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Iskaral Pust

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  1. Liverpool did something similar three (?) years ago when Gomez played at RB for a while before TAA really nailed the position. Gomez did not advance as high as the LB, so it almost looked like a back three at times, and the midfield shuffled accordingly: Milner was less advanced as the LMF, providing some coverage for the LB, while Lallana pushes into a RAMF slot close to Mane/Salah (I cannot recall if that was the last season before Salah arrived). It worked well enough for a while.
  2. Today was the Democratic primary in CT but no mail-in ballot ever arrived for my wife or I. There’s only one polling station in our entire town today (population ~20k), so social distancing was a real concern. If there was anything actually at stake still in the primary I would have been pissed. Now I’m just worried about whether mail-in ballots will be available for November. We completed our change-of-address forms several weeks ago and indicated that we wanted mail-in ballots. But when my wife called today to ask why we hadn’t received any for the primary, she was told they had no record of us requesting them. It was a very clear, particular box we checked on the forms.
  3. It seems like part of the problem is whether AWB is the right kind of RB to have in a team that will often face a packed defense. He’s a very good tackler and defender but (as we all said when he was signed for a big fee) he doesn’t yet offer much going forward. He can dribble a bit at times but his crossing is nothing great and he doesn’t yet seem to anticipate when to make runs, or make the quick, crisp passes that will open some space. Most top teams now are playing a 4-3-3 that works more like a 2-5-3, even when their FBs aren’t as creative as TAA. It might be better to try shifting AWB to CB instead alongside Maguire and then use a RB more like Dalot. I don’t know if AWB has the aerial ability or positional sense for CB so it might be risky, and his passing isn’t great, but he at least has speed and good tackling which helps stop the break-aways that catch out Maguire.
  4. That’s my recollection of Liverpool vs Sevilla in the EL final a few years ago: we played well in the first half and took a good lead, but they significantly increased their pressing in the second half and over-ran us.
  5. I watched ep1 of S2 last night and really enjoyed it. It’ll take me 2-3 weeks to watch the rest of the season, but I like the energy and humor in the tone, and there’s less self-pity than S1.
  6. That’s worth adding a Hulu subscription for.
  7. You’re probably right. It was worth trying to add another homegrown player, but I’m glad to see the club had a plan B and was decisive about it. That still won’t comfort Jamal Lewis much while he’s playing in the Championship instead of the Champions League. City and Spurs at a minimum could use LB, perhaps he’ll still get another move, although it’s harder for him to get bought as a starter yet for a top team.
  8. Welcome to Tsimikas. Robertson noticeably loses his edge when tired, so hopefully this will allow him some rest here and there. I have some sympathy for Jamal Lewis though. Norwich are absolutely entitled to set the asking price for their players, but Lewis must be disappointed by this opportunity slipping past him. Imagine him watching Tsimikas over the next few years and wondering what might have been.
  9. @BigD what specifically did you enjoy about Red Rising? I enjoyed it too. I cannot think of any direct comparisons, but some aspects are found in other books. My impression was that the first volume of Red Rising was like a male version of The Hunger Games: a teenage hero a low caste striving in a staged lethal competition with other teenagers under the auspices of a corrupt elitist/hierarchical system that the hero wishes to overthrow. But it was more violent and focused on conquest. Then the subsequent volumes expand into space opera where the youths reject and overthrow the conservative world order, especially their parents. It reads like angsty YA progressive rebellion fiction for most of the time, but the world building is good and there’s lots of melodrama, twists and betrayals to keep the pages turning. If you like the angsty YA rebellion against a dystopian/exploitative world then the Hunger Games or Divergent series might work (I haven’t read either but was subjected to the movies). If you like the teenage messianic space opera military campaign to overthrow a corrupt world order, then Dune might work, although the prose is more purple at times. If you like the violence blended with angsty melodrama then Heroes Die might be a good fit (although I’m one of few here who ran out of the patience with the angsty melodrama in that book). If you like space opera military adventure generally, then perhaps try Star Wars novels; I think the Thrawn Trilogy is the usual recommendation. If you like creative world building with a young band of brothers taking on the evil overlords, then you can find that in Fantasy even more than SF, e.g. Wheel Of Time.
