel, get it online alongside a wedding band setting of your decision.
Most web-based goldsmiths offer issue-free returns in 30 days or less. On the off chance that you or your accomplice aren't 100 percent happy with the ring, you can get your cashback. Pretty much every peruser that goes through our interaction for picking a precious stone is very happy with their buy.
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2023.06.03 11:35 applitom How to track your net worth

How to track your net worth
We all want to be financially independent so we can live our lives with no attachments to any “9-to5” job.
In order to achieve this goal we need to have assets that “work for us”. This way, we can have an income stream that doesn’t depend on any job and requires minimum time and effort to manage.
Financial advisors suggest that we should distribute our assets and “Not to put all eggs in one basket”. There are many types of assets, such as Real estate, Stocks, Bonds, Cryptocurrency and etc.
So if you have distributed assets, or you are in the process of building your own investment portfolio, you would like to have one place to look at and see your total net worth at any given time. So how you can keep track of your net worth?
The old way: Spreadsheets and documents
You can create documents or spreadsheets and write all of your assets and liabilities and create formulas that calculate your net worth hand graph that show your assets allocation and progress trend.
The modern way: Use designated tools.
In today’s digital world, there are tools designed exactly for these particular tasks. Imagine that all you need is just enter your assets and liabilities once in one place and these tools will do the rest of the work for you, they will provide you with your total net worth calculation and display a chart with your net worth growth trend and assets allocation.
For this reason, I created WorthTracker.
WorthTracker App
WorthTracker is an app designed exactly for this task. To help you track your net worth.
WorthTracker makes it easy for you to track your net worth. Enter all of your assets such as real estate, banking accounts, stock portfolio, etc., and don’t forget to enter everything you owe as well, such as loans and mortgages. Keep your portfolio updated over time, and WorthTracker will help you to see your progress to your financial independence goals with visualization of your progress, and asset allocation graphs.
For more info go to worthtracker.com
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2023.06.03 10:42 SavingsSyllabub7788 [NoP Fanfic] Predatory Farming

Thanks to "Sithking Zero" on the NoP Discord for editing help.
Memory transcription subject: Tellek , Farmer
Date [standardized human time]: January 19th, 2137
Has it really come to this, am I really this desperate?
I was, for all intents and purposes, broke. The last harvest had been terrible, in addition to the one before that, which was practically a deathblow for my new farmstead. The debts and missed payments had started to pile up, and I was one more bad harvest away from going completely bankrupt.
Like so many farmers before me, I was becoming another victim of the 5 harvest curse.
I told you that starting a new farm was a bad idea.
What was I supposed to do, brain, keep working in the office until I died?
I sat on my chair, surrounded by other farmers who were presumably in similar states of desperation, the room we were in akin to the schoolrooms I had been in as a pup; a desk and whiteboard up front sitting in front of the rows of chairs. Most of the twenty or so figures around me were fellow Venlil, except for a handful of Gojid and even a single Yotul who was sitting in the back, all of us awaiting the start of the ‘lesson’.
They claimed they had a solution to our problem, that they knew how to increase our yields. How could a predator know how to fix our farming issues?.
Human. Human Human Human Human. Not a predator.
Yes yes I know, I’m trying to be better about that.
I stopped my train of thought and corrected myself. Ever since the revelations about many of our allies being former predators, I had been making an effort to stop thinking of the world in terms of predator and prey. It was difficult at times, but given that I was working against a lifetimes worth of lies, I thought I was making good progress..
But even if “Predator” wasn’t the curse it used to be, how could a human claim to know how to fix our farming issues? Even if we ignored the differences between our diets, for all their advantages, humans were still far below our technological advancements.
Almost on cue, the door to the room opened up, and the figure of the human who had invited us here entered with an enthusiastic bounce, caring two large cases covered with black cloth
Unlike most, this human was unmasked, its piercing eyes and beaming teeth filled smile visible for all to see. I could feel the room start to fill with panic. Sure, logically I knew I was probably safe, but seeing the unmasked features of an apex predator caused fear to grip the edge of my heart.
I could proudly say I can walk past and interact with masked humans without wanting to flee anymore, but seeing those forward-facing eyes boring a hole into my soul was another task altogether.
Come on, you should be better than this.
I’m trying, ok!
"Hello everyone. My name is Joseph. I'm an ecology student, and I'm here to provide a solution to your farming yields." The human spoke with an unbridled joy, seeming to wait a moment while our translators attempted to explain what Ecology was, stopping half way through and seemingly giving up.
“You might be wondering why I’m unmasked, well we’re going to be covering a lot of ‘predatory’ concepts today, so if you can’t handle this? We’re gonna have bigger problems.” Joseph took a moment to broadly gesture to himself, leaving a feeling of dread to start in the pit of my stomach.
If this was just the start, what exactly was going to happen here?
Silence! Wait and see, knowing humans it’s probably interesting at the very least.
“I’ve finally been given authorization to start a trial of this program. Both the UN and Venlil governments are very interested in increasing food supply for both our people. As you might know we’re kinda at war, and logistics wins wars.”
The human paused for a moment, a shiver running around most of the room as he gave a large beaming smile.
“So to start: paws, claws, or tails up if you know about the ‘5 harvest curse.’”
The room immediately was filled with Federation species all raising their prospective limbs in affirmation. Of course we all knew what it was, that was why most of us were here.
How would the human know about that?
Basic research, simple reading, asking literally any farmer?
“Fantastic! I’m still going to explain it so we’re all on the same page. The ‘5 harvest curse’ is a phenomenon where new farms on Venlil prime often fail within the first five harvests. On a side note, the coincidental fact that five has a religious contention in Venlil culture is neat.”
I could feel an annoyance start to course through me, that the affliction currently driving me to destitution was being described as ‘neat’ by the callous predator. I mean human.
Stupid human.
Joseph either didn’t pick up or ignored my annoyance as he pressed a button, a graph appearing on the whiteboard showing expected yields over time, continuing on in his seemingly endless enthusiasm.
“So in general the five harvest curse follows a standard pattern of yields, with the first two harvests being up to 52% larger than even more established farms, plummeting after that until the business is non-viable and collapses. Officially the reason for this is unknown, with some vague religious stupidity about new farms being too far away from the center of the habitable strip.”
This was nothing new to me, I remembered feeling the joy of the sheer output from my first harvest, of wondering if I could finally make something of myself, a joy that had been whittled down as my last two harvests had been pitiful.
“However there’s an interesting thing, if you also plot the number of predator sightings during this time against the yields, you can see a direct correlation between number of predators and the success of each harvest.”
Wait, what? Is this human trying to say that predators… increase harvest? That can’t be right, that can’t be right at all. That would be insanity.
The data is literally there in front of you.
Yet it was there on the screen, a second graph had appeared on the whiteboard, tracking predator sightings over time in each of the farms afflicted by the curse.
“This tracks with most farms' general lifecycle. You buy a plot of untamed land on the edge of the habitable zone but you don’t have enough money to go full anti-predator. As the harvests come in you end up spending more and inadvertently messing it up.”
This caused a small amount of murmuring and energetic rejection by myself and the other members of the room, wiping away the previous undercurrent of fear. It was insanity, it went against everything I had ever known or been taught about farming and how the world worked. How could a predator of all things be beneficial?
Didn’t the introduction of humans also go against everything I had ever known or been taught about?
“If this effect is so obvious, how has nobody found this before?”
The sound of a Venlil challenging Joseph was greeted by murmurs of agreement from the group, causing the human to give a different kind of smile. Not a smile of joy or excitement as had been seen before, but the smile of someone who had something for this.
“Because you have. 150 years ago, a Venlil named Slavek wrote a paper regarding this. 119 years ago, Vicktal did the same. As well as Traval, Stralan, and Vilkin in between then and now. Those are just the ones I’ve found. Who can guess what happened to them?”
There was a pause, before the uplift in the back spoke up for the first time, a surety in the Yotul’s voice.
“They were diagnosed with predator disease.”
Joseph pointed at the Yotul in the back with both hands, the joy radiating from him.
“Based Space Kangaroo gets 10 points for being correct! Yep the federation has been actively suppressing anything that suggests that predators are more than some kind of eldritch evil, that and your surprising lack of hydroponics causes most planets to be dependent on the core worlds for food imports. Probably by design for control.”
Wait… that’s a good point, why aren’t we using hydroponics?
The human took a moment to switch to the next slide, showing a simple three part cycle.
“Most healthy ecological systems are made up of three parts: Plants, which are eaten by herbivores, which are in turn eaten by carnivores. In reality actual systems are far more complex than these, but as a basic understanding this will suffice. These three parts keep each other in check, each part dependent on the other, which-”
“Are you trying to say that predator attacks are a good thing? Are you suffering from predator disease?! ”
The Venlil interrupted once again to more murmured agreement, causing Joseph to give a sigh of clear annoyance in response. I wished the Venlil would shut up and just let the human talk.
“No, I’m not suggesting we airdrop a bunch of Nissa into the Capital, I'm explaining how natural systems work. Sapience obviously breaks this cycle, which if you deviate too far, you end up with something called trophic cascade."
The human seemed to wait a moment for the translator to once again fail to explain the meaning of the phrase.
I wonder how many basic concepts the federation lacks words for…
"Rather simply, the removal of one of these pieces has wider effects, reducing biodiversity and in many cases causing a complete ecological collapse. An example of this is the dust bowl effect, something the federation is well acquainted with."
There was a moment before the whiteboard changed before showing pictures of desolate barren worlds. Without any explanation I knew exactly what I was looking at. It was one of the… lesser talked about aspects of the federation.
"The Skivit grand herd are a species who go from planet to planet stripping ecosystems bare, devouring everything down to the smallest sapling. This removes important root systems that act as drainage, causing flooding and deserts to form as new plantlife lacks the structure to grow. In many cases these ecosystems are permanently destroyed, turning once lush planets into lifeless husks”.
I couldn’t help but feel sorrow for those planets. It was well known the impact the Skivit had on planets, once thriving planets of beauty. Although if I was following this human’s logic correctly did that mean…
“Now I’m not suggesting that the Skivit need a predator, that would be immoral.” Joseph cut off the thought I was about to have, seemingly understanding the logical thought many of us had picked up on. “But instead this is a real life example of damage an unchecked herbivore can have on ecosystems. If the Skivit didn’t have FTL travel they would have long ago driven themselves to starvation under their current society. It’s also not the only form of this trophic cascade.”
“Surely this doesn’t just apply to prey? Or are you saying prey are somehow inferior?”
The sound of the Gojid cutting in was filled with an unspoken challenge against the idea, inciting general sounds of agreement from those around him. Surprisingly however, Joseph seemed to respond positively.
“That is entirely correct, an overabundance of carnivorous species can also cause their own issues. Keep in mind what I’m describing here is an extremely simplified version, just the addition or removal of a single species can cause untold damage and harm to the diversity of ecological systems as the impacts are felt in the most seemingly unlikely cases.”
With that the human reached under the desk, taking one of the two covered containers he had brought with him and placing it into view.
“In Venlil Prime’s case, while the impact of Federation thinking has been reduced due to the day and night sides being mostly untouched, you still have the problem of overpopulation of certain species, and a lack of reasonable fear response from certain prey species. This has accumulated into the problem you all face.”
With that he removed the cover, causing a surge of fear to ripple through the participants around me until we all calmed down at what was underneath: A small cage, containing a single red bird busily eating seeds.
All farmer’s arch nemesis.
“This is a Flowerbird, a seed eating avian often coming in solid red, blue, or green. They are adorable, dumb as a sack of bricks and food motivated to a fault. They are also one of the biggest causes of farm yield destruction, with these birds alone being responsible for around about 41% of all losses. If we include Voidpins and other similar wildlife, farms can have up to 94% of their yield destroyed before they even get to harvest.”
Everyone in this room was familiar with the cursed avians. While your average city dweller would enjoy the sight of a flock of Flowerbirds, the farming community knew of them as a blight that devastated crops.
Joseph took a moment to open the cage, reaching inside and grabbing the bird. A small part of me wondered if he was about to devour it in front of us, before I tamped down on such an illogical idea. Of course the humans wouldn’t, we knew they didn’t do that. The Flowerbird also seemed completely unfazed about being in the meaty grasp of a predator, simply continuing to eat.
“Even worse, these things have basically zero fear response to noises and large beasts, probably due to all major predators having been removed. As you can see this specimen doesn’t mind a ‘scary predator’ grabbing it. As long as it has food, it couldn’t care less. This makes pest control tricky, as scaring them away is no longer an option. Poisons would be used in such a case, but they can have wider ranging effects, and poisoning prey is considered ‘Predatory’, not that many of you haven’t tried ‘accidentally’ leaving potential pesticides out.”
This caused a sway of discomfort to sweep through the room, tails switching in guilty movements as everyone tried to hide the truth of this human’s words. I knew I personally had considered such actions in desperation.
I mean, would ‘accidently’ leaving out a known poisonous chemical really be a sign of predator disease?
“Ha! I know enough tail language to know I’m right, that’s guilt isn’t it? I’ve read your internet, I know your discussions on loopholes about what is and isn’t predatory!” Joseph cried out in triumph as many of the Venlil of the room reached out to grab their traitorous appendages. “Now normally I would just tell people to stop being idiots, but in this case we can’t do that. Ironically because predators are actually dangerous. Because of your slaughter the only species left are ones aggressive and smart enough to survive. Shadestalkers are legitimately dangerous and can’t be left to interact with the farming community because people will die.”
The words from Joseph all sounded so… reasonable at this point. However, I, along with the rest of the room, were all desperately waiting for the other paw to drop. Because there would be, humans always had something they were about to do.
Almost in response to our thoughts the human placed the second container on the desk, covering up the first in response.
“Humans have dealt with this problem in a simple way, a way that our Yotul friend over there will know of. I need all of you to please remain calm and orderly, and to remember that you’re perfectly safe and there’s no need to overreact or panic. Humans dealt with this pest problem, through the use of safe predators.”
Before anyone could properly react to those words, the cover of the second container was removed, showing… a predator. An actual one, not a human but an actual real threat. Small piercing front facing yellow eyes attached to a brown feline form, sulking from the cage it was being held in.
Speh speh speh speh that’s a PREDATOR, A FERAL PREDATOR
If it was a danger the human wouldn't have-
The panic in the room was immediate. Sapient human predators we had gotten used to, but none sapient ones were another deal entirely. Chaos started to spread as the 7 in the front row got up, pushing themselves up against the back wall as everyone else in the room did the same. Three Venlil made the choice to bolt out of the room, rushing past the human and his tiny devourer, while another clean fainted, hitting the floor with a thud. One even decided to take things further, jumping out of the singular window attached to the far wall in a frantic motion.
I could feel fear overwhelm me, desperately staring at the feline and waiting for it to make its move. What was the human thinking, it was going to attack at any moment, it was going to-
“STOP, Stop this stupidity. Right. NOW!”
The stern commanding voice of Joseph caused everyone in the room to freeze. The calm enthusiastic demeanor of the predator was gone, replaced with an emotion I’d never actually seen a human show before: anger.
“It has been six months! Do you really still believe that the UN or the Venlil government would put you in actual danger? You’re still thinking based on your stupid fascist Federation propaganda. Thinking that tells you that the Yotul are primitive, or the Venlil are weak. Propaganda that says genetically modifying people against their will is morally OK”
I knew that humans normally bared their teeth in joy, as a sign of happiness and friendship. This wasn’t the case right now, as everything in Joseph’s body language screamed of rage, of pain, of words spoken through gritted teeth. Nobody in the room was focused on the predator in the cage at this point, instead all eyes staring at the human. Suddenly the feline mattered a lot less than the anger of the human.
“That sort of thinking leads to the belief that killing over a billion innocent people is somehow the right thing to do. You are all presumably intelligent sapient adults able to think things through logically. Could you all please act that way?”
I could see the swishes of shame from the other Venlil’s tails, everyone in the room avoiding eye contact guiltily. Well, apart from the Yotul, who had remained seated and calm this entire time, staring almost joyfully at the feline predator. The human, of course, was completely right. Taking a moment to force myself to think, the predator was safely behind metal bars and was making no move to attack, seemingly content to stare lazily at us.
You finished overreacting?
Shut up, brain.
“Also, at the risk of ruining the angry vibe I’m giving off, is the guy who jumped out the window OK? Jesus Christ, we are two stories up, do we have to call someone or….”
Joseph had relaxed a little in response to the group calming down, allowing the normal empathetic nature of humans to come through once more. Slowly I made my way to the window, looking down to see a singular Venlil running off into the distance.
“I-I think he’s fine.” I responded, causing the human to give a sigh of relief in response.
“Good. Note to self, do this in a room without windows next time… or maybe just the ground floor. So, to continue where I left off, humans have used tame predators as a natural non-invasive form of pest control since we started farming. This is a cat, completely harmless unless you’re a small rodent or bird. They also have this effect.”
With a flourish Joseph removed the covering for the cage containing the Flowerbird once more, the red little avian had been busily eating during the entire presentation so far. However upon spotting the Feline predator did something none of us had ever seen before.
It stopped eating. Wait, the human managed to get a Flowerbird to stop eating! I didn’t even know that was possible…
Giving repeated alarmed chirps it moved as far away as it could from the predator, still trapped inside the small cage, a frantic fear obvious on the poor little thing. Joseph let this go on for a few moments more, before dropping the cover back on and silencing the Flowerbird once more.
Everyone in the room was shocked. You could literally scream and shout all you wanted at the dumb little birds and they would ignore you and continue to devour crops. The fact that the feral predator had managed to stop the bird from doing that simply with its presence… was huge. Was more than huge.
“As you can see, the instincts of the ‘prey’ animal still remain. Presumably, whatever predator used to hunt these Flowerbirds has a resemblance to our cats. Normally it would be sacrilege to suggest introducing cats to an ecosystem, but in this case your ecosystems are so messed up that’s exactly what we want to do: Provide any farmer who wants one with a kitten, in order to quickly reduce yield lost to pests.”
I would be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t interested. On the one hand having a vicious predator in my house, where my pups would visit seemed like something a predator diseased individual would only consider. On the other hand, nothing else I had ever tried had even come close to the simple effectiveness shown here.
Would I be this desperate and in debt if I had one of these “cats” already?
“So I can see you’re all still a little worried, so we’re going to have a little discussion, for which I need a volunteer-'' The Yotul in the back practically fell over with excitement, with his arm raised immediately as he interrupted, causing Joseph to give a small smile. “One who isn’t a Yotul. I know your history with similar pets, and we are totally going to hook you up with a cat, but for this I could do with a Venlil please.”
The Yotul sat back down, a look of disappointment plastered over his face as the rest of the room shifted uncomfortably. Nobody wanted to be the person to step up and presumably get closer to the predator. Until I found myself raising my hand.
Brain, what the hell are you doing?
You said you wanted to be better, and we’re desperate.
In a blur I found myself being introduced to the room and being told to sit at a chair next to the desk in front of the rest of the members here. Then, to my horror, Joseph opened the cage and took the feline predator out of its holding cell. The human took a few moments to fuss over the beast before turning to the rest of us.
“So now that we have our volunteer, let's logically look at our ‘dangerous predator’. The first thing to notice is simply the size. Regardless of anything else, size matters, size matters a lot. It’s hard to feel threatened by something that you can literally throw across the room.”
Joseph took a moment to hold the small creature next to me for context, highlighting just how small the predator actually was: barely the size of a Skivit, like a furry little pup. Logically if it wasn't for the forward facing eyes, I might consider it… cute?
“But what about its teeth and claws? It’s a predator that will tear people apart!”
The voice of the Gojid sounded out, a shrill fearful voice filled with barely contained panic and fear, the source of the sound looking ready to flee even though they weren’t the one sitting next to the predator
“Let's compare these. Tellek can you please extend your paws and show your claws to the group.”
I did as asked, my four black claws visible for all to see as Joseph moved the predator close. He stretched out one of its paws and pressed on a knuckle, a singular sharp claw protruding as he did so, causing a fresh burst of fear to erupt in my heart from being so close to such a thing.
Although if I was to be fully honest, if I was comparing the two, the predator’s claw were…
“As you can see, the cat’s claw, while sharper, is far smaller and more brittle. A Venlil can do some serious damage with their claws, while the worst this cat’s claw could do is break the skin. The teeth are similar, if you could show the group your pearly whites please.”
I again did as asked, feeling embarrassed and weird just having my mouth wide open in front of everyone. I hoped that there was nothing stuck in my teeth. While I did Joseph manhandled the cat again, taking a moment to move the lips and display the sharp needle point teeth, doing so for a moment before the small predator gave a small lazy growl of annoyance, clearly reaching the end of its acceptability.
“Once again we have similar results: Notice the small size of the cat's teeth compared with the Venlil’s. These would pierce skin, the Venlil’s would pulverize bone. Gojid aren’t much better with your literal claws and a back full of knives. Ironically enough the two ‘predators’ in the room are probably the least physically imposing.”
There was a moment as the room seemed to ponder this statement, allowing Joseph enough time to place the cat on the desk next to me, the predator promptly giving a stretch then curling up into a ball. The human was right, even humans themselves were physically… underwhelming, apart from their endurance. No claws, small teeth, no defensive armor or spines.
It’s kinda sad to think the only reason we’re all so scared of humans is their eye placement.
“Now the UN and Venlil government are looking for people to use cats as pest control to increase farming yield, with an initial trial size of about 100 participants. We’re offering a stipend for food, instructional care of your kitten, and as much support as needed. There are risks, for instance you’re going to need warning signs near your property and a containment system, as cats are actually dangerous to the Dossur.”
I could hardly hear Joseph speak, my entire concentration focused on the predator right next to me. I knew logically that the human wouldn’t do something to bring me to harm, but it was difficult to think that with a potentially feral predator right next to me. I saw its eyes fixate onto mine and I quickly looked away.
Maybe if I don’t look at it, it won’t take it as a challenge.
However much to both mine and the rest of the room's shock, slowly and carefully the cat stood up, stretched once before walking purposefully towards me, the room erupting into cries of worry as it leapt off the desk and onto my lap, curling into a ball with me trapped underneath.
“H-h-help…. Help…..!”
The human turned to look at me, breaking into a smile seemingly at my misfortune and giving a small chuckle.
“Awwww, she likes you. As you all can see cats share a lot of characteristics with ‘prey’. They will often seek companionship from others, and have a lot of prey characteristics, being at times skittish due to having many natural predators.”
That was good and all, but didn’t stop me from being trapped under the beast.
I don’t want to think about what could cause a predator to become prey.
“W-What d-do I do?”
Joseph gave a small shrug in response, clearly amused by my reaction.
“You could try petting her. Her name is Sprinkles and I can confirm she likes pets.”
You see brain, this is what happens when I let you do things! Now I'm trapped by a predator and I'm gonna die!
Stop being such a pup, the thing is tiny. Besides, don't humans claim petting stuff is nice?
Slowly I reached out a paw, gingerly approaching the predator, those yellow slitted eyes regarding my exposed arm as I gently placed it on the "cat", running my paw across its back.
I felt my held breath release as the predator did nothing, some of the tension of the room releasing in the instant.
"So interesting thing about cats: they 'chose' to be domesticated."
Joseph had gone back to talking, seemingly happy that I wasn't about to be torn apart. I had stopped listening, entirely focused on keeping the predator satisfied by running my paws across its fur.
Isn't this nice? I gotta admit I understand why humans like doing this.
Fine. I'll admit that this isn't unpleasant, the cat is rather soft.
"When humans originally started farming, that also attracted pests. Cats just turned up, following their food source. They stuck around because humans would feed them and provide companionship."
I was entirely focused on the cat at this point, running my claws through the fur, feeling the predator press itself against my paw, seeming to be enjoying itself. Gently I moved my claw to the back of one of its tiny little ears, scratching behind it like you might do to comfort a young pup. It started to emanate a low vibrating noise in response, causing another wave of tension to emit from the rest of the room.
For some reason, even though this feral predator was sitting on my lap, the sound seemed to vibrate through my heart in a calming motion.
Maybe this is some kind of predatory hypnosis?
Really? Just shush and enjoy this. Being scared of everything all the time is so tiring.
"Nobody needs to worry. That is just the sound a happy cat makes, it's called purring. Although I do need to take Sprinkles back now."
Joseph motioned towards the cat on my lap, a motion I decided to ignore, enjoying petting the purring cat for a few moments more. Eventually the human reached down and removed Sprinkles from my grasp as I momentarily resisted before letting the feline go.
See, that wasn't so bad.
Brain, I will admit- reluctantly- that I would have preferred to keep doing that.
With a small amount of resentment I watched as Joseph placed the cat back inside the cage, before turning back to the rest of the room.
"So anyone who is interested, stick around and we can get the paperwork completed."
In the end eight of us remained, 5 Venlil, 2 Gojid, and obviously the Yotul. We had spent the last half a claw having instructions and paper work thrust upon us. Many of the group had immediately left, with others dropping out as various facts of cat ownership became apparent.
Still, those of us who were left behind were now heading to our respective farms, each with a single carry case. Mine was currently containing a gray and black “kitten,” which had been “meowing” loudly during the entire journey.
I looked simply at the little bundle of fur and eyes that peered out from inside the cage I had been given. Part of my mind still screamed danger, but it was a part that was getting quieter and quieter as I continued to look at what was a small fragile bundle of fur that I was now ultimately in charge of.
How could you look at something that’s hardly bigger than your paw, and think it’s a danger?
As I reached my farm, I finally opened up the container and pulled out the tiny predator. My tiny predator. There would be work to do, fences to erect and warning signs to place, but for now I just held the tiny thing in my paws, supporting it in the way I’d been told to. I now knew why humans spent all their time trying to pet things: with the troubles on the farm I hadn’t felt this calm in several cycles.
He was more energetic then Sprinkles had been, but in a way the more skittish nature pulled at my heartstrings, as if it was a small innocent Venlil pup. I sat there stroking it, realizing I still needed to give him a name. He was fluffy, Tiny, innocent, fragile. Yet with an underlying spice as it continued to meow loudly as I held in my paws
“I will call you Fireberry. My little predator.”
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2023.06.03 10:02 tidderscot Science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning through the lens of Te whāriki: He whāriki mātauranga mō ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa: Early childhood curriculum

