Mat's Money Makers

Matrim’s Money Makers: Week 4 Thursday Night Football

Quarterback faces are the best

Setting the scene

Philadelphia Eagles (1-2, 0-1 Away) vs. Green Bay Packers (3-0, 2-0 Home)
Date: Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019
Time: 8:20 p.m. EST
Venue: Lambeau Field – Green Bay, WI

The Bet :

Spread: PHI: +4.5 (-110) | GB: -4.5 (-110)

My Guaranteed Winner:

GB: -4.5 (-110)

From the ashes rises a Rodgers. Having preemptively written off the Packers before you know the season started, I have been proven incorrect by the aforementioned Packers . If I know one thing in this crazy mixed up world it is that I know how to bet these Thursday night games (0-2 on Thursday night bets).

I have this strange feeling that I am not really sure who is going to win this game, I just know it will be a blowout. So why wouldn’t I bet the Over instead of the spread. Well I don’t know it just didn’t seem nearly as fun and I really didn’t think about it when I clicked the bet. I have bet the favorite every time, this has proven to be a poor strategy.

Rodgers and the Pack show are looking like a serious team, and Lambeau is one of the biggest home field advantages due to it’s mysterious location that no one can actually point out on a map. But once again the basis for this bet is not how good one team is, but rather how bad the other team is. Wentz has wentz the way of ASDGF it had it’s moment in the sun but now is time to go. The Eagles are banged up. Also all bird teams lost last week, this has nothing to do with anything just every single sports show has mentioned it and I want to be taken seriously so I will sacrifice originality in order to fit in.

I mean also I just checked the injury report and the only key noticeable injuries are DeSean Jackson who I hate more then anyone and Darby who sucks anyway. Starting to reconsider this, just kidding I am all in. The Packers don’t score a whole bunch but whatever please win I am so tired of losing these. That Packers D is giving up only 11 points per game. I mean 3 games is a bad sample size and I don’t think much of these kinds of statistics but they should be able to hold Wentz to limited scores. There it is, I convinced myself.

Book Reviews

Deadhouse Landing Wrap-up: Path to Ascended Fantasy

About a month ago I mentioned that I went on a little reading spree and finished a few books that had been sitting on the virtual end table. One of those books was Deadhouse Landing by Ian C. Esslemont. To set the stage a little bit, Deadhouse Landing is a novel of the Malazan Empire, which for anyone familiar the the Malazan world means its place in the grand scheme of things is very confusing. It is book 2 of The Path to Ascendancy, hence the clever ass subtitle of this blog. The Path to Ascendancy is a prequel trilogy to the events of both Esslemont’s and Erickson’s respective Malazan series’.

It is always a really weird experience when it comes to the Malazan Empire books. Erickson and Esslemont have very different story telling styles. Esslemont is much more direct. His stories are linear, his characters are obvious, he does not spend time wading in internal dialogue. Not a knock on Esslemont, it is just a writing style that is much more ordinary. Erickson is all over the place, most of his novels, especially the later ones, spend significant time wading in moral philosophy and internal dialogue. The writing can be heavy at times and several pages can go by before the character is done thinking.

Esslemont’s books are the much quicker read, and this book was no exception. Prequels are tough, the first book in the series was Dancers Lament and I have to admit I got kind of bored about halfway through it and put it down for the better part of like two years. This I read in two days, which says a lot about how much fun I had reading it. I couldn’t put this book down.

The plot boils down to Wu, later Kellenvad, and Dancers take over of Malaz Island, which later turns into the Malazan Empire as well as their struggle to enter the Deadhouse. I say prequels are tough for the obvious stuff. We already have an idea of who these characters are in our heads, so any diversion from that and I instantly get angry. The biggest thing for me is that with a prequel you already now the outcome, so it is especially important to make the journey fun. When you can’t rely on the wow factor or the big reveal you have to make the action entertaining. That is kind of what stalled me out in book one. Like we know all these characters live so the stakes are instantly lowered.

Another thing that really bothers me is when new elements of magic, or people, or creatures or plot line are inserted into a prequel in order to spice things up. Then when you re-read or think about the original series it is through the lens of “this is stupid because it doesn’t have this new thing” or the story doesn’t make sense anymore with the new parameters set. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the biggest culprit of this ever. Esslemont does not do this, so another point in his favor

Wu is just such a great character. Kellenvad is really a huge behind-the-scenes guy in the Malazan Empire series that to see his origin and to get more of direct interaction with him was not only well done but wildly entertaining. There are points where shit he did or said made me actually laugh, which is saying a lot. I mean he is the clear highlight of the entire trilogy. Spoiler alert the next review is book 3.

Dassem is just the best, his whole greatest fighter in the world thing gets me every time. The best scene in this book is this pointless one-on-one fight he has with a grade A hater and he just whips him. Lifestealer for life.

This book is great. Anyone who is a fan of the series I am not telling you anything new and you probably have already read it. If you haven’t stop wasting time reading The Dark Tower and support good fantasy.

Final Notes: This was very rantish. Next one will talk more about the actual book. I don’t know how else to get people to believe in Malazan. Also these covers are dope.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Monday’s Week 11: The Crucible

Stellar original title to represent what will be the most difficult week of physical activity in my entire life. This is what will either make or break me. It is time for my running crucible.