  10. Finished Fragile Things by Kevin Wignall, another of his spy(-ish) novels set in Central Europe. Once again the stakes and action are low and the plot is mostly about tradecraft and personal reflection & growth by the POV protagonist, who is once again a morally grey (dark grey in this case) loner spending a career in the shadowy world. Well written and a good read, despite being far too forgiving of the hero. Started and abandoned The Elven by Bernhard Hennen, the first in a fantasy series. The opening chapter in the Nordic setting worked well (and I think that was the sample chapter that got me to buy it), but the following chapters about the courtly elves were trite at best. I was left with a feeling that the contrast of the coarse Nordic types and the courtly, chivalrous elves was a propaganda allegory for Saxons and Normans. I doubt the author meant it that way, and I probably saw that comparison because of podcast series I’ve been listening to. Regardless, I dropped this book at 10%. It didn’t seem worth reading further, despite high ratings at Amazon. Finished Priest Of Bones by Peter McLean, the first in a new grimdark fantasy series. It’s pretty good grimdark but it was jarringly similar to the story of Peaky Blinders: two brothers and their comrades return from a foreign war to a gritty industrial city north of the more refined capital. Their gangland empire has been stolen away in their absence, despite their tough-as-nails aunt supposedly overseeing it in their absence. They want to rebuild their protection rackets, smuggling and gambling (there was even a race horse), so they start by reclaiming their tavern to build from there. And there’s a beautiful spy who comes to work as a barmaid and be a love interest, and a corrupt official who drags them into government affairs against their will. The older brother is named Tomas, and the younger brother is impulsive, violent, unreliable and nursing some envy and resentment. Everyone has PTSD. After a while I found myself just ticking off the similarities as they flooded by. But it’s a pretty good grimdark with a late medieval urban gang setting. Worth a read.
  11. It cost me less than $2 per pound for new plates and new dumbbells, before sales tax and delivery fee. And I got very good quality for that: the plates are fully finished in rubber and have grip holes (usually low cost plates are just plain, solid cast iron plates), and the dumbbells are hexagonal with a thick rubber coating and contoured handles for more comfortable grip. And my bar was only $150 with a discount, and looks better quality than the basic bars I saw available elsewhere in that price range (looking at the quality of the join between bar, collar and sleeve). My hex/trap bar was $250, but the more complicated shape probably warrants higher cost. I got much better value on weights than I was seeing anywhere online. The sales guy said that Hudson Steel makes very good stuff but they sell only through this chain of fitness equipment stores so they don’t have the marketing costs of their competitors. I was very surprised that a physical store had better value than online. As to flooring for the power rack: mine is on carpet in our basement gym, and is doing fine there. I was going to put in a rubber floor but the timing didn’t work, and I had already spent a lot on equipment. (My wife expects to remove the carpet from the entire basement in a couple of years, so no harm in just keeping it in the gym in the meantime). Bare concrete would probably cause the rack to rock/move slightly, especially with heavy weights. I know the heavier duty racks have eye holes for you to sink a bolt into the concrete floor to stabilize it, assuming you have the equipment to do so. If I were in your shoes, I’d look at a large dense rubber mat for your gym area.
  12. @The Great Unwashed good to hear your injury is improving. I bought a basic power rack for my home gym from MarcyPro online. It’s good for squats, bench press, pull-ups, dips, etc, and I do deadlifts outside the rack. That’s about the lowest cost you’ll find, but it’s only rated for 300lbs, so if you lift a lot then you’ll need something more expensive. Barbell and plates usually have standard price range for new. Best prices are for used equipment locally on Craigslist, but there was a huge demand for home gym equipment in lock-down so I doubt you’ll find much. I bought my barbell, plates and dumbbells from a gym equipment chain in the NY/CT/NJ area who sources their equipment from Hudson Steel. I’ve been very happy with the quality but I don’t think you can buy from them directly online. Rogue Fitness and RepFitness both sell barbell packages online, and power racks, but they were both out of stock when I last checked. When I was doing research, Google found a blog that does detailed reviews of garage gym equipment. But their focus was on equipment rated for 1,000lbs.
  13. Arsenal have won four of the last seven FA Cups, which has been a pretty incredible source of trophies for a club not challenging particularly for the league or in Europe over that period (EL run last year aside). Those contrasting situations are not unrelated, obviously.
  14. Well done to Arsenal. They salvaged something from this season, qualified for EL and got some revenge for the EL final last year. That new Liverpool shirt is pretty blah. The teal green stripe in the trim is a throw-back to the early 90’s shirt as worn by Rush, Fowler and McManaman together. The Liverpool players are a likable bunch who obviously have fun together doing these skits, but this one for the Nike shirt launch was cringeworthy.
  15. Nice going @ithanos It is incredible how much exercise can help you regulate things like sleep and diet, and how those simple lifestyle disciplines make you feel a lot better. When I’m exhausted from long work hours, I can binge a huge dessert while I sit and watch TV. But if I just go to bed early instead, I’ll feel a lot better the next day and I’ll have energy to exercise. The virtuous cycle starts pretty easily.
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