Julia Holdom New Zealand Tertiary College

Practitioner Research: Vol 5, No 3 - May 2018

A personal reflection

Figure 1: Children at Little Einstein’s Educare in Cambridge lead the design, planning, and execution of the construction of a hut made out of tree branches after recent stormy weather.
When introduced to the acronym STEM (which stood for science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning in early childhood education (ECE), I was immediately intrigued. Having been a kaiako (teacher) in rural New Zealand and growing up on a dairy farm, natural, hands-on, child-lead, and inquiry-based learning was my passion. It always sat well with me that Te Whāriki: He Whāriki Mātauranga mō ngā Mokopuna o Aotearoa: Early Childhood Curriculum (Te Whāriki) (Ministry of Education [MoE], 2017) backed by decades of research and literature supports a play-based approach to learning in the early years in New Zealand. It did not come as a surprise to me then that STEM learning, a term for the learning areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, a buzz phrase making its way around the international academic world, was something I recognised as intrinsically woven throughout early childhood curriculum and programs in Aotearoa/New Zealand. As a result, I presented on STEM learning in ECE with Fiona Woodgate, at the 2017 New Zealand Tertiary College symposium and have since been speaking with kaiako from different regions in New Zealand to get a broader idea of how STEM learning is integrated into their ECE programs.
Due to a rapidly evolving, complex and technologically advancing society, it is now well recognised that future societies are going to need to be equipped with a range of problem solving and creative thinking dispositions, rather than specific skill sets (Allen, 2016; Smith, 2016; Rodriguez, 2016; Wise Lindeman & McKendry Anderson, 2015). The young children of today need to be involved in real world, contextually relevant learning, in order to support their communities, preparing them for educational opportunities in the future, as well as a wide range of careers that may not currently exist (Allen, 2016; Draper & Wood, 2017). This realisation has resulted in a strong international focus on the concept of STEM learning in today’s varying education settings. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), whilst a relatively new term in the early childhood education sector in New Zealand, is not a new concept. Its focus is to support children in learning problem solving, creative thinking, investigation skills and design, through multi-content curricula (Sharapan, 2012; Boston Children’s Museum, n.d.; Gartrell, 2016).
This reflective article begins to explore the concept of STEM through the lens of Te Whāriki (MoE, 2017). The world renowned curriculum document is well known for its focus on dispositional, play-based learning, and the weaving of multiple curriculum content areas throughout daily and ongoing learning experiences. Te Whāriki (MoE, 2017) not only focuses on skill acquisition, but on dispositions and attitudes that support learning throughout a lifetime. This article presents an explanation of how teachers can support STEM concepts and experiences from ECE settings inAotearoa/New Zealand are shared to provoke thinking and reflection.

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics – An introduction

In ECE, recognising individual aspects of STEM learning can be relatively simple. Children are naturally curious, and begin to explore the world around them from infancy, developing their own working theories about how the world works through the people, places and things that they interact with (MoE, 2017). In this sense, they are natural born scientists, investigating, questioning, exploring, and experimenting. As they explore, they are often confronted with simple scientific and mathematical concepts, such as learning about gravity, force and motion, quantity, number, weight, space, and time through play (Boston Children’s Museum, n.d.; Sharapan, 2012; Hamlin & Wisneski, 2012; Bosse, Jacobs & Anderson, 2009).

Figure 2: Building a relationship with Papatūānuku (Mother Earth) is seen as an essential aspect of early childhood in Aotearoa/New Zealand, which can lead to increased environmentalism and sustainability in years to come. Children are encouraged to be involved in the care of the natural environment, and here, they are engaged with centre family members in exploring the garden, utilising and leaning valuable STEM concepts in the process.
Working theories are the evolving ideas and understandings that children develop as they use their existing knowledge to try to make sense of new experiences. Children are most likely to generate and refine working theories in learning environments where uncertainty is valued, inquiry is modelled, and making meaning is the goal” (MoE, 2017, p. 23).
Often within children’s play arises the opportunity to use varying tools to support their learning. Utilising tools with a purpose for design or problem solving can be understood as technology (Dietze & Kashin, 2012; Young & Elliot, 2003). Technology in ECE is often viewed by kaiako as digital technology, and the use of information communication technology (ICT) (Wise Lindeman & McKendry Anderson, 2015), however it is imperative to recognise that technology is anything that has been designed for and is used for a purpose, generally being to make a task easier, quicker, or more productive (Young & Elliot, 2003; Fleer & Jane, 2011). In my experience, engineering is perhaps the more challenging notion to identify as part of young children’s learning and development, in part due to some teachers’ lack of content knowledge in this area, but also the complexities of this concept for children in the early years. Much of the literature on STEM learning focuses on engineering for children from preschool age onwards (3+) without mentioning the infant and toddler years. Perhaps this is due to the perception of what design and engineering is for differing ages. Is a toddler not engineering when they are constructing with sand in the sandpit? Is an infant not designing when creating art with finger paints or food on different surfaces during experiences every day?
“The day-to-day programme and environment are organised in such a way that children can initiate purposeful, problem-solving activities and devise and solve problems to their own satisfaction using a variety of materials and equipment” (MoE, 2017, p. 49).
Science is a way of investigating, understanding, and explaining our natural, physical world and the wider universe. It involves generating and testing ideas, gathering evidence – including by making observations, carrying out investigations and modelling, and communicating and debating with others – in order to develop scientific knowledge, understanding, and explanations (MoE, 2007, p. 26).Technology is intervention by design: the use of practical and intellectual resources to develop products and systems (technological outcomes) that expand human possibilities by addressing needs and realising opportunities. Adaptation and innovation are at the heart of technological practice. Quality outcomes result from thinking and practices that are informed, critical, and creative.... Technology is never static. It is influenced by and in turn impacts on the cultural, ethical, environmental, political, and economic conditions of the day (MoE, 2007, p. 26).Engineers design technology using a combination of science and math (Pantoya, Aguirre-Munoz & Hunt, 2015, p. 61). Engineering is solving problems, using a variety of materials, designing and creating, and building things that work (Boston Children’s Museum, 2013, p. 3).Mathematics is the exploration and use of patterns and relationships in quantities, space, and time. Statistics is the exploration and use of patterns and relationships in data. These two disciplines are related but different ways of thinking and of solving problems. Both equip students with effective means for investigating, interpreting, explaining, and making sense of the world in which they live (MoE, 2007, p. 26).
Whilst internationally, the concept of STEM focuses on inquiry and project-based learning, often planned for, facilitated and led by adults, I see this concept being represented in a range of educational settings, woven through a range of pedagogical approaches and philosophies of teaching in New Zealand. In line with the vision of Te Whāriki (MoE, 2017), STEM learning occurs naturally in children’s play, need not be teacher-led or project focused (Gartrell, 2016; Draper & Wood, 2017) and can effectively be supported in a socioculturally relevant context for individual learners and their learning communities (Hamlin & Wisneski, 2012; Moomaw & Davis, 2010; Neill, 2009).
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning is important for all children, individually, and within social groups of learners. The common theme within the four STEM concepts, is that they are all content areas that occur naturally through play. When children are natural learners, curious in nature, they do not require adults to give them answers to questions, and do not benefit greatly from this method of teaching (Allen, 2016; Sharapan, 2012). Instead, children develop life-long dispositions of inquiry, curiosity and independent thinking by having inquiry skills scaffolded or modelled to them. Often children embrace the opportunity to investigate for themselves, experimenting, exploring, making mistakes, and using trial and error. In this sense, STEM learning is a way of being, a way of playing and a way of learning (Boston Children’s Museum, n.d.). So where do kaiako fit into STEM learning?

Figure 3: Through their natural urges, infants and toddlers explore mathematic and scientific concepts through play with the support of their kaiako, as well as through environmental prompts, provocations and play invitations.

The science, technology, engineering and mathematics environment

There are a number of areas worth considering when planning for and facilitating learning in diverse and unique education settings. One of the most obvious in play-based, child-led settings is the physical environment. Those familiar with the Reggio Emilio approach will have heard of the notion of the environment as the third teacher (Delany, 2011) and providing opportunities for child-led learning through the design of and resources available in the child’s physical learning environment. It is imperative that the environment supports STEM learning so that children may engage in STEM learning experiences both independently, as well as with peers and kaiako (Hamlin & Wisneski, 2012). Long gone are the days of including a science, mathematics or technology corner in your classroom or setting (Neill, 2009; Delany, 2011), instead the emphasis is on saturating the environment in resources that encourage authentic, real-world, familiar and culturally relevant ways of exploring. These resources do not need to be expensive and single purpose, and can easily be found in our natural environments. As New Zealand makes more of a move towards environmental sustainability, and eco-schools become more popular (Vincent-Snow, 2017; Enviroschools, n.d.), reusing and recycling materials becomes an exciting way to make the most of what we have available to us, and supports children’s creativity.

Figure 4: Uninterrupted play allows these tamariki time to work together to create, design, problem solve, and imagine. Here, children in the Tui room of Little Einstein’s Educare have created a structure to protect themselves from the ‘Lava’ beneath.
Another popular move in recent years appears to be the inclination to get out into nature to support real life, hands on learning. Emphasis has been made on preventing a generation of children with Nature Deficit Disorder, a term coined by Richard Louv (2005) in his book Last Child in the Woods. Kaiako and children are venturing out into whatever natural environments they have available to them, such as local parks, reserves or forests to make the most of natural learning that occurs when children are empowered to explore, question, and discover. science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning could not be more evident in these opportunities to explore and build a relationship with Papatūānuku.

Figure 5: Nature Days are becoming increasingly popular in ECE settings that can accommodate such expeditions. Children are empowered to use a variety of tools to explore, create and design, and developing working theories through the relationship they are building with the natural world around them.

Reflective Prompts

Consider the ECE settings and environments you are familiar with.Does your environment invite exploration? Are there spaces, in which children can taste, touch, smell, listen and look?Are there gardens and natural spaces for children to independently explore nature science, earth science and opportunities for children to play with different matter to build working theories about the natural and physical world?Are there loose parts provided both inside and out for children to construct, build, design, create and begin to develop theories around science and mathematics through size, weight, height, gravity, momentum, trajectory and more?Do you have pen, paper, clipboards, scissors, cameras and other technological tools available to children in different areas that they can easily access and use to document, plan, take notes and draw about their learning and discoveries – inviting engagement in the concept of engineering?
“Children have opportunities to explore how things move and how they can be moved by, for example, blowing, throwing, pushing, pulling, rolling, swinging and sinking. Children have access to technology that enables them to explore movement, for example, wheels, pulleys, magnets and swings. Children have opportunities to develop spatial understandings by fitting things together and taking things apart, rearranging and reshaping objects and materials, seeing things from different spatial viewpoints and using a magnifying glass” (MoE, 2017, p. 49).

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics books

Books are an essential resource for any STEM learning environment (Bosse, Jacobs & Anderson, 2009; Boston Children’s Museum, n.d.). Not only is it important for children to access reference books with correct images and names of items, something Fred Rogers found instrumental in supporting children’s language acquisition and development (Sharapan, 2012), but also fictional and non-fiction story books about people and characters whom are investigators, explorers, inventors, designers and problem solvers themselves (Pantoya, Aguirre-Munoz & Hunt, 2015). Children’s scientific and engineering identities are supported as they explore literature that introduces concepts, dispositions and attitudes children recognise within themselves, and they are able to develop deeper understanding of STEM concepts as they explore these in context through stories, characters and the arts (McLean, Jones & Schaper, 2015; Sackes, Trundle & Flevares, 2009).
In addition to this, Kathy Trundle’s work on inquiry-based learning emphasises the opportunities that arise through purposeful interactions between kaiako, children and books to scaffold children’s inquiry skills.
Fictional children’s books to support STEM learning and identity in the early years:Inventor McGregor by Kathleen T. PelleyThe Grandma McGarvey series by Jenny HessellOh the Things they Invented by Dr SeussRosie Revere, Engineer; and Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beatty and David RobertsAnything is Possible by Giulia Belloni

Risk taking

Wise Lindeman and McKendry Anderson (2015) emphasise that children need real-world experience and real-world problems in order to have a chance at developing solutions to these. Pawlina and Stanford ( as cited in Wise Lindeman & McKendry Anderson, 2015) add that educators must view mistakes as opportunities to grow children’s brains. Here, teachers must consider both physical risk taking, as well as emotional and mental risk taking. In today’s society, maintaining the physical health and safety of the children in our care settings seems to have counterbalanced the human need to take risks in order to learn. Kaiako are finding themselves challenged beyond comfort when it comes to children’s safety, and the balance between safe and calculated risks, children learning from experience, and adults protecting children from physical injury is out of sync. However, research shows that children need these experiences to learn for themselves, and that without these risk-taking experiences, children will not be adequately prepared for challenges they will face in the future, both physically and mentally (Brynes-Swiatek, 2017; Curtis, 2010; Gramling, 2010; Warden, 2010). When it comes to emotional and mental risk taking, we must consider how we are supporting children to try new things, supporting them to push themselves out of their comfort zones, and risk making mistakes and being wrong, all whilst remaining confident that their holistic wellbeing needs are being met to maintain a safe learning environment.

Figure 6: When the tolerance for risk is zero, children don’t really risk loss of life or limb, but more often than not, they risk losing valuable experiences with the world they inhabit. (Gramling, 2010, p. 51).
Te Whāriki (MoE, 2017) supports this through its sociocultural approach to learning, outlining the need for children to learn in culturally and socially relevant contexts. In addition to this, aspects of dispositional learning such as perseverance, persisting with difficulty, and facing challenges or uncertainty (MoE, 2017), are outlined as important for life-long learning. Risk taking is highlighted as a desirable learning outcome throughout the Exploration strand of Te Whāriki (MoE, 2017), particularly for toddlers and young children. Risk taking, mistakes, failure, trial and error are all significantly important in STEM learning and developing perseverance, inquiry skills, attitudes towards exploration and creative thinking.

Reflective Questions

Does your learning environment, both material and otherwise, provide opportunities for children to take risks physically, cognitively and emotionally?Are children encouraged and supported to experiment, to trial, to make mistakes, to fail or succeed, and to revisit their learning?Do your environments allow for independent and group creative thinking and problem solving?


Providing children with not only the space and resources needed for exploration and enquiry learning, but the time to discover at their own pace, and the opportunity to document or revisit their learning is crucial. Gifting children the time to figure things out for themselves, without interrupting their learning with a quick answer, supports an attitude and disposition towards creative thinking and problem solving. Dr. Emmi Pikler (as cited in Christie, 2012) emphasised the importance of slowing down one’s practice and interactions to deeply engage with the children during interactions. Toni Christie (2012) states that the practice of taking adequate time deepens teachers’ awareness and knowledge of each child. The same concept can be applied to children’s interactions with the world around them. Can giving children the time to explore, think and discover deepen their awareness and knowledge of the world around them, teaching them more about science, mathematics, engineering and technology in real-world, contextually relevant and authentic ways?
“The learning outcomes in each strand are broad statements that encompass valued knowledge, skills, attitudes and dispositions that children develop over time” (MoE, 2017, p. 22).

Figure 7: Hands on Science in action! Many New Zealand ECE settings are making a move to embrace children’s natural inclination to get messy during their exploratory play. Science occurs in many forms, why not through mud and water play?
In addition to giving children the time needed to learn, do teachers support children to stay on task and be focused on the interest they have taken, or do they interrupt this learning with routines? In Carr and Lee’s (2011) research on children’s learning wisdom, they highlight the importance of teachers adopting strategies to support children to revisit their learning. One strategy suggested is that “Teachers can document the changes in children’s understanding” (Fleer, 2008 as cited in Hamlin & Wisneski, 2012, p. 85). This allows children to deepen their engagement, and develop an openness to experiences and a capacity to reflect, in order to make sense of their learning.

Figure 8: Working together as a team to solve problems, think creatively and develop theories about how things work. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics all evident through child initiated play experiences.
Reflective Questions:Are children gifted the time needed to explore, design, create and learn in uninterrupted environments?Do the routines of the day disrupt this learning or do they support busy learners to continue their work?Are children given the tools and strategies required to support them to document and revisit their learning? Are kaiako skilled in the art of observation, knowing when to step in, and when to step back?Are kaiako gifted the time to support children’s learning in this way, or are they too busy with the organisational tasks of the day?Do teacher - child ratios support quality STEM interactions?

Purposeful, intentional teaching

Once we have decided as kaiako whether we should step back to observe, or step in to add value to the child’s learning experience, the responses we provide must consist of high quality, purposeful, thoughtful interactions with children (MoE, 2017). In these moments, teachers need to be highly sensitive and aware of what the child needs from them – more often than not, it is not an answer they need, but stimulating investigation habits and behaviours being modelled to them (Sharapan, 2012). Kaiako must embrace opportunities to model moments of wonder, using questions that may prompt curiosity within children, and the opportunity to co-construct ideas and working theories in collaborative settings (Allen, 2016; Boston Children’s Museum, n.d.; Sharapan, 2012).
The key to these experiences is not to make the mistake of answering children’s questions with an answer, but to provide intentional, open-ended questions and comments that get the children thinking (Boston Children’s Museum, n.d.; Sharapan, 2012). Equally as important, is the need to model and introduce the use of varying tools to support their enquiry, so that they may seek their own answers independently in future.
Modelling STEM language is crucial to a child’s ability to learn STEM enquiry and thinking themselves. In addition to questions, modelling scientific, mathematical and investigative language is important to support children’s inclination to develop their own working theories. Supporting children by modelling language, describing using scientific, mathematical and technological words will give them the tools to use to do the same in future experiences. This will also normalise STEM concepts and learning for children (Sharapan, 2012).
It is important to support children’s scientific enquiry in new ways too – perhaps in ways they had not thought of themselves. This is where we are scaffolding their learning, in that they are learning new ideas and knowledge in a social situation from others. Part of STEM learning is how children understand investigative thinking and processes. Imperative to science, engineering and design are STEM process skills (Neill, 2009). The Ministry of Education supports this by adding that children should have opportunities to demonstrate “curiosity and the ability to enquire into, research, explore, generate and modify working theories about the natural, social, physical, spiritual and man-made worlds… [and the] ability to represent [these] discoveries using expressive media, including digital media” (2017, p. 47).
“Kaiako are the key resource in any ECE service. Their primary responsibility is to facilitate children’s learning and development through thoughtful and intentional pedagogy. This means they require a wide range of capabilities [including being] knowledgeable about play-based curriculum and pedagogy and able to conceptualise, plan and enact curriculum that is motivating, enjoyable and accessible for all children, [and] able to integrate domain knowledge (for example science and arts knowledge) into the curriculum” (MoE, 2017, p. 59).


The rapidly changing world that we live in, is providing us with many new and exciting technologies that make our lives easier, more enjoyable, and enable quick access to new information at a rate never seen before. However, with these new and exciting changes, also come challenges for children’s natural, enquiry learning. More and more ECE centres, particularly in city environments are designing spaces with little-to-no large open natural spaces for children in the outdoors, and are resorting to man-made environments of turf, concrete and other year-round, all-weather materials to support indoooutdoor play. Does this mean that these children miss out on the opportunity to learn natural science? Or can nature be woven through the environment and program in other ways? Children are also more inclined to want to be engaged with digital media, as their parents and society are modelling the use of these in everyday interactions. Is this cause for concern in the ECE setting, or can children be empowered to use technology in constructive ways? Are kaiako equipped with the understanding of STEM learning and child development that they need to support life-long learning dispositions of enquiry, problem solving, risk taking and perseverance, or are current pedagogies failing tamariki (children)? As learning and information consumption grows exponentially to the highest it has even been, it is now more than ever that children need teachers to be the facilitators of learning, the models of curiosity, the inspiration to learn, explore, discover, think, design and to be leaders of the future. Dispositions, rather than skills, are what tamariki need to succeed in the future. A final question for reflection therefore asks are educators preparing tamariki adequately for life-long success?


Special thanks to Jo, Jade and the entire learning community at Little Einstein’s Educare Ltd in Cambridge for giving permission to publish their inspirational photographs, and shared understanding of STEM learning in action. Special thanks also to Catherine at Hobsonville Point ELC, and Jen at Changepoint ELC, Tauranga for your wisdom and input on STEM learning in your ECE learning communities.
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2023.06.03 09:28 BrownTown427 Booking Asuka's Current Raw Women's Title Reign

At Royal Rumble 2023, Asuka returned after a brief hiatus, sporting a deranged look reminiscent of her days as Kana. And since that point, the Empress of Tomorrow has solidified her powerful aura, winning the Elimination Chamber match and avenging her disappointing loss to Bianca at WrestleMania 39 by dethroning the EST at Night Of Champions. And while Asuka has been Raw Women’s Champion before, this time feels…different…
Monday Night Raw (5/29/23):
Following Night of Champions with the crowning of Asuka, it would appear the landscape of the women’s division has changed. While some individuals are surely eager to go after singles gold, this isn’t initially the case for the Way. In a backstage interview with Byron Saxton, Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell express their desire to go after the Women’s Tag Team Titles, only to be interrupted by the lunatic duo of Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville. Deville tries to get under the skin of the pairing, particularly LeRae, mocking her struggles to get victories as of late. However, Candice retorts that Sonya and Chelsea haven’t done anything either, their only actual success as a duo being making Adam Pearce question his own sanity. After a few more moments of bickering, Green tries to slap LeRae, but Hartwell blocks it for her, shoving Chelsea to the ground. Sonya shoves Indi back, and Candice in-turn attacks Deville, forcing several officials to have to separate things.
This results in a singles match later in the evening between Deville and LeRae, with Sonya trying to make an example out of the “Poison Pixie”. It’s a fairly back-and-forth encounter, with LeRae starting the match off hot, but Sonya is able to adapt, using her MMA background to her advantage with increasingly strong shots. However, as Sonya gains control, her emotions also start to fluctuate a bit. Rather than just go for the win at points, she decides to inflict further damage, regularly targeting the right arm in particular with a combination of stomps and armbars. However, the turning point of the match comes when Deville kneels down, once again looking to apply some type of submission hold…only for LeRae to transition it into the Garga-No Escape! While Sonya doesn’t submit, it gives her enough breathing room to mount a comeback, eventually hitting her signature springboard moonsault to finish things.
Candice LeRae def. Sonya Deville via pinfall
After the match, Candice and Indi take a moment to celebrate the win…BUT HERE COMES ASUKA! The Raw Women’s Champion is in the building, and she looks as maniacal as ever. She makes her way towards LeRae…and offers a handshake? Candice is definitely hesitant to accept, and for good reason, as when she starts moving her hand out…ASUKA HITS HER WITH A ROUNDHOUSE KICK! Indi tries to avenge her downed partner, but Asuka takes her out with a spinning backfist. The Empress moves back towards LeRae, staring at the injured right arm…AND SHE APPLIES A VICIOUS ARMBAR, SNAPPING IT IN THE PROCESS! Asuka eventually lets go, with Johnny Gargano and a medical official coming out to tend to LeRae while Adam Pearce wants to know what’s wrong with Asuka…to which she merely replies with a sinister smile…
Monday Night Raw (6/5/23):
About half-way through the show, Johnny Gargano comes to the ring, ready to give an update on his wife Candice LeRae. He says that while LeRae is unable to compete, it’s only for a short period of time, and the fracture to her arm was small enough as to where she won’t require surgery. However, Gargano also says that LeRae wanted him to pass along a message…which is why he’s calling out Asuka to the ring! On cue, the Empress comes out, looking at Johnny Wrestling with a curious look. Gargano says that once upon a time, he and his wife both had respect for Asuka’s accomplishments, especially her record-setting run in NXT. However, with the actions of last week, they no longer have those sentiments, and when LeRae returns from this set-back, she’s challenging you for that Raw Women’s Title! As Gargano says this, Asuka just begins giving a deranged laugh. No one in the arena knows what to make of this…until Asuka picks up a mic…to simply say…bye bye…
As Asuka makes her way to the ring apron, Gargano is left staring in confusion at what transpired…but suddenly, the lights go out! When they turn back on…a trio of masked men are destroying Johnny Wrestling! He tries to fight back, but he’s just overpowered, and left to be stomped on as Asuka just watches on from ringside, enjoying the carnage. The biggest of the three hits Gargano with a top rope splash, before what appears to be the leader hits…a wheelbarrow neckbreaker. As the individual hits this, Asuka comes back into the ring, standing alongside the figures. She whispers something to them, and they move their hand to the top of the masks, pulling them off to reveal…IT’S SAnitY! Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, and Killian Dain are all back in WWE, and it appears they’ve aligned themselves with the Empress of Tomorrow. But the question left to be answered… Where is Nikki Cross in all of this?
Monday Night Raw (6/12/23):
In a backstage segment early in the show, the camera shows Nikki Cross backstage, alone and looking down, drowning in her own crazed thoughts…until Eric Young enters the shot. Cross raises her head, looking expressionless while a smile slowly creeps across the face of Young. He asks her…
“Won’t you join us?”
However, before Nikki can answer…HERE COMES JOHNNY GARGANO! He dives at Eric, looking to get revenge on one of the men who decimated him the week prior. He’s successful initially, but soon enough, Wolfe and Dain rush in, prying Johnny off Young and starting to beat him down. Luckily for Gargano, he came prepared, as he too has backup in the form of Dexter Lumis! SAnitY backs off as Dexter comes in with a steel chair, but not before Young mouths the words…This isn’t over…
Monday Night Raw (6/19/23): Johnny Gargano and Dexter Lumis vs. Eric Young and Killian Dain
With the tensions continuing to rise between the Way and SAnitY, it was inevitable they’d have to square off at some point, and Adam Pearce decides to see if a tag match can resolve this. The match starts off with Gargano and Young, Johnny Wrestling anxious to annihilate him while Young is more amused than scared. Johnny is able to get the upper hand initially, a superkick giving him the brief opportunity to then apply a Garga-No Escape. However, Killian Dain breaks up the hold by just hitting a Senton on Gargano’s back, a tactical maneuver to give Young the chance to gain control. However, Lumis enters the ring as well, grabbing Dain and trying to set him up for a side slam. However, Killian avoids it, and the pair move to the outside of the ring to brawl. By the end of the match, Gargano is weakened, but he’s still got the power of adrenaline on his side. He’s able to tag in for Lumis, getting in a flurry of offense against the big man Dain, including a pair of superkicks to knock him off his feet. However, as he goes for the One Final Beat, Young grabs his foot by the ring apron, preventing him from springboarding into the ring. Gargano’s able to kick him away, but when Johnny does go for the maneuver, Dain catches him, planting him in the center of the ring. He follows up on it with a splash from the top rope, with Young tagging in as he does so. And with Killian shoving Lumis off the apron, Young is able to hit the Wheelbarrow Neckbreaker to finish the match.
SAnitY def. Johnny Gargano and Dexter Lumis
After the match, Asuka makes her way to the ring, standing alongside SAnitY once again. She looks at the downed Gargano, now with a disgusted look on her face rather than an evil grin. She turns to Young, who nods and motions for Dain and Wolfe to pick Johnny up. But right before Asuka can seemingly hit him with the Mist…Here comes Nikki Cross! She rushes to the ring, sliding in and looking right at Asuka as she does so. Young walks up to her, asking her the question…
“Are you with us, Nikki?”
Cross stares at Young for a moment…then to Wolfe…then to Dain…then to Asuka. It’s to the Raw Women’s Champion that she gives the longest stare, Nikki’s eyes slowly growing wider and her expression becoming more intense. And with that, she mutters just a few words…
“You hurt my friends…she hurt my best friend… now she will pay.”
And with that, Cross dives onto Asuka, unleashing a flurry of strikes and catching everyone in the ring by surprise. However, Young pries Nikki off of the Empress, to which Cross responds by starting to attack him! However, it’s short lived, as Asuka runs up behind Nikki and drops her with a roundhouse kick. She quickly gets her locked in a crossface chickenwing as well, Nikki unable to escape and ultimately passing out. Before she fades, she’s left to only see the disappointed looks on the face of the SAnitY members…”You made the wrong choice Nikki”. But the attention soon shifts back to Gargano and Lumis now. They’ve slowly risen to their feet, and Gargano, looking directly at Young, demands another fight! Young sighs, seemingly bored at the prospect of SAnitY having to dismantle those two again…but it shall be done. However, before they can move in for the kill, we suddenly hear crashes echo throughout the arena. They happen for a few seconds, before the lights dim slightly. An unfamiliar melodic theme starts playing, sounding slightly reminiscent of that of a final boss, but as the lights turn back on, it changes back into the more recognizable song…
NO ONE WILL SURVIVE! IT’S TOMMASO CIAMPA! After being on the shelf for months, he’s finally back, and as he gets into the ring, he looks at Johnny Gargano…there’s no shortage of history here. And while there’s a momentary tension as to what he’s gonna do, he sides with his former DIY partner, making it a more fair fight! Unfortunately, he doesn’t get the chance to lay into any of SAnitY, as they decide to make their exit, already having made a statement with the victory and assault on Asuka, nothing more needed to be done…tonight, at least.
Monday Night Raw (6/26/23): Indi Hartwell vs. Asuka - Non-Title Match
In her first match since beating Bianca at Night of Champions, Asuka looks to prove why she’s the champion. She starts off the match well, not letting Indi get any momentum by just rocking her with a series of kicks to the chest. After dragging Hartwell to the outside, Asuka begins going after the arm, slamming it several times into the ring post before deciding to inflict some pain to the skull with a tiger suplex. This momentarily causes the ref to check on her, potentially looking to end the match…but Asuka isn’t willing to let that happen. She gets Indi back in the ring, lining her up for a running hip attack…BUT HARTWELL TRANSITIONS IT INTO A GERMAN SUPLEX! Despite having just been on the ropes, Indi managed to use what she had left in the tank to take down Asuka, and as she gets to her feet, she feels the crowd surging behind her. She starts taking it to the Empress, getting her backed into the corner and landing a few solid chops. However, she gets a bit overzealous, trying to get Asuka on the top rope for a potential suplex attempt, only for the former Kana to kick her away and land a knee directly to the back of Indi’s neck. And with that, Asuka remains in the power position, eventually locking on the same Armbar that injured Candice LeRae and forcing Hartwell to tap or get snapped.
Asuka def. Indi Hartwell via submission
But before Asuka really has a chance to even get up…HERE COMES NIKKI CROSS! She runs out with a kendo stick, furious as to what transpired the week prior, and gets in a few shots on Asuka before Alexander Wolfe attempts to pry the weapon away. In response, Nikki shoves it into his gut, before hitting him with a swinging neckbreaker and sending a message to Asuka that she’s just as much of a force to be reckoned with. And it’s later announced that this match has been declared official for Money In the Bank: let’s see if these two dangerous competitors can live up to their classic from NXT…
Money In The Bank (7/1/23): Nikki Cross vs. Asuka (c) - Raw Women’s Championship
Despite not having a stipulation like their Last Woman Standing Match in 2017, the match is still intense from start-to-finish. Cross runs at Asuka immediately, getting in some shots with the elbow to the side of the face. Asuka is forced to a sitting position, allowing Nikki to gather some steam from running along the ropes before landing a kick to Asuka’s jaw! Unfortunately for Cross, her frenzied nature ends up backfiring, as when the action shifts to the outside, Asuka dodges a running attack and sends Nikki nearly head first into the barricade! With Nikki instinctively grabbing her head after the missed maneuver, Asuka sees what to target, dragging Cross to the ring apron and repeatedly crushing her skull into the ring post. And as the action shifts back into the ring, it’s just more of the same, Asuka being momentarily hit by mini-bursts of offense, but the damage inflicted on the skull clearly affecting her. This is evidenced when Cross has Asuka lined up for the swinging neckbreaker, potentially able to get her the win…only to collapse before she can properly hit it. With that, Asuka is able to apply the Asuka Lock, and as happened a couple of weeks ago, Cross passes out in the hold.
Asuka def. Nikki Cross via submission pass-out to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
On the Raw after Money in the Bank, Candice LeRae would make her return from injury, calling out Asuka for a match…only to learn she isn’t in the building. But she decides to still issue a challenge, saying that while she wanted the Raw Women’s Title initially…now it’s about more than that. Asuka took out Candice’s friends and family, and left her away from the ring for too long…now, she wants to beat Asuka for vengeance first, gold later. And later on, it’s confirmed that the match will be taking place when Asuka returns…except it’ll be for the title as well! Pearce claims that the decision is due to Asuka’s recent actions, as after all, letting someone try to break someone’s limb after a match with no repercussions is a pretty bad look. But while this choice of action would normally upset some superstars…it might just put a smile on Asuka’s face…
Monday Night Raw (7/10/23): Candice LeRae vs. Asuka
Before making her entrance, Candice LeRae gets herself prepared with the rest of the Way, with Nikki Cross sitting in a corner nearby as well. Indi tells her to be cautious…Asuka’s a very dangerous competitor. LeRae of course knows this, but she’s caught off-guard by some words of wisdom from Nikki several feet away:
“Destroy her.”
Candice looks at Nikki, who’s staring back at her with something in her eyes…A look of needing something… wanting Candice to kill the Empress. LeRae nods, and she heads out to the ring, more confident than ever…And she truly gives it her all. LeRae’s strategy is simple: prevent Asuka from using her signature kicks. And for most of the match, she executes on her plan, moving herself back whenever she senses a roundhouse coming and catching Asuka off-balance. However, this was never going to last, and once Asuka lands a kick to the gut, she’s able to gather steam. And while this doesn’t finish LeRae, the “Poison Pixie” even managing to hit a springboard moonsault AND lock in a Garga-No Escape at various points, Asuka eventually locks in an Armbar on the previously-injured limb that Candice can’t overcome.
Asuka def. Candice LeRae via submission to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
After the match, the rest of the Way comes out, helping Candice to her feet. As they do so, Asuka stares at them, and then begins…counting them? The Way and the commentary team are confused, but as Asuka only counts four people…a maniacal expression overtakes her. She starts walking quickly to the back, and a few moments later, it becomes clear what her intentions were…
As the Way walks backstage, they’re horrified to discover a brutalized Nikki Cross! They rush over to her, asking who did this…and to no one’s surprise, she says it was Asuka. However, it soon becomes clear to Gargano…Ciampa might be next! While Indi and Candice stay with Nikki, Johnny (and Dexter to a lesser extent) start rushing through the halls, trying to get to the right locker room…but it’s too late, as SAnitY and Asuka are seen moving away from it! While Lumis stands guard, Gargano rushes inside, and finds Ciampa not just taken out…but also sprayed by Asuka’s mist! Johnny rushes over, giving Tommaso a towel, but as Tommaso wipes the mist off his face…there appears to be a dark look in his eyes, something not seen in him since when he destroyed DIY…
Remaining Build To SummerSlam:
While Ciampa, Gargano, and Lumis keep their attention towards SAnitY for a bit, Asuka shifts away from LeRae, Hartwell, and Cross, having beaten all three after all. With an open mic, she begins giving one of her standard energetic promos, seemingly wanting to know who her next challenger is gonna be…even though no one is ready for Asuka. It’s not long before someone interrupts though…and it’s someone who Asuka has grown familiar with in 2023…It’s Bianca Belair! The EST remained off television for several weeks following Night of Champions, but now, she’s back and angrier than ever. Bianca grabs the mic straight out of Asuka’s hand, and cuts a quick promo:
“Asuka… you say no one’s ready for you. But you’re wrong… because I’ve ALWAYS been ready for you. I proved that at WrestleMania 39, when I beat you clean in the center of this ring. And what did you do? You had to use that mist, that cursed, blinding mist. And you know what? Congratulations, it got you the title, but not for long. Because I say we have ONE MORE MATCH. But I think it’s time to have a match where no excuses can be made, and there are no rules to be broken. Asuka… At SummerSlam…I challenge you to HELL… IN A CELL!”
The crowd are clearly in favor of this stipulation…And it appears Asuka is too! She starts nodding repeatedly, and Bianca just stares on with a prepared look, perhaps fazed in the past by Asuka’s personality traits but now just ready to finally vanquish her and get the Raw Women’s Title back in her possession. In the remaining weeks, Bianca competes multiple times, getting the ring rust off with multiple victories, while Asuka is content with sitting at ringside for both contests…studying her competition…
SummerSlam (8/5/23): Bianca Belair vs. Asuka (c) - Hell in a Cell Match for the Raw Women’s Championship
We’ve finally made it to the Biggest Party of the Summer, and what better of a place to host it than in Detroit at Ford Field (definitely no bias as a Lions fan)! Once both Asuka and Belair are locked in the cage, the match starts at a feverish place, Bianca hitting a strong shoulder tackle only for Asuka to respond with a spinning backfist a few moments later! As the dust settles on the first fifteen seconds, the competitors look at each other, giving a momentary smirk and scoff apiece before continuing with the action. Bianca showcases her power, getting the Empress lifted in the Gorilla Press position and just hurling her at the cell wall! The several-foot fall to the floor certainly adds to the blow, and Bianca continues the assault outside the ring, slamming Asuka’s head repeatedly into the cage! However, she decides to look under the ring for a weapon, a table quickly catching her eye. She pushes it into the ring, but makes the mistake of turning her back to Asuka while doing so, the former Kana grabbing her from behind and hitting a Tiger Suplex onto the floor!
With Asuka now the lone woman standing, she follows up Bianca’s decision to look under the ring, pulling out a kendo stick. She feels it around in her grasp, getting a good feel for the damage she’s about to inflict. Once Bianca groggily gets to her feet, Asuka just decimates her back, hitting the stick ten times in immediate succession! However, Bianca’s able to dodge an eleventh shot targeted towards the throat, pulling the kendo stick to her and snapping it in half! Asuka looks briefly stunned, but not before she gives a condescending set of claps. In response, Belair grabs her, picking her up for a powerbomb and sending Asuka’s back to connect with the ring apron! Bianca then drags Asuka into the ring, proceeding to set up a table and initially primed to hit a K.O.D. through it. However, Asuka grabs Bianca’s hair, weakening her grip momentarily and presenting an opportunity to escape. Upon doing so, Asuka roundhouse kicks Belair, before getting her positioned on the table, climbing to the top rope…AND HITS A SPLASH ON BIANCA RIGHT THROUGH IT! 1-2-KICKOUT!
Despite the table spot being unable to put away Bianca, Asuka appears unfazed. She exits the ring, bringing a pair of steel steps back into the squared circle. Asuka picks Belair up, seemingly trying to hit a brainbuster on it…But Belair dodges, landing backwards on the steps before turning around and hitting a mini-elevated Spear! This leaves both women down for a few moments, but Bianca rises to her feet first. She gets in some of her signature offense, including a spinebuster on the steel steps! However, her attempt at a K.O.D. on the steps doesn’t work in her favor, with Asuka once again avoiding it. And unfortunately for Belair, Asuka is able to hit her with a suplex on the steps, this being the key factor for the rest of the match-up. With Bianca’s power lessened a bit AND Asuka’s submission hold targeting the back, she faces a tall task, and is ultimately unable to overcome it, the Asuka Lock resulting in a pass-out.
Asuka def. Bianca Belair via submission pass-out to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
After an impressive victory at SummerSlam, Asuka has definitely proven that she’s going to be difficult to beat. But soon enough, she finds herself confronted by a potentially harmful numbers game…
Monday Night Raw (8/7/23): Damage CTRL Promo
Despite recent events not going so well for Damage CTRL, with Dakota Kai tearing her ACL and neither Iyo Sky nor Bayley able to capture the Money in the Bank briefcase, they’re still determined to get momentum back on their side. Bayley makes the bold decision to call out Asuka, saying that if she were actually a fighting champion, she’d consider accepting a match for the title. Asuka comes out, grinning at Bayley trying to goad her into a title opportunity. Asuka looks at Bayley as just another poor soul to be destroyed, but Iyo…Iyo has potential. Asuka even tells Sky…”Bayley isn’t your friend…but I am…”
This seems to get in Iyo’s head, as she begins looking questioningly at Bayley, who attempts to diffuse the situation by just pointing out Asuka being a freak who gets in people’s heads. In response, Asuka kicks Bayley square in the gut, and when Iyo instinctively goes to fight, Asuka shakes her head…I don’t want to fight you… You don’t need to be part of this…
Remaining Build To Extreme Rules:
Over the coming weeks, Bayley becomes a little more sympathetic, her intentions appearing less out of pure arrogance and more about striving to win championship gold back and improve her honor. She goes on a winning streak, but when confronting Adam Pearce about getting a confirmed title shot, he says there’s one more person she has to beat…Iyo Sky.
At this same time, Iyo looks perturbed whenever she’s on television, still at Bayley’s side but signs pointing to her being less convinced than when Damage CTRL began. And after Bayley does defeat Iyo to earn the #1 Contendership, Sky is just left sitting in the ring, staring down at the mat whilst utterly disappointed. Bayley offers her a handshake, but Asuka stands at ringside, motioning her to come roll out of the ring and stand tall with her. In response, Iyo moves in neither woman’s direction, rolling out to the entrance ramp and walking away alone, uncertain of what her future holds.
But with Extreme Rules approaching, there must also be a stipulation, and after a set of assaults from Asuka leave Bayley staring at the lights, Bayley decides it’s in both of their best interest to settle on…A Last Woman Standing Match! Asuka can try to keep putting her down, but she’s gotten back up each time, and come the PPV…The reign of the Empress will be history.
Extreme Rules: Bayley vs. Asuka (c) - Last Woman Standing Match for the Raw Women’s Championship
In a rematch of their TakeOver: Dallas encounter, the feel of the match is similar to what it was several years ago. Bayley, despite having been around in WWE longer, is the underdog, looking to prove herself against a terrorizing monster who we’re unsure can truly be beaten. The action quickly spills out of the ring, with Bayley even managing to hit a quick Bayley-To-Belly Suplex. Unfortunately, Asuka gets up before even a count of 5, disturbing Bayley. The action spills into the crowd for a while, with Asuka suplexing Bayley on the staircase and the former “Hugger” sent tumbling down for a solid five seconds. But eventually, Bayley recaptures the momentum, finding a trash can with weapons and using a kendo stick to start wailing on Asuka. And as the action approaches a set-up table, Bayley is able to not just prop her up on it, but successfully hit an Elbow Drop from a ledge through it as well! Bayley gets up at a count of three, and while Asuka is left stunned by the move, she recovers at a count of 8, continuing the match-up.
From there, the match spills back closer to the ring, with Bayley putting Asuka in the ring before grabbing a table. She sets it up, but Asuka manages to recover in time to avoid a Bayley-To-Belly through it, instead tossing Bayley to the side momentarily before going at her with a running hip attack. Asuka keeps control for a bit, but as she looks to put Bayley through the table…Here comes Iyo Sky! She slowly walks to the ring, not attacking Asuka initially, but giving Bayley enough time to send Asuka off the top rope and to the floor. However, with the action back on the outside, Asuka looks to be a bit desperate, using her signature Mist to blind Bayley! After this happens, Iyo rushes over to Bayley to try and help…But Bayley shoves her down hard to the floor, thinking it was Asuka! Meanwhile, the real Asuka appears behind Bayley, dragging her back into the ring. Asuka decides to lock on the crossface chickenwing, attempting to pass out Bayley, but this seems to only increase the fire in her spirit, Bayley able to back her into a corner to break the hold. Bayley rubs her eyes, improving her vision, and she drags Asuka to the table, seemingly able to hit the Bayley-To-Belly through the table this time…
BUT IYO HITS BAYLEY IN THE BACK WITH A STEEL CHAIR FROM OUT OF NOWHERE! Bayley falls to her knees, slowly turning around with a look of heartbreak and pain on her face. Iyo returns the look with an icy cold stare, before Asuka pops-up behind Bayley, applying the Asuka Lock to pass the former “Role Model” out. But given this requires a ten count for Bayley to be down, and Asuka wanting to see what Iyo can do…she motions to the table. Iyo nods, getting Bayley set-up, climbing to the top rope, and hitting a Moonsault, crushing Bayley’s ribs, her friendship, and her hopes of winning the match in one fell swoop.
Asuka def. Bayley via KO to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
After the match, Sky raises Asuka’s hand, signifying the start of an absolutely lethal new duo in WWE…
With Iyo Sky now having made her allegiance clear, Asuka would appear set-up to remain dominating moving forward. However, the enemies she’s made over the past several months aren’t so quick to forget what transpired, which could potentially create problems…
Build To Survivor Series:
Despite having already made an impact to this point, Asuka and Iyo Sky aren’t just going to put away challengers…it’s time to take out everyone. After a singles win on Raw, Becky Lynch would be blindsided by Iyo, being laid out with several shots of the Steel Chair before a Moonsault to cap things off. The following week, Bayley expresses her dismay at being left alone, to which Asuka and Iyo interrupt, immediately kickstarting a brawl that would seem to favor them once again…Until out comes Becky Lynch! Despite having been bitter rivals earlier in the year, Becky makes the save for Bayley, the pair nodding at each other afterwards to signify a slight respect…We don’t have to like each other… but there’s a bigger threat to be stopped…
But soon enough, this action spills past just being a two-on-two situation. Zoey Stark, the former tag team partner of Iyo Sky in NXT, decides that Becky didn’t suffer enough during their rivalry after helping Trish at Night of Champions, and that it’s worth it for these veterans like her and Bayley to be ousted. Along with that, Asuka’s power and general craziness draws the interest of the Unholy Union known as Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn, the pair pledging loyalty to The Empress and perfectly willing to destroy Becky and Bayley. However, there are several other competitors backstage sick of seeing Asuka gaining an army, with Bianca Belair and the Way coming to the save to help even the odds. And of course, after a brawl featuring all of these competitors, William Regal comes out briefly to make his patented announcement:
To determine which team gets the advantage leading into Survivor Series, we get ourselves a strong match in Iyo Sky vs. Becky Lynch, really the catalyst of what’s led into a two-on-one situation into an upcoming 5v5 match inside a destructive steel structure. Becky more than holds their own, but Iyo Sky shines even brighter, a cheap shot by Stark eventually allowing Iyo to hit the Moonsault and give the “heels” the advantage.
Survivor Series: Bianca Belair, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Nikki Cross, and Candice LeRae vs. Asuka, Iyo Sky, Zoey Stark, Alba Fyre, and Isla Dawn - War Games Match
Kicking off the match is Zoey Stark and Becky Lynch, with Becky initially successful in getting Zoey downed, but Isla Dawn coming in presents a problem. She’s initially able to hold her off, but a chop block by Zoey Stark and a subsequent attack of the leg leaves Becky in a rough spot. She’s able to get some assistance, with Nikki Cross coming in with a trash can lid and just whacking Zoey and Isla around with ease. However, Alba Fyre is next to come out, and upon seeing Cross staring her down from inside the cage, she grabs a kendo stick, ready to defend herself. While Nikki initially gets the advantage, Stark and Dawn are able to pull Nikki back, sending her into the steel cage repeatedly. Bianca coming in next is a game changer however, the EST taking control of the match-up and getting a slight breather while awaiting the fourth competitor…which is Asuka!
But as the rest of the field comes in, with Asuka being the last entrant for her team and Bayley for the opposite side, the action starts to get more and more intense. With all of the competitors brawling in one ring, Iyo sees the chance to hit a Moonsault from the top of the cage, wiping out everybody (including herself)! However, a table being brought into the mix benefits the bayfaces, Bayley hitting Fyre with a Bayley-To-Belly through it (she finally got to hit it… just not on Asuka). However, the ending sequence comes down to Asuka and Iyo on their feet against Bayley and Becky, back where it essentially first started…AND IT ENDS WITH IO HITTING A MOONSAULT ON BAYLEY! 1-2-3!
Team Asuka def. Team Becky via pinfall
Just like that, Iyo Sky has once again proved her worth, defeating her former stablemate to win the match for her team and cementing herself as a force to be moving forward. And though a fairly small shot, we can see Asuka glance over at Iyo, a slight frown on her face for a moment before moving back to stand with the rest of her team. What could that mean…
Build To Royal Rumble:
Despite the result of the War Games Match, Becky Lynch isn’t through with either Asuka nor Iyo by a long shot. She fights off both of them over the coming weeks, along with picking up several singles victory, establishing herself as the next #1 Contender. And as Lynch points out, she and Asuka have history at Royal Rumble. Asuka beat her in singles action in 2019…before Lynch went on to win the Royal Rumble and headline Mania. But this isn’t about the Rumble match now…it’s time to put away the Empress.
As for Iyo, she also has a run of singles success, carrying a lot of momentum heading into the Royal Rumble Match. And soon, we learn that she requested training from one of the most respected female competitors in the locker room, a former NXT UK Champion…Meiko Satomura! While Satomura doesn’t intend to compete right away, she’s more than willing to help Iyo, with vignettes being shown of them together and Satomura even being at ringside for her matches. However, as this keeps happening, Asuka’s looks towards Iyo become more and more strained. Sky is abandoning me… after all I did for her… something’s going to change soon enough…
Royal Rumble: Becky Lynch vs. Asuka (c) - Raw Women’s Championship
Earlier in the night, Iyo Sky does indeed win the Royal Rumble match, punching her ticket to WrestleMania. This doesn’t seem to affect Asuka’s thoughts however, the Empress looking as ruthless and as calculated as ever en route to using an Armbar to submit Becky after a pretty back-and-forth encounter. And while Asuka proved herself the master of the Armbar between the pairing, Iyo Sky coming out with Meiko Satomura to acknowledge the title win seems to aggravate something in Asuka. Her grin has become a definite frown, and she stares an icy dagger through the pairing. Something isn’t right here…
Asuka def. Becky Lynch via submission to retain the Raw Women’s Title
Build To WrestleMania:
In a conversation between Meiko Satomura and Iyo Sky on an episode of Raw, Satomura asks if Sky would be willing to use her Rumble Victory position to challenge Asuka. Sky doesn’t look too convinced about doing that, which Satomura says is fine, but it’s advisable to weigh all her options. However, in the background, Asuka can be seen, carefully listening to the conversation.
A week later, Satomura addresses the WWE Universe. She’s made the announcement that she wants to have one last run before she retires, and wants to face some of the best names this women’s division has to offer…which is why she’s challenging Asuka for Elimination Chamber! Asuka comes out, her face paint being more red than usual…but while it looks like she’s having to contain herself, she shakes Satomura’s hand, seemingly paying respect to a legend.
Elimination Chamber: Meiko Satomura vs. Asuka (c) - Raw Women’s Championship
Unfortunately for Satomura, this retirement run of sorts looked to hit the ground before it could even get going. While she catches the Empress off guard at the beginning of the encounter, as time moves on, Asuka appears to be getting more and more angry. This comes to a boiling point when after one Tiger Suplex, Asuka hits another…then another…then another…then another! The ref pleads for Asuka to quit the assault, which she does…only to pull a Bryan Danielson and just start repeatedly kicking Satomura in the face! This goes on for disturbingly long, and when it’s become clear that Satomura is passed out, the ref calls for the bell, him having made the discretion for the match to end.
Asuka def. Meiko Satomura via ref stoppage
After the match, Iyo Sky rushes to the ring, checking on the woman who’s helped her out tremendously over the past couple of months. Asuka looks down at Iyo, a look of disgust on her face, before demanding to know who Sky is facing at WrestleMania. And it better be a specific answer…
The crowd roar in approval, Asuka somehow shocked initially…until a smile comes across her face. I’m not surprised you made that choice…but unfortunately, it’s the wrong one...it’s a shame this has to happen Iyo…so much potential…
WrestleMania 40: Iyo Sky vs. Asuka (c) - Raw Women’s Championship
Despite that inner monologue running through Asuka’s head at Elimination Chamber, Sky proves why she’s not to be taken lightly. On the Grandest Stage of them All, Iyo just looks…better. Having been around Asuka for several months, she knows the mechanics of her offense, doing a good job at avoiding those signature kicks while also having the speed advantage. And at the end of the match, Sky proves herself superior over The Empress of Tomorrow, hitting the second Moonsault of the match to pin Asuka, and end a spectacular title run while opening a new chapter for another one.
Iyo Sky def. Asuka via pinfall to win the Raw Women’s Championship
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2023.06.03 08:41 planetearthofficial Wurkkos fc 11 519a ! 5000k Why wasnt i alerted!

Wurkkos fc 11 519a ! 5000k Why wasnt i alerted! submitted by planetearthofficial to flashlight [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 08:11 No_Cow1 Is Graphic Packaging (GPK) a solid growth stock? 3 reasons to think "Yes"

Earnings Growth

Earnings growth is arguably the most important factor, as stocks exhibiting exceptionally surging profit levels tend to attract the attention of most investors. For growth investors, double-digit earnings growth is highly preferable, as it is often perceived as an indication of strong prospects (and stock price gains) for the company under consideration.
While the historical EPS growth rate for Graphic Packaging is 25.7%, investors should actually focus on the projected growth. The company's EPS is expected to grow 29.8% this year, crushing the industry average, which calls for EPS growth of -5%.

Cash Flow Growth

Cash is the lifeblood of any business, but higher-than-average cash flow growth is more beneficial and important for growth-oriented companies than for mature companies. That's because high cash accumulation enables these companies to undertake new projects without raising expensive outside funds.
Right now, year-over-year cash flow growth for Graphic Packaging is 53%, which is higher than many of its peers. In fact, the rate compares to the industry average of 13.9%.
While investors should actually consider the current cash flow growth, it's worth taking a look at the historical rate too for putting the current reading into proper perspective. The company's annualized cash flow growth rate has been 19.3% over the past 3-5 years versus the industry average of 13.9%

Promising Earnings Estimate Revisions

The superiority of a stock in terms of the metrics outlined above can be further validated by looking at the trend in earnings estimate revisions. A positive trend is of course favorable here. Empirical research shows that there is a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements.
The current-year earnings estimates for Graphic Packaging have been revised upward. The Estimate for the current year has surged 3.5% over the past month.

Bottom Line

This combination indicates that Graphic Packaging is a potential outperformer and a solid choice for growth investors.
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2023.06.03 07:42 Drakolf Dragon Rising- 13. The Storm:

"You want to what!?" Galax yapped.
"Is it really that surprising?" I asked. "Five Clerics have awakened due to their faith in Kurtulmak, You built your Temple outside of the town out of respect for the people, yes, but you could not build it in town because this land is Kurtulmak's." I paused. "Thus, on the behalf of our Clerics, I am requesting that a Temple be built."
"It's not an unreasonable request." Kuvli spoke. "Not to mention, without his help, we would all be dead."
"Without Bahamut's intervention, we would be dead!" Tallyn snapped.
"Yes, and you have enjoyed a very significant upsurge in attendance at the Temple." I replied. "Everyone knows where it is, how to reach it. You've even begun construction on an outer wall specifically to protect it from another attack."
"This is demanding preferential treatment!" Galax screeched.
"Oh, would you shut the fuck up?" Nakk asked. "You and your Temple have had it out for Ruuk since he made contact with Kurtulmak, and I guarantee you, if anyone else so much as talked with him, you'd burn them at the stake!"
"When have we been hostile to him?" Galax asked.
"Running through the list." Nakk said. "First, your Paladin tries to ruthlessly murder his brother because he wasn't, I don't know, sincere enough. Then you excommunicated him. Your Paladin went to his place, planning on spying on them under the pretense of temporary service. Then, when he went to your Temple, you spent several minute interrogating him before even giving him that- not to mention how casually one of your own considered using your own holy vestments as a punishment. I'm real sure your God is happy about that!" He added sarcastically.
He paused, taking a sip of water and clearing his throat. "Then-" His voice cracked and he cleared his throat again. "Then, when we were attacked. you spent basically the entire time praying instead of doing something, and when any of your faithful fell, your Clerics cast Revivify on them, saving them from death." He spoke this with barely restrained fury. "And then! You had the fucking audacity to openly admit you want this place to be a theocracy, giving an absolute non-answer to avoid telling the naked truth! You have been nothing but suspicious of his intentions, no matter what he says, no matter how he acts! Your God is ashamed of you!"
The silence was only punctuated by Nakk's enraged gasping. He had stood up, and now he leaned forward, his fingers being the only part of his hands touching it. "Maybe you started out genuine." He said in a terrifyingly cold voice. "But I don't trust a religion that talks shit about people behind their backs, and I sure as hell don't trust a religion full of hypocrites."
He sat back down, glaring at them.
"How did you know about some of those things?" I asked.
"I've got like thirty Rogues under my belt and twenty Way of Shadows monks on standby. I kept it a secret because keeping tabs on our local authorities allows us to call them out on corruption and bullshit. So far, the ones concerned most about justice are more interested in having Heaven on Earth. We've gotten complaints about your Clerics proselytizing, making it very obvious that your every action is a prayer to Bahamut."
He glanced at the rest of us. "It's fucking performative at best and insincere at worst. Plus, you have the monopoly of giant Dragon men, who must dedicate themselves to Bahamut- and even then, they're the only ones more consistently following him. It's almost like being transformed into a Dragonborn by a ritual that requires you to abandon your past life and your past ideals makes you actually willing to follow the teachings. Need I say more?"
He went silent, everyone just... stared at him in shock.
"Youi've had monks this entire time?" Tudru asked.
"Hey, having people who can turn invisible in the darkness and spy on people is great." Nakk replied. "Their representative approached me, asking me to keep their existence a secret because they knew what I was doing, and wanted to hold me accountable as well. And no, I don't know who they are, because they wore a very blatant ninja costume and had a carved wooden mask with kabuki designs painted on it."
"I've been aware of them as well." Tatla replied. "They've been doing the same for me, I'm pretty sure they're Unawoken volunteers, and they only seek out Unawoken who haven't found their Class."
"How many people here were unaware of these ninjas?" I asked.
Myself, Kalith, Tudru, Tallyn, and Galax raised our hands.
"Wow, get fucked, us." Tudru remarked.
"In any case." Nakk continued. "I've been keeping a close eye on you, Tallyn, Ruuk, and Kalith, and considering a lot of the shit you've pulled, the fact that I'm not demanding the destruction of your Temple, even if it means our friends and family stay dead, is the fact that you've been useful. The moment you step out of line, the moment you leverage your monopoly over future resurrections to enforce your theocracy, that's the moment I'm going to walk up to you and slit your fucking throat."
I didn't know what surprised me more. The fact that he was fully willing to kill Bahamut's High Priest here, or the fact that he didn't seem to know about mine and Kurtulmak's plans. An entire hidden spy ring, and a shadowy clan of Monks, there was no way they didn't know.
'Do I trust them, believing them to be on my side, or do I play stupid, and wait until I know for certain they support our goal?'
"We let Tallyn build his Temple. Not pissing off the God who's been helping us from the beginning is in our best interests, and if Bahamut wants to step up to the plate, then he's more than welcome to. I, for one, am not holding my breath. Especially since he's probably fucked off to find Tiamat or is banking on Kurtulmak keeping things stable here while he keeps her from causing any significant fires."
It came down to a vote, it was unanimous. Galax and Tallyn looked like they'd just had their every dream crushed, considering how fervent I got briefly, it was entirely likely they got carried away.
"Now, Tallyn. It might interest you to know the other Sorcerers have been organizing with the intent on taking over the Warren. "Nakk stated. "Considering your God outright threatened them for trying to use him as a means to gain power, you might have an idea as to what to do."
"Are they trying to summon Demons?" I asked.
"Not yet, at any rate." Nakk remarked. "But considering you're Level Five now, and they're still stuck at Level 3, I figured you might want to get on that."
"You're Level Five!?" Tallyn roared.
"As if you have any room to complain, Mr. Level 6 Paladin." Nakk remarked.
"How the fuck did you manage that?" Tudru asked.
Tallyn looked away. "We've been having a bit of an issue with undead." He said.
Even Nakk was caught off guard by his words. "There are fucking undead in the catacombs!?"
"We have been doing our best to keep the situation stable." Galax stated. "Hallow is a Fifth Level spell, that means we need to reach Level 9."
"We've basically been level grinding off of the undead." Tallyn said, his voice full of shame. "But it's the only thing we can do. They're just... so angry, accusing us of leaving them to die, accusing us of knowing about the mine ahead of time. They just mindlessly attack us, and it's all we can do to keep them down."
"You should have told us." I said. "We could have come up with a better solution, hell, we could have cremated them, or or something."
"That would not have solved the issue." Galax said. "They are angry and restless because they died violent and pointless deaths. We kept this secret because if this got out, the people would lose faith in us, at best, we'd be exiled. At worst, executed. We've had to deal with the fact that we're killing our loved ones over and over again." For the first time ever, I saw how exhausted he was. "We were doing routine maintenance when the attack happened. We couldn't devote anyone to more than defense simply because most of our spells go toward putting down ghosts. That is why we brought back our faithful. We can't afford to lose anyone, and now it's only going to get worse."
"Then move the dead here." We all looked to see Kurtulmak entering the Council Room. "I have a Pact with Kalith, I can observe what he is doing when I feel like it, and today I felt like keeping up with current events."
"Why should we move our dead here, in the middle of a populated area?" Tallyn asked.
"Because this land is my domain." Kurtulmak replied. "I may hallow and unhallow the land as I see fit, I can choose to imbue it with any effect I desire. Move your dead here, and they will finally know rest. I have exactly one condition for this."
"What is your condition?" Galax asked.
"Kneel before me, and beg my mercy." Kurtulmak replied with venom in his words. "Your actions have harmed the Warren."
Galax nodded and stood. He walked over to Kurtulmak, and after a moment of hesitation, he kneeled and said. "Please, have mercy on me and my Temple."
"Acknowledge me as Master of my Domain."
"Master." I said. "You are moving the goalposts. This isn't the time, nor the place, nor is it worth pissing Bahamut off."
"You speak sense, Ruuk." Kurtulmak looked at Galax once more. "'I grant you leniency for your actions against your Warren. However, understand if there is a next time, I will have you call me Master. Rise."
Galax stood up, he was clearly trying to hold in his indignation.
"In recognition that I did, indeed, go too far, I grant you permission to build a Temple within my Domain. I shall cede just enough land to Bahamut, under the understanding that once this situation has concluded, that Temple will be removed and my land returned to me. I shall ask no tithe of you, but may change my mind if you continue any form of belligerence against me or my followers. And if any of my Followers wish to seek counsel from you and your priests, you will give them guidance as you would any of your faithful, and I shall do the same. Is this understood?"
"Yes." Galax replied.
"Go, build your Temple, retrieve your dead."
At this, the meeting was adjourned. I walked over to Nakk, who was just leaving. "Care to have some company?" I asked.
"By all means." He said. We walked out together, and after a few minutes, I said, "You have listened in on my conversations with my God." I said.
"They are all fascinating discussions." He said. "Especially the followers you've amassed. A Warlock, a handful of Clerics, and others."
"What are your intentions?" I asked.
He led me down an unfamiliar road. "I will be frank with you." He said. "The Council isn't going to last forever. All of our desires pull us in different directions, and I sure as shit am not qualified for that." He stopped and faced me, then surprised me by kneeling. "Imperator Ruuk Stingtail, the Shadowscale Clan has chosen to pledge our service to you and our God. We will continue to work toward the establishment of your Empire."
I smiled, nodding. "Continue to serve us faithfully. Though you have not asked for a reward, I will ensure our God and Master rewards you appropriately."
He nodded. "Thank you." He said. "Is there anything you need, any information you require?"
"Can you or any of your Rogues create a still image?" I asked.
"Yes. What do you need?"
"I need an image of the interior of our enemies' base of operations beyond the wall, the place where they plan their movements. With an image, I should be able to listen in."
"As you wish, Imperator."
"Rise, before anyone happens upon us." I said.
He stood up. "S'not going to happen, Imperator. This entire street is inhabited by my Rogues, The Monks are neutral, but they do not care who leads."
I nodded. "Then it's in my best interests to earn their loyalty." I said. "Why do you wish for our Empire to rise?"
"Simple." He said. "I'm not cut out to help lead a nation, but I sure as hell am able to keep tabs on people. The Dragon-worshipers would make Bahamut's will law, they've spoken of a nation where everyone is faithful, where vestments are worn by all, where evil is punished. Shit's too rigid and it's going to get people killed. You and our Master, though, I know what he wants, I know he doesn't give a shit if we're good or evil. What he does care about is that we're safe."
"What do you know about the Sorcerers?" I asked.
"They want power, and they don't care how they get it. They are a direct rival to you, because they want to rule the Warren as well." He looked at me. "They do, however, respect power, you being a full two levels above them might be enough to get them to capitulate."
I shook my head. "No." I said. "I don't want anyone who even so much as thinks of betraying anyone. Keep an eye on them, if they start making any obvious attempts at contacting any beings, ensure whatever happens fucks up royally, to the point where they're terrified of ever doing it again. Do they have any outside help?"
"No. It's just them and their little circle."
"Ruin any material components they have for anything too dangerous. either that, or replace it with something different. Understood?"
"Yes, Imperator." He replied. "Would you like one of my Rogues to be available in the event you need something?"
"Yes, if they can be surreptitious." I paused for a moment. "Is there anything else?"
"No, Imperator. I will get everything prepared."
"Excellent. And Nakk, be sure to swing by so our Master can meet you properly."
We continued along the street and went our separate ways. I was getting more and more used to the idea of ruling this place, ensuring my Master's will was followed. I paused, examining that thought. It was the first time I had internally referred to Kurtulmak as Master. I thought about why I thought of him as such, I hadn't been avoiding it for any particular reason, if anything, this was just a slip of the metaphorical tongue.
Yet the more I thought about it, the more I realized that, yes, I absolutely considered him my Master.
I resumed walking, the two Temples were in the process of being built and people were observing with curiosity. I knew I would go in one day to show that even hosting my Master in my home, I respected him enough to give him the proper respect he deserves.
I still helped other Kobolds, even the Humans who had remained with us this long received my aid, but I was beginning to think, perhaps it was time for them to just join us. I greeted them, asked them how their day was and if they needed anything fixed. "No, Councilor. We're just doing our best with what we've got."
I nodded. "I understand." I said. "I used to miss being Human, but after the attack... It's absolutely irrational, but every time I see Humans, I feel a little jolt of panic."
They looked at me with expressions of sympathy. I told them of how proud I was of them for trying their hardest, for doing their best. "Sometimes, I just wish you were comfortable with being a Kobold." I said.
One of them began to transform, and then more of them joined when they expressed happiness. I welcomed them, and subtly encouraged them to ensure the Humans of the Warren were happy with where they were.
'The sooner they're all Kobolds, the better.' I thought idly. It took me longer than I care to admit, but I eventually realized I had thought that thought. I looked at another Human as they passed by, and the realization hit me. 'I hate Humans.'
I had always promised myself when I was younger and still Human that I would never be so low as to become racist, yet with all of the shit they put us through in the past half year alone, the very thought of Humans just filled me with rage and disgust.
I didn't think of our Humans as such, just... misguidedly holding onto their Humanity.
The next Human who spoke to me, it wasn't even a conscious thought, I didn't hate him, I just couldn't stand what he was. Seeing him embrace Koboldhood filled me with joy and delight, and I knew, before I achieved anything significant in life, before I raised up our Empire, I was going to ensure every Human embraced our way of life fully.
I started going out of my way toward the Humans, never overtly forcing them, just making them come to the conclusion that it was for the best, that they would be happier as a Kobold, that maybe they could help the other Humans embrace it. That maybe it should be mandatory at this point/
"Aren't you tired of feeling useless?" I asked. "You are better than you think you are, you know."
It was so easy, these people respected me, they trusted me, my opinions. I eventually dropped the pretense. "I think you would be happier as a Kobold." I would say. "It's a shame you can't fully be part of the Warren."
Like an avalanche, the transformations proliferated,, propagating as the former Humans came to accept what they should have accepted all along. I felt a rush of power as I gained another Level, it felt so easy to do,
I grew aware of a new spell, one that would allow me to slip into the Astral Plane if I so desired, I returned home, and looking at my Master as he continued working, I couldn't help but feel I wanted to do something for him.
I knelt. "I have gained power, Master." I said. "As well as the fealty of the Rogues. Nakk will be coming along to meet you properly."
"You kneel when I did not command it." Master remarked. "Why?"
"You are my Master."I replied. "I have come to the understanding I should be showing you my devotion more overtly. Case in point, I thought of you as my Master, where before I simply would mentally refer to you by your name. I don't know if I simply didn't accept it fully, or if there was some other factor, maybe I was just a little uncomfortable. I have such reservations anymore. You are my Master, and I am your servant."
He nodded. "Was there anything else?" He asked.
"I've convinced many Humans to embrace becoming a Kobold, and have convinced them to convince others. The result was... exponential."
"I see. I was wondering why the Humans had embraced the Warren completely. Why did you do it?"
"I realized I hate Humans." I replied. "And because they continued to stubbornly cling to a life they'll never have again, I helped them embrace the Warren. The joy on their faces simply makes it better."
"To do something so inherently selfish, yet to enjoy such a positive reaction. What a novelty."
"Master?" I asked, confused.
"Ruuk, congratulations. You have done your first overtly evil action. You have manipulated countless people to abandon their Humanity, all because your hatred could not reconcile their existence."
His words shook me in a way I hadn't expected. He was right, I had done something evil, I had done something irrevocably fucked up. "Does that make me evil?" I asked.
"Neutral." He replied. "Still leaning toward good. I am proud of you, Ruuk, you exerted your authority in a way to ensure our Empire's success. Those with power take what they need, what they want. You and I will see this world kneel."
I nodded, smiling."Thank you, Master." I said. "For your guidance."
"If you ever wish to fully embrace this, simply think of something you want, anything you desire, and take it."
"Anything I want..." I mused. "There is one thing, Master."
"Then grasp it tightly, no hesitation, not when- Wha-!?"
I didn't resist the impulse, obeyed him without hesitation. I took hold of him, and kissed him. He stared at me in shock as I pulled away. "The audacity." He hissed.
"Apologies, Master. I got caught up in the moment." I said.
He took hold of me by my armor. "It takes a special kind of foolishness to manhandle your God." He spoke in a threatening tone. He lifted me up and threw me onto the bed, then he pinned my wrists against it. His eyes were filled with fury, his grip so tight it hurt.
"No hesitation, Master." I said. "Make me hurt."
"No." He said. He let go and climbed off of me. "I did, after all, challenge you to embrace your desires. I should have anticipated it." He sat on the foot of the bed, the anger still smoldering in him.
"I am sorry, Master." I said. "In that moment, I wanted nothing more than to try."
"Why?" He asked. "Why did you too something so recklessly foolish?"
"Likely because I've never actually been with someone." I admitted. "In the moment, I realized I just... I wanted to know what it felt like."
"You will have all of the time in the world for consorts." He replied. "Why me?"
"Love, perhaps." I replied. "If not blind and reckless lust. May I touch you, Master?"
"Why?" He asked.
"To comfort you, to apologize for my actions."
"You may."'
I rested my hand on his shoulder, the texture of his scales was rough, yet pleasant. I didn't realize I was beginning to lean in to kiss him again until I realized how close I was. He shot me a scathing look as I pulled away. "Sorry, Master." I said.
"Undress." He said. I didn't even hesitate. He pushed me down again, not as roughly, his hands grasped my wrists and pinned me down. "I do this to show you I am not a gentle lover. I am going to make you hurt, Ruuk. I am going to make you beg for death."
I flashed him an audacious grin.

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2023.06.03 07:35 revderrick Tower Defense Scenario went great tonight! Here are my rules, hope you enjoy!

Just had a blast running my group of 5 10th level PCs through this tower (manor) defense for the session. They managed to survive until the 7th round, when their allies arrived to end the scenario in their favor. They had one PC down, another two around 10 hp, two of their Fronts destroyed and a 3rd ready to crumble next round, so things really ended in the nick of time. It took us about 3 hours to run through the 7 rounds. If you wanted to make things easier and quick you could have the allies arrive initially on an earlier round, which they can then speed up with some lucky roles in the Invocation Chamber.
They didn't use the Bolster Defenses action at all. Maybe that should be a move instead of an action? Although maybe it's better as an action to leave for a desperate moment, but add to the healing?
Their manor has a garden hedge surrounding the back yard, so that gave them an extra Front. They also have 50 awakened shrubs that they can form into awakened trees by combining 10 shrubs (or 2 mobs for the scenario) as part of their established manor defenses.
These monsters were all lightning themed, because they're currently being assaulted by the Elemental Prince of Lightning.
Tower Defense Rules
The party has to hold out while reinforcements come in 10 “rounds”. Each round is 5-10 minutes of real time. At the start of each round, a certain number of enemies appear and a special event happens, based on the table below. If enemies “approach” they have to use their first turn only moving and thus get no attack (except for Front 2, which has no approach). If the enemies “appear’ they begin adjacent to the Front and can attack it that turn.
Enemies are either mobs or stompers. Mobs are big groups of small enemies. Stompers are big single brutes. If they survive to the end, they gain a short rest while their allies come to their aid, before the Lightning Prince shows up and a boss fight commences.
Monster don't roll initiative, instead taking action(s) on designated turns. Monsters don’t roll to hit Fronts, just deal auto damage. Roll as normal to hit defenders. All mobs can occupy another creature’s space and vice versa, and the mob can move through any Front w/ 0 hp. The mob has advantage on Strength and Dexterity ability checks and saving throws. Effects that use an area of effect deal double damage to the mob as long as the mob has half of its hit points or more. All mobs are immune to: charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, prone, restrained, stunned unless it affects an area of creatures.
Any creature that ends its turn in a mob’s area or within 30 feet of the mob and the mob can see it, is targeted by an attack. All defenders grant advantage when outside a defensive Front or within a compromised one.
The house is divided into 5 Fronts (6 if the assault on the basement commences). 1- Front door, 2- North Wall, 3- South Wall, 4- Garden Hedge, 5- East Wall, 6- Basement. When a Front collapses, the monsters gain access beyond it, so to the house for 1, 2 & 5, to the garden for 4, and to the basement for 3. When an area is compromised, all special rooms within are lost. If 3 Fronts fall before reinforcements arrive, the PCs lose the house and the battle.
At the start of the combat, they have all 50 shrubs active, in groups of 5.
Each round, a PC can take following action(s). Most actions take their typical action to use.
Each special room has an ability that can be tapped during the battle:
Monsters (all in groups of 10 unless otherwise noted)
  1. Lil Bolts: AC 12, 50 hp, init 20 & 10; Str 7 (-2), Dex 15 (+2), Con 9 (-1), Int 8 (-1), Wis 7 (-2), Cha 8 (-1) Atk: Nearest Front and any creatures guarding it. +4 (w/ adv if has 25+ hp remaining), 1d4+2 (double if 25+ hp remaining).
  2. Streaks: AC 11, 125 hp, init 10; Str 8 (-1), Dex 12 (+1), Con 12 (+1), Int 9 (-1), Wis 11 (0), Cha 7(-2) Atk: Nearest Front and any creatures guarding it. +3 (+1 per 25 hp), 1d6 lightning (+1d6 per 25 hp)
  3. Strikers: AC 11, 100 hp, init 20; Str 7 (-2), Dex 13 (+1), Con 10 (0), Int 9 (-1), Wis 11 (0), Cha 12(+1) Atk: Nearest Front and any creatures guarding it. +3 (+1 per 25 hp), 2d4 lightning (+1d4 per 25 hp)
  4. Rumblers (Stompers, 1 per group): AC 14, 140 hp, init 10; Str 20 (+5), Dex 11 (0), Con 20 (+5), Int 8 (-1), Wis 6 (-2), Cha 10 (0) Atk: Makes 2 attacks, each can target any Front or creature in range. Melee: +9, 3d8+6. Ranged: 30’, +9, 4d10+6.
Event Table
Round Monsters Special Event
1 1d10 Lil Bolts Bolts approach all Fronts as evenly as possible.
2 1 Lil Bolt per Front; 1d4 Streaks Streaks approach 2 Fronts with fewest Bolts.
3 1 Lil Bolt per Front, 1d4 Streaks,1d4 Strikers Streaks & Strikers approach on 2 weakest Fronts.
4 2d6 Lil Bolts Lil Bolts appear evenly on 2 strongest Fronts
5 N/A An unnerving calm washes over the battle. Defenders make Wisdom saves at DC 12 or gain Frightened condition until end of next turn and cannot move or use special rooms (unless already there).
6 1d4+1 Rumblers Rumblers smash down from the sky, appear on all Fronts evenly.
7 2d6 Lil Bolts Lil Bolts approach 2 weakest Fronts.
8 1d4 Streaks, Strikes, 1 Rumbler New mobs approach location(s) with PCs.
9 2 Lil Bolts per Front, 1 Streak & Strike per Front New mobs attack recklessly.
10 3 Lil Bolts per Front, 1d4 Rumblers All mobs attack recklessly, favoring PCs.
submitted by revderrick to DnD [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 06:33 AshAndy83 I love trying to piece this puzzle of a show together! Read on for clues and a new theory.

Here’s a collection of clues from S2 ep1-6 to help support a new theory.
((Heads up! I had to split posts several times since the first was way too long for me do so. I’m sorry!!))
But first! Let’s cover some groundwork from S1, which led to my analyses of S2.
Based on the cave drawings, we learn the place could be an entirely different world. By nature, cave drawings are meant to communicate the history and origins of a civilization, and by trope, they’re further meant to explain the source of the major conflict the characters are facing in the present.
Here’s looking at GOT’s White Walker origin story and Raised By Wolves’s Sol and Serpent as both shows used the same device. In From, we see its Natives travel by river to a place where they encountered an ancient evil—the symbol Jade sees is drawn, as well as a giant red entity. It’s safe to assume they are one in the same.
The symbol may be the creature’s mechanism to invoke change as we see white stick figure drawings transform into red stick figures, which highly allude to the monsters who torment the town. A monster did confirm they were made that way.
The lighthouse Boyd and Sara see implies the strange land is by water which supports the cave drawing. In general, the lighthouse’s purpose is to aid in navigation to either stay away, danger beware and to come this way—all pertaining to the paradox of the town. Lastly, the painting of an Adam and Eve-esque couple with a creature terrifyingly towering over them strongly supports the different world concept—that’s where they’re From.
So here’s my theory—
There are TWO forces at work on the town.
An advanced civilization operates the town as a fear farm (think Maze Runner) in order to defeat the ancient evil who thrives off fear (think Pennywise creature) which plagues the real world “outside” of the town.
The monsters, being a product of their creator, have a simple duty to satiate their creator’s need to feed on fear, whereas the civilization takes advantage of this—Like a cage with a snare trap function, the town is designed to psychologically house people (think Wandavision) to keep them alive and comfortable “for the most part” (electricity, running water, food) in order to continue harvesting their fear by trapping people in with monsters and manipulating them like Boyd, ultimately producing a hero serum—the “worm” blood, which killed the Smiley monster.
“They” need to continue this cycle to keep eradicating monsters in the real world and to keep the ancient evil at bay from attacking their own society.
Now since From is also a sci fi show, we can make things extra by adding a time element. The world may not even be alien. It could take place so, so far into the future, Earth is no longer what it is. In order to retrieve “stock,” “They” must resort to the past by plucking people from different timelines to accommodate the ancient evil’s cyclical appetite by starting fresh with a new batch of people. The glass bottles hanging from the tree also support this due to the collection of random years.
We can go even crazier and say the ancient evil is a consequence of a causal loop where the future event created the past event which in turn creates the future event—I know, mindfuck —which is why this society uses and sacrifices people from humanity’s past in order to justify the agenda as it’s for the common good of humanity—or what’s left of it.
This is why the title is intentionally ambiguous, besides matching the ambiguity of the show, but because from does reference so many things regarding the plot.
Also, the beginning credits song hints at the people’s fate being sealed and in general, there is no future to see because humanity's future is way too bleak: “Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see. Que sera sera.” What a paradox since this song sounds so carefree.
Now let’s look back at a few S1 tea. We know the MCs all experienced major life changes, both good and bad, before getting trapped: Kenny and Tian-Chen managing the dad’s dementia, Kristi was about to enter medical school, Boyd has Parkinson’s, the Matthews lost their baby, Jade just sold his software company, etc. For the most part, they’re all holding onto heavy emotions.
As if the trap “They” created only catches certain people based on their emotional standing in order to produce more favorable fear outputs. So in a sense, the people are chosen.
In episode Book 74, when Father Kahtri found Sara, she said:
“Because... they told me things, things they couldn't know (“They” chose her, of course they know about her.) They told me those two cars were coming and to stand out near the edge of town and I would see. (“They” planned to do this).
They said it happened before, that two cars came on the same day and EVERYONE died. Heavily alludes it’s a cycle.
They said it was because of the people in the cars, (Jim the mechanical engineer and Jade the software developer were chosen) but if... if I did what they said, that we'd be safe, we'd get to go home.”
For as long as Victor has been there, he’s NEVER seen two cars arrive at the same time, let alone have an accident—an important detail—perhaps the element needed to spark the next chain of events, which also prompted “Them” to manipulate Sara to carry out murder plots—the youngest and most vulnerable of them all. It’s like a formula must be followed.
In an exchange between Jim and Tabitha about the same bracelet she found from her past (psychological trigger either to drive behavior or cause more emotional stress), Tabitha said, “I was so afraid I ruined it, but then, when I gave it to you, you said, "Accidents--"
Jim: "Accidents are the best part." Yes. Why? Ah, because it makes it one of a kind. Call back to their accident with Jade. Adding Jim and Jade together at the same time adds a unique element to the cycle.
With all that being said, there’s too much sleeping and dreaming clues to ignore, which is why I’m hoping it’s more metaphoric like what transpired in Wandavision and not a Matrix or 1899 simulation since that would take away so many supernatural elements—like I want those sick kids to be actual ghosts haunting Tabitha on a land actually inhabited by things we always thought were myth. But then again, I can see “Them” copy the real world of monsters into this simulation in order to get the best results. Contradictory, there are also many Is this real? This is real. references which does imply everything the characters are experiencing is in fact directly happening to them. Agh! The paradox kills me!
Whew! Now that that’s covered, let’s unpack what we’ve seen in S2 so far that supports my reasoning rant above. Here’s the most important details in order, along with brief scene captions for clarity.
Edit: please see multiple posts of the breakdown.
submitted by AshAndy83 to FromTVEpix [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 06:19 RedHeadReviews METRO BOOMIN PRESENTS SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE Is Another Lazy Big-Budget Film Soundtrack - Album Review

On his last album, HEROES & VILLAINS, Metro Boomin assembled a cast of hip-hop’s biggest stars and dragged them into a gloomy world of his own design. Under his favoured conditions, the producer teased out performances from his guests that ranked among their best, highlighting the talent of the leading figures of this current generation of rap. He strives to do the same on METRO BOOMIN PRESENTS SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE, a big-budget soundtrack accompanying the animated film, but fails to muster the same level of effort from himself and his peers.
Metro’s latest album is bloated with casual appearances and half-baked themes. Everyone raps about wanting to be the hero, virtually no one puts the work in to steal the show. When his guests have provided sanitized performances on previous collaborative albums, Metro was at least able to mute their narrow range with his elaborately composed signature inky beats. The producer’s work here is sometimes rendered listless as he is forced to cater to a bigger set of guests and consider an even more expansive audience.
It is worth noting that METRO BOOMIN PRESENTS SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE is not a Metro Boomin project in the traditional sense. He is the ringleader of this campaign but the producer isn’t afforded the luxury of making a cohesive soundscape. Metro’s preferred selection of eerie, distorted synths and rumbling bass motifs are still present, however, most of the album plays out in unfamiliar terrain for him. His forays into the realm of the extraterrestrial go down smoothly thanks to the help of MIKE DEAN, elsewhere the beats slink, stripped of any ornate designs that may provide crucial texture. The beatmakers’ limits are frequently tested here and so rarely does exiting his comfort zone yield positive results.
To accommodate each of the twenty guests, Metro must upset several secure artists pairings. Lil Wayne and Offset breed healthy competition on Annihilate, each rapper tries to one-up the other with increasingly punchy enunciation and flashy flows. The pair’s antics are washed away though when Swae Lee is awkwardly inserted to croon feebly on the chorus. Metro reunites with James Blake for Hummingbird, a five-minute showstopper where the duo seamlessly marry their production styles, intermeshing barbed percussion with swirling synths. When they let A$AP Rocky and 21 Savage tag along on Nonviolent Communication it becomes a complete snoozefest.
References to inane acts of heroism and peril are littered across the script but because most of the cast are doing the bare minimum they dampen any notes of actual danger. Metro’s usually reliable roster of rappers; Future, 21 Savage, and Don Toliver, turn in excruciatingly passive performances, and the supplementary cohort of fresh voices doesn’t stand out either. When Roisee sings “Not done fighting, I don't feel I lose” on Am I Dreaming, her aggression is cushioned by the gooeyness of her auto-tune and her druggy slur. The choruses are particularly unimaginative. We get it, this is music made to promote a Spider-Man film, but there are more enthralling ways to tie the two media together than having Offset repeat the word “Spider” over and over again.
There are moments of individual brilliance. JID breathes life into Danger (Spider) with his winding, highly technical rapping ability, 2 Chainz is jubilant as he laps every second he gets to play hero on Givin’ Up (Not The One), and James Blake’s ghoulish falsetto is always a devastating tool for creating tension. But there simply aren’t enough of these punchy performances to generate sufficient intrigue to hold your attention for the album’s full fourty-seven-minute runtime.
Metro is no stranger to making albums where world-building and, as of late, superheroes are key. Considering the sweeping set pieces he’s made in the past, his work on METRO BOOMIN PRESENTS SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE is bereft of ambition. The album will no doubt go on to garner a few hundred million streams but that has everything to do with the names attached to it and not what they actually bring to the music. This all-star cast is capable of doing so much but they choose to keep the action-packed sequences to a minimum. With great power comes great responsibility goes the old adage, no one here seems to register that.
submitted by RedHeadReviews to rap [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 06:19 RedHeadReviews METRO BOOMIN PRESENTS SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE Is Another Lazy Big-Budget Film Soundtrack - Album Review

On his last album, HEROES & VILLAINS, Metro Boomin assembled a cast of hip-hop’s biggest stars and dragged them into a gloomy world of his own design. Under his favoured conditions, the producer teased out performances from his guests that ranked among their best, highlighting the talent of the leading figures of this current generation of rap. He strives to do the same on METRO BOOMIN PRESENTS SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE, a big-budget soundtrack accompanying the animated film, but fails to muster the same level of effort from himself and his peers.
Metro’s latest album is bloated with casual appearances and half-baked themes. Everyone raps about wanting to be the hero, virtually no one puts the work in to steal the show. When his guests have provided sanitized performances on previous collaborative albums, Metro was at least able to mute their narrow range with his elaborately composed signature inky beats. The producer’s work here is sometimes rendered listless as he is forced to cater to a bigger set of guests and consider an even more expansive audience.
It is worth noting that METRO BOOMIN PRESENTS SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE is not a Metro Boomin project in the traditional sense. He is the ringleader of this campaign but the producer isn’t afforded the luxury of making a cohesive soundscape. Metro’s preferred selection of eerie, distorted synths and rumbling bass motifs are still present, however, most of the album plays out in unfamiliar terrain for him. His forays into the realm of the extraterrestrial go down smoothly thanks to the help of MIKE DEAN, elsewhere the beats slink, stripped of any ornate designs that may provide crucial texture. The beatmakers’ limits are frequently tested here and so rarely does exiting his comfort zone yield positive results.
To accommodate each of the twenty guests, Metro must upset several secure artists pairings. Lil Wayne and Offset breed healthy competition on Annihilate, each rapper tries to one-up the other with increasingly punchy enunciation and flashy flows. The pair’s antics are washed away though when Swae Lee is awkwardly inserted to croon feebly on the chorus. Metro reunites with James Blake for Hummingbird, a five-minute showstopper where the duo seamlessly marry their production styles, intermeshing barbed percussion with swirling synths. When they let A$AP Rocky and 21 Savage tag along on Nonviolent Communication it becomes a complete snoozefest.
References to inane acts of heroism and peril are littered across the script but because most of the cast are doing the bare minimum they dampen any notes of actual danger. Metro’s usually reliable roster of rappers; Future, 21 Savage, and Don Toliver, turn in excruciatingly passive performances, and the supplementary cohort of fresh voices doesn’t stand out either. When Roisee sings “Not done fighting, I don't feel I lose” on Am I Dreaming, her aggression is cushioned by the gooeyness of her auto-tune and her druggy slur. The choruses are particularly unimaginative. We get it, this is music made to promote a Spider-Man film, but there are more enthralling ways to tie the two media together than having Offset repeat the word “Spider” over and over again.
There are moments of individual brilliance. JID breathes life into Danger (Spider) with his winding, highly technical rapping ability, 2 Chainz is jubilant as he laps every second he gets to play hero on Givin’ Up (Not The One), and James Blake’s ghoulish falsetto is always a devastating tool for creating tension. But there simply aren’t enough of these punchy performances to generate sufficient intrigue to hold your attention for the album’s full fourty-seven-minute runtime.
Metro is no stranger to making albums where world-building and, as of late, superheroes are key. Considering the sweeping set pieces he’s made in the past, his work on METRO BOOMIN PRESENTS SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE is bereft of ambition. The album will no doubt go on to garner a few hundred million streams but that has everything to do with the names attached to it and not what they actually bring to the music. This all-star cast is capable of doing so much but they choose to keep the action-packed sequences to a minimum. With great power comes great responsibility goes the old adage, no one here seems to register that.
submitted by RedHeadReviews to Music [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 06:11 PrincelingMallow Should I push for more tests/referral?

TL;DR: Asking for advice on whether it's worth me pushing for a referral based on my blood test results. I'm tired of negligent doctors and being medically gaslit, so I'm unfortunately picking my battles right now, as I am in the middle of a lengthy pain and fatigue flare.
Hey all.
I'm 32F and have been having symptoms for a few years, but GPs here in the UK have been somewhat useless in helping me figure it all out. I have some other health problems too and they just... don't want to help. It's infuriating.
One of my concerns is that I may have Hashimoto's. I've been keeping track of my thyroid since 2020 with private blood tests and the GP who analysed my last test has suggested subclinical hypothyroidism and possibly Hashimoto's.
My TPO antibodies have been steadily increasing over the last 2.5 years and are now at 64 IU/mL. Of the four blood tests I've had, three of my TSH results have been above range, but not by much; my last test showed my TSH to be 5.36 mU/L. My FT3 was 5.13 and free thyroxine was 18.3, so both within range.
Based on my results, does anyone think it's worth me pushing harder to get a referral to an endocrinologist, or maybe to have an ultrasound on my thyroid (over the last year, I've been experiencing some mild neck swelling and fullness in my throat, making it uncomfortable to swallow at times)?
I'm exhausted trying to advocate for myself and look after myself at the same time. I have a number of chronic illnesses that affect my life quite badly and I just want them to help me with ONE thing.
Thanks 🙂
submitted by PrincelingMallow to Hashimotos [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 05:52 Separate-Buffalo2518 Experience at the Spa at Mandalay Bay

I was in Las Vegas for the first time and had the opportunity to stay at Mandalay Bay and use their spa. Here’s a write up for anyone who might be interested.
I had all day access from booking treatments as a hotel guest. The attendant told me that non-guest access is $50 during the week (Mon-Thu) and $75 on the weekend.
This was my first time in Vegas and my first time at a spa like this. When you enter through the men’s lobby, you walk into the main room with four pools in a kind of Roman bath style in a rectangular format. There are two jacuzzis, one that is closer to pool temperature, and one cool plunge. The pools are surrounded by reclining chairs. Towels galore.
Just when you enter the main area, there are a sauna and steam room immediately to your left. You have to walk through the main pool area to access locker room, shower room, and restroom. The showers are private and have double doors; one for the private shower space and one for the shower itself. Each is stocked with towel, hand rag, and bath mat.
I was given a key to a locker with a plush robe inside. After that, I started to cycle between steam room/sauna, cool plunge, jacuzzi, and resting beside the pool.
I understand the men’s steam room was recently renovated and thought it was great. There was a shower head as you first entered where you could cool off (the water comes out icy if you want). It was fairly spacious and at one point I counted 4–5 occupants but it was in no way crowded.
I found the quality of the facilities impressive. Clean, luxurious, and attendants were professional. It was also a small space so it felt relaxed and not overwhelming. I did one loop to find my bearings and was able to enjoy.
There were around a dozen guys using the pools and steam room/sauna over the hours I was there. I struck up some fun conversations in the sauna; most of the guys were at least 10 years older than me (33). So it was not a particularly young crowd. But I found that there was a social vibe and most guys would say hello and chat about their time in town.
As far as nudity goes, I counted 2–3 guys in trunks. I was probably the most nude, if there is such a thing. Once I hung my robe up by the pools, I did not wear anything when moving between pools and rooms; most other guys would wrap with a towel. I didn’t see the point for the 15-second walk when you would just be removing the towel again. The only time I wrapped up is when I was reclining on the chairs.
When I was in sauna/steam room, I would just grab a fresh towel and sit on it. Most of the other guys would wrap it around their waste, but I do think that one or two saw me sitting on mine and chose to do the same as a result.
All in all, it was a great experience that I would definitely repeat. If you are spending most of the day or afternoon there, I feel it’s easily worth $75. I don’t know if I just came on the right day, but I felt very comfortable being naked the whole time and did not feel that it was in any way not the norm.
submitted by Separate-Buffalo2518 to CommunalShowers [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 05:16 Parking-Armadillo-14 Family financial bomb just dropped on me--desperate and advice greatly appreciated

I'm posting this on this subreddit, but I feel bankruptcy may be the more appropriate option...but the foot traffic is higher here.
My mother recently called me with news that completely shook me. As background, my dad moved abroad to start a business there 20yrs ago and has been there since. Before he left, he started a US "arm" of the company with eventual plans to move the business back to America once he was done abroad. It seemed like the company was doing well for awhile, at least according to my dad, with multiple investors pouring money into the company. I even got a factory tour when I visited him and saw the products on the assembly line etc. But he would never talk about the exact details whenever I asked or show me the books or anything.
What I didn't know was all of this was a lie. A cover-up.
On the flip side, my mom doesn't work, she raised the kids and took care of family. She's a good soul, but has no clue when it comes to American adulting like finances, taxes etc. My parents lived a seemingly normal middle-class life while I was going thru college, grad school, professional school. But I was delivered news that my parents are in serious financial trouble, almost insurmountable by my estimation.
My mom called asking for help over the past few months. A couple hundred here and there escalated to a couple thousand "to pay bills and for daily living." My brother and I were able to help her but now the amount required is insane. She's asking for $~7,000/mo to make ends meet and fulfill financial obligations. When I said we couldn't bankroll this anymore, she (in tears) asked me to take out a personal loan on the order of $50,000. I declined obviously.
I got a hold of her financial documents. Her personal debt is over $150k in unsecured debt. Credit cards, personal loans. She has 0 income; my dad has been failing to provide her with any cash from the business for well over a decade now apparently, so she's been using credit and loans from banks and friends to survive. Credit score is ~660, but mostly due to long history and no missed payments.
Digging deeper, I'm afraid my dad has been into really shady financial practices; I have no idea how much debt he has accumulated both personally and for the business but my sinking suspicion is that it's in the order of millions, if not tens of millions USD. He took his and my mom's retirement accounts, savings accounts, house in the US, our properties abroad and liquidated them all to fund his business, all with the intent that "the business will work out and he just needs more time." Further complicating matters is that her name is tied into the US business and she is formally an employee. This "company" has been a shell for years and has not generated any income at all. In fact, it simply exists and is accruing tax payments, of which my dad has ignored. The IRS and now, a collection agency, has come knocking on my mom's door
Notwithstanding this insane financial abuse and just pure stupidity, I'm beside myself. I need to help my mom extricate herself from my dad and for starters, get her out of this endless cycle of taking on debt to pay debt. Here are the #s:
Personal debt: ~$150k in unsecured credit ie: credit cards, personal loans. Credit score: 660-670
Assets: negligible. She rents the house she lives in. She owns an old Lexus, maybe 10-12 years old; most liberal estimate of its current value is $5k if we traded/sold it. No retirement accounts, no savings, no stocks, abso-fucking-lutely nothing. She has one real estate property under her name abroad (worth about $400k) that my dad has tried to sell to further bankroll his company.
Her income: none
Her monthly expenses: $1k rent, $400 utilities, $6-7k in minimum payments across all her accounts. She further owes a friend $6k in personal money. A collections agency is now coming to collect on unpaid business taxes for years to the tune of $7500.
My income: I'm still early in my career but I pull in about $7k/month post-taxes. I have my own mortgage, wife and kid to take care of and we save only about $1k a month though I put away 30% of my paycheck in a retirement account. I have $2500 in stocks, $28k in an IRA. Car fully paid off. I have astronomical student loans (~$400k, guess which professional school I went to...) but I'm making income-based repayments and on a public-service loan forgiveness program.
My father is clearly unable/unwilling to help as his approach over the years has been to kick the proverbial can down the road and bury his head in the sand. I truly believe none of this was done out of maliciousness but pure stupidity and financial illiteracy. At this point, I believe he's afraid to admit his mistakes due to pride and shame and appears to me like he is going to continue on this self-destructive financial path.
To that end, I don't think I can support my mother and help her resolve her debt. She needs to extricate herself and separate from my father. I thought pursuing chapter 7 would be the most prudent option and getting her out of the rented house and moving in with me for a short while. Another complicating factor is I'm fairly busy with work, often working nights/weekends and she lives across the US from me.
I guess my main question is...what the fuck do I do? I feel so desperate and powerless and it's not even me. I can't help my mom and I feel like I shouldn't; this cycle was brought on by them, but I also can't just abandon her. Pursuing chapter 7 would clear her of the credit card and personal loans, but what about the business tax debt of $7500 that the collections agency is coming for? She's simply an employee and my dad is the CEO but because he isn't stateside, she gets all the mail and calls.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated...I feel like I know the answer. Pursue bankruptcy, and possibly take control of all her finances moving forward to ensure she doesn't borrow any money anymore, separate her from my dad etc.
submitted by Parking-Armadillo-14 to personalfinance [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 04:37 Rampage1844 How the hell does this make sense??

OK, some backstory- I work in the State of Maryland at one of the three big “Member Warehouse Shopping Places”. I do order fulfillment. When a member orders something online to either pickup at the club or have it delivered, I am one of the workers who goes and find the item, logs it to your order, and sets it aside. It is important to note that the employee who fulfills the order is not always the employee who winds up giving it to the delivery driver, or the member. Not the greatest job and all, but I needed something post pandemic where I knew I could start ASAP after interviewing. Yes, it’s pretty mindless work, but I strive to do it to the best of my ability.
So, on a Monday I worked an order for several large items, totaling almost $1000 US. I set the items aside and the member was notified the order was ready to come pick up.
I was off the following day. When I return to work Wednesday, my immediate supervisor pulls me aside to tell me that the person who took the order to the member did not do so correctly, so the items still showed that they were in stock in the store. This also means that the member was not charged for the items (the charge only goes through to your credit card once an Employee dispenses the item using a handheld scanner). I told him I didn’t know about any of that since I didn’t actually dispense the order to the member, but that I could see how that could be a huge problem. He proceeds to chew me out and tell me that even though someone else screwed up, that if something like this happens again when I’m working that it will result in all of us being reprimanded. I just kind of stood there, and looked at him, dumbfounded for a second, and then just walked away.
Here’s my issue - this is one of the most fucked up things I’ve ever been told in a job. I don’t understand how anyone with any common sense can think that this is in any way, shape or form OK. So, no matter how diligently I do my job, if someone else fucks up, then I can be reprimanded for it??? Has anyone heard of anything like this? I am seriously trying to wrap my head around this. It has really caused my attitude and my job satisfaction to pretty much go into the toilet. I don’t see any point in doing a good job or being conscientious about my work if this is how things are.
Just trying to find out : 1) has anyone else ever heard of something this ridiculous and had it be an enforceable policy? 2) I’m trying to figure out how to respond to this. Frankly, I want to just turn in my two weeks notice and say fuck this shit. But I don’t have another job lined up. But I don’t really feel like I can continue to work in this place.
Any ideas anyone has are welcome. Thanks in advance for letting me vent!
submitted by Rampage1844 to WorkAdvice [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 04:34 TheFirstThingThat Getting this off my chest is easier said than done.

First things first, I should say I'm a male and I'm a minor. This'll be important down the line but not right now. Anyway, I was a typical Highschool NPC. Barely talked to girls, high on hormones, and eagerly wanted a girlfriend. About a year ago, a 'friend' showed me these apps where you could talk to girls, and he managed to get some girls to send him nudes. Needless to say, I was jealous and downloaded the apps.
Fast Forward to a year later, I download like 3 of these apps just so I could get some JO material because PH wasn't cutting it. I was adding girls left and right...then I added the wrong one.
We all know how it went; added them, made me download some other app, sended nudes, kept' asking me for money, tried to end it, blah blah I will ruin your life yada yada we get it. Stupidly, I gave out the name of my school, my name was on that stupid app, and it made me put in my phone number. I was panicking, worried that if that got out I would be the laughing stock of school and my chances of getting my dream job would be ruined all because I was being a stupid hormonal teen. I sent them the money after a mess of messages since most of the apps he wanted to use didn't allow minors to use them, and then I searched up what to do. Apparently, you aren't supposed to send them money. Whoops.
He tried to get me to set up a weird bank for him, I finally blocked him on everything(thankfully I didn't give him my Instagram but I changed it just to be safe, changed my Snapchat username, and then took a look at the phone settings and found out you can turn off unknown calls and texters.) he tried to send me another message on Snapchat on a new account but I block that too. That night I was wracked with nightmares(Spider-Man was there too, he was beating shit up. Thanks, Spidey.) and then had to go to school. I was panicking the whole day, thinking that every phone call was going to call me down to the office and ask me why I was all over the internet with the name of the school next to me. But nothing happened. I was relieved but scared, thinking whoever this was was prolonging my torment.
About a month later, after I thought I was safe, I checked some unknown messages I got and saw one about I got your nudes yada yada do what I say. Swiftly blocked, my day was ruined. A couple weeks later, I'm on my school laptop and decide to check Imessage on there just so I could delete it since I don't need it anymore. There was a number on there that had tested me a picture of the nude saying they still have it and my school name. Not a threat, I guess just letting me know they still had it. The most recent message was a day or two before, also not a threat just being like hi how are you. I guess since threats weren't working they were trying to be nice? Whatever, the message was blocked anyway so I don't know what they were doing.
It's been about a month or two since then and it's given me time to think, giving out every single warning flag I saw but chose to ignore. The bad grammar, the begging for money. I even tried to reverse image search, but since it was on my phone I used a dumb website that told me it was alright. After I paid and tried it on my computer, wouldn't you know the pictures were from a porn actress. I had always known I was smart, but also that I didn't think before I did things, and this solidified it and made me change it.
I want to give some tips out to people my age who are considering or have already done this type of thing.
  1. Before you take a picture of your dick, JO first. I know this sounds weird, but that post-nut clarity will hit and make you come to your senses. After I did that, I immediately began thinking that this was how abusive relationships started and how people got hacked. But I stupidly thought that since that happened to other people and not me, I was in the clear.
  2. Do NOT download those 'meet girls your age!' apps. The girls there aren't going to give you nudes. I know we want to look at 'the real thing' and shit like that, but believe me; it's not worth it. Rule 34 and Porn Hub will satiate you fine.
  3. 3. DON'T TAKE PICTURES OF YOUR NUDES UNLESS IT SOMEONE YOU TRUST. You don't send it to those dumb spam messages, you don't send it to people you just met, or just don't send them at all. If you're gonna send nudes, only send them to your SO that you explicitly trust. Not strangers you met online.
At first, writing this was hard because I force myself not to think about it, but now it feels like a distant memory. I haven't had any spam messages in weeks since I block every number I don't recognize, and I realized that since I'm a minor they can't post me unless they want to answer questions on why they're posting a high schooler's photos online. And you want to know the craziest part? After all this was over, I started talking to a girl and we went and watched a movie as sort of a semi-date. We agreed to be friends, but all I had to do was just go up and talk to girls instead of trying to get nudes online. I'm even talking to girls now without feeling like I'm messing it up and am even going to a party soon. A year ago I never would have thought I would do stuff like this, now it fell into my lap since I thought my life was over.
This goes out to all my fellow geeks and nerds who do stuff like this because they feel like they'll never get a girlfriend; Yes, it was stupid. Yes, you should have seen the signs and thought it over. But are you going to let some pictures of your meat ruin your life? No. Get out there, ask a girl if she wants to hang out that weekend, and keep working on what you want to do with your life. Teens have been doing dumb stuff like this since the internet was created. After a couple of years, this will go from a bad memory to an embarrassing story you can tell to your friends.
As a side note, I don't ever plan to tell my mom or my family. They'll definitely understand, but I know that they'll see me differently from then on (plus my mom can't keep a secret to save her life.) I've thought about changing my phone number, but decided against it and have opened back up my Instagram and deleted all the other girls I added from those websites even though they were real. I've only mentioned to my friend that I got scammed and not the fact it involved nudes. This whole situation is going to the grave with me
Stay safe out there ya'll, the internet is an amazing but dangerous place.
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2023.06.03 03:47 ColorfulGoldfish Post Match Scenes, Maybe an Alternate Finale?

After the match in the finale, the fans and team storm the field knowing Man City were up 1-0 and were on track to win the league. This made 0 sense, and as I was watching I couldn’t tell if they had won the league or not because I knew City were winning, but the fan’s reaction made me think maybe Liverpool had equalized and they just hadn’t mentioned it. But finding out they lost, that scene made no sense. As a fan, you’d never celebrate like that by storming the pitch without knowing what’s gonna happen in the other game. Look at the Leicester game on match day 38 last week. They needed to win and for Everton to lose or draw to avoid relegation. They won their game before Everton finished, but Everton were winning 1-0 so they didn’t celebrate after the final whistle because they needed Bournemouth to equalize. It’s just super unrealistic for fans to react like that which leads me to think it may have been a scene from an alternate finale where they win the league. I know shows like to have 2 finales in case of leaks, so maybe that scene was filmed with a title win in mind but they felt like it was worth keeping in for the ending we got. I know they wanted to show Ted’s dance, but they could’ve done it without the fans storming the field. And we can’t say “they’re celebrating securing 2nd/champions league” because before the match we saw the table and Arsenal were in 3rd with like 67 points so any negative result would’ve kept them in 2nd regardless. I get celebrating the comeback and the chance to win the league, but people would’ve been glued to their phones in the stands waiting to see what happened with City. Something to think about.
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2023.06.03 02:14 Accomplished_Salt_47 Marriage issues

Okay, feeling nervous about posting but here goes. Me (F48) and SO (M49) have been married since 2005, together since 1998. Three kids (16, 15, 9) Our sex life took a hit about 5 years ago and hasn't recovered, and my husband is no longer attracted to me. A difficult conversation about a month ago brought all this to a head, and we're really struggling. Tons of reasons for the f'd up situation really, and less than stellar communication on both our parts. I don't actually know whether this post would be better in deadbedrooms, but there's more going on than that.
For my part, I hadn't felt valued or loved since the children came along, felt very much in the role of 'service provider' - cook, cleaner, mother, sex provider, emotional support worker to everyone, not 'person with thoughts and feelings' ; in bed, he was never particularly interested in foreplay, romance, affection outside of sex (I did ask repeatedly!) etc and I didn't enjoy sex much as a result. I felt like he didn't listen to me, or take me seriously, or respect my opinion (this became more marked after I gave up work to look after the kids), but I also know that I'm not always the easiest person to have around (mental health up and down, I can get defensive and upset about little things). I loved him very much though, and not having a terribly high libido, I could cope with doing the 'duty sex' thing. It changed after the (difficult) birth of our third. I felt exhausted, body in tatters, mental health in bits, and I told him that I was tired of sex being another chore and that I wasn't enjoying it. I suppose I'd hoped that being blunt about it (rather than requesting foreplay etc which seemed to fall on deaf ears) might lead to us trying things differently, but that isn't what happened. He pretty much shut me down completely after this (although he didn't actually tell me this until about a month ago) and changed the way he looks at me so that he wouldn't want sex with me at all. I think he watches a fair bit of porn, I don't know if he's had sex with other women. We have had sex very occasionally in the meantime, and I guess I didn't realise that his reduced initiation was entirely because of what I'd said, but rather because we're both so tired and so stressed and so busy. I can be a bit stupid sometimes.
It got worse during Covid - I had it three times, followed by long Covid and heart problems, followed by the onset of perimenopause and my mental health declined to the point I went on antidepressants. I also realised (via having an autistic child) that I'm also on the spectrum. None of which were particularly good for the already not-very-high sex drive, and I know my poor health made life harder for my husband. But I honestly didn't know he was quite this miserable. He also had some family issues - during which I was supportive - but I think these have made made him feel even more negatively about relationships and family in general. We've had the odd fight where he's accused me of doing things that I absolutely haven't done, but that his family members have done, so it's like he's projecting their behaviour onto me, which is in turn making his opinion of me even worse.
Anyway, he's really feeling the lack of sex (I don't blame him), but is unsure whether he's willing to work on it with me, or if he would rather find someone else. I can't say for certain that he's not already going down that road, because he's not a guy who ever opens up until he's crushed by the weight of whatever he's feeling. I don't think he'd admit to cheating until he knows for certain he wants out. I'm willing to try being intimate again , but I would like to enjoy it as well, rather than going back to enduring it out of a sense of obligation. And obviously only if he can regain a measure of attraction for me.
There's also a lack of trust, as well. On his side because I hurt him when I bluntly told him the sex wasn't working for me, and on mine because it takes him literal years to open up about anything, and because he just hasn't bloody listened whenever I've opened up to him.
We're compatible in so many ways - same daft sense of humour, same politics, we each have different strengths so we work well as a team, we're on the same page when it comes to the children, and we care about each other, even though we can both (clearly) be poor at showing it - but there are obviously a couple of massive issues that I don't know how we're going to get past, or if we can. I feel like I owe it to two decades of history and three kids together, and much love (though I'm aware this post doesn't do that justice) to at least give it a shot.
I've contacted a marriage counsellor, but I'm feeling pessimistic. Money is an issue, so there's a limit to how many sessions we can afford. And, well, I just don't know how to go about untangling this knot we've made, or if it's even possible.
I guess what I'm asking is, is it even worth trying counselling? Does anyone have any positive stories of getting back on track from this point? Or even suggestions of things that I can do/say in the meantime that a) don't seem like I'm putting him under pressure or b) making assumptions about where we're headed, but that might bring about even the tiniest bit of positive change?

tl;dr - having issues in marriage with lack of sex and lack of trust. Could do with some advice.
submitted by Accomplished_Salt_47 to marriageadvice [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 01:49 Appropriate_Alarm_92 Decision Paralysis: Hybrid Bosch BOVA 20 200 Seer v. Trane XV19

I've spent far too much time researching an HVAC replacement for our house and I could use some feedback. As background, I'm replacing 20+ year old 80% gas furnace and 12 seer AC unit. While I could theoretically go all in on a cold climate head pump only, I've decided against that and am looking at a hybrid system. That being said, I am interested in good cold weather performance from the heat pump so that I can toggle the switchover point depending in changes in gas and electrical prices. We have solar, but it will not generate enough to fully offset the energy demands of a heat pump.
The house is 4,800 sq with very high ceilings in certain areas (30 feet) in the Denver area. Its a two story house with only one zone. We had air sealing done earlier this year and plan to have more insulation added to the attic in 2024. We are waiting on the insulation so that we can use the IRA tax credit again (2023 will be taken up by the air sealing project). After air sealing, the blower test results were 3444 cfm. I've gotten about 7 quotes and most did a manual J or some alternative/modified heat load modeling. The results suggest that the heat load at 0 F is between 50,000 btu and 70,000 btu. I am a little skeptical of the lower end of that scale because it came from someone trying to sell a cold climate heat pump only and we were maxing out the capacity of that particular heat pump, so they needed to smaller heat load to show that it could work.
I've narrowed my search down to Trane and Bosch based on the equipment itself and my confidence in the companies providing the quotes. The quotes are as follows:
Bosch: BOVA 20 seer with 120k BGH96 gas furnace (96%), and a bypass humidifier (to take the edge off) at ~20K.
Trane: XV19 Heat Pump with S9V2C 96% fully modulating furnace, with a bypass at ~22.5K
My understanding (and based on consulting NEEP) is that the Bosch equipment has better cold weather performance and will allow me to run the heat pump to colder temperatures. However, I also understand that while the outdoor Bosch unit is fully modulating, the fan inside furnace in the house is not and is only 2 stage. I'm not totally clear on how important this is or its effects, but the Trane dealer said that their system is fully modulating which will improve comfort and efficiency. Is the benefit of fully modulating worth the extra $2.5k? The Trane dealer really wants this deal and alluded to be willing to come down a little on the price, but I like the better cold weather performance of the Bosch. Both of the folks giving the quotes seem very competent and have gone above and beyond answering my overly detailed questions about these systems.
I would love some feedback to help me break through my decision paralysis. Thanks for your time and thoughts.
Edit: One other thing that the Trane dealer said is that their fans have a better "blower curve" which apparently helps them overcome static pressure and less than ideal ducting. Our house was built in the mid-90s so I'm sure they install ducting differently now, but I wouldn't think that it would be too bad in the whole scheme of things. Not sure how relevant that "Blower curve" is to our situation, but it is another piece of information that I'm trying to assess.
submitted by Appropriate_Alarm_92 to heatpumps [link] [comments]