But before we get to the specifics, which I mean since I post the entire plan every week you can kind of just see already, let’s talk about the previous weeks high’s and low’s. The low’s are Florida running. Florida is a swamp. Any time I have ever run in Florida it is nothing but a torturous experience. The weather is psychotic, in the course of an hour run I experienced hurricane rain, it then stopped and became muggy to the point where I was parting the air like Moses did to the Red Sea, to finally completely sunny like the fucking Sahara. I ran 4 miles yesterday and I swear I thought I would just pass out on the boardwalk like the goblins outside Penn Station. Miserable.

SOOO Friday I ran a miserable 5 there, Saturday fortunately it was so cloudy and windy that I think I was just whipped forward like a rag doll for 10 and then the aforementioned Sunday Runday. Not fun. I did get a nice workout in on Friday to beef up the ol’ twig legs. Which is good because I ate like shit. The beginning of the week went well, I think I spoke about the intervals already but I like that workout. I think the one minute bursts followed by two minute jogs is a good but not terrible workout.  Whatever the de-load week is over. I feel not de-loaded.

On to the crux of the matter. Is that how that expression works? This week tops off at 55 miles. Anyway you break that up is going to miserable, but for conversations sake let’s get into it. An 8-mile hill workout kicks things off, as you can see from the workout posted below I am upping it to 10 rounds of .25 mile repeats because I love pain. But truthfully I was so miserable running up the Harlem hills during my 18-mile race I know I need to continue to train on them. Then I am going knock out a “casual” 9-miler the following day. I truthfully think that the Wednesday run is going to be the hardest run of the week. Followed by triple 6’s leading into the long run. The tempo run is going to be a disaster. It hasn’t changed since I have done it but I will post it for consistencies sake.

All this is in preparation for the monster 20-miler on Sunday. The goal is to just get it done by any means neccassary. I am thinking about running like two 7-mile loops and then a 6-mile loop. Or doing two 10-mile loops. Either way after the each loop I will be taking a quick Gatorade respite and will do the goo every 5 miles. I think if I just pace it and it isn’t miserable out I prob will make it. Either way it is much easier to type about shit then to do it. So no more.

Final Notes: I am in love with a man. His name is Daniel Jones. Our hero, our savior, our messiah. The Week 3 GOAT. The future of my happiness. An absolutely masterful display. I walked off the plane Sunday, fired up the game and watched him run right up the gut to win. I cried, I laughed, I fell in love.

Marathon Mike

Marathon Mondays Week 10: Amateur hour is over

That seems more like the title of a bad action movie or like the fourth season of a sports movie that went straight to DVD. Maybe when they reboot Air Bud they can borrow my subtitle. Either way it is week 10 of this magnificent series as well as the 10th week of my marathon training so let’s talk about it.

Last week was nothing short of brutal. Just a heavy workload capatalized by the monster run on Sunday, which of course you can read all about in the previous blog if you are so inclined to hear more whining. To be fair hill workout’s are slowly becoming my absolute favorite workout so to start the week off like that was ideal. I mentioned before that I did some hot yoga later that tuesday night and I fully credit my success for the rest of the week on doing that class. Two-a-days are a lot to put on your plate, they consume an enormous amount of both time and energy while depleting an already drained body, but yoga has almost the opposite effect. Besides the obvious stretching aspect I just think it helps so much with strenghting without straining and reenergizing the body by increasing blood flow. So if you are a dude who is too masculine to do it well you are a bitch.

So I switched up the 7 and 8-mile runs to accomadate my schedule, but I am convinced that those Wednesday/Thursday mid-week medium mileage runs are the hardest runs of the whole training plan. Something about those two days absolutely murders me. Wednesday I ran in the morning and had planned on doing the extra mile but physically I just called it quits, which is crazy considering it was only an extra mile. Could have been an extra 10 miles for all that mattered because I just couldn’t do it. It’s weird that I can have such a bounce back for the tempo run on Friday, which went excellently. I mean 2 1/2 miles at a 7ish minute mile pace is great for me. Felt good after it as well

But taking a look at this week there are a few things to note. It is certainly a de-load week, which at this point I know I need despite my body feeling great. I am headed to Fort Lauderdale for the weekend so I squeezed in a workout yesterday to try and find my abs in order to flex for social media. Sadly they are still lost. I am highly encouraged that I was not really sore at all the day after the 18-miler, so I want to keep that momentum and push it with the extra workouts. I did the intervals this morning, they went fine. No other running workouts this week which is a blessing. Just gotta knock out a 10-miler at some point then straight lounging on the beach. Till next week . . .

Final Notes: Pray for Daniel Jones. O lord.

Race Reviews

TCS New York City Marathon Training Series 18M Race Review

Date: Sunday, September 15th 2019

Distance: 18 Miles

Location: New York, NY (Central Park)

Time: 2:44:51

Welp the big training event before the marathon is now officially in the past. I learned a lot about what to expect, what I need to work on, where I am at with my fitness, what kind of runner I am, and how much I dislike central park all in the course of almost three hours early Sunday morning.

First off lets get to the gear. For some reason I can only imagine was due to overstock, the gear for this race was the ever practical arm sleeves. The arm sleeve, as history commonly accepts, was not made cool until Allen Iverson wore one. In of course, as many readers are aware, a sport that involves your arms. So just to get it out of the way, these arm sleeves are wack as hell. They look like bad stained glass windows. I already have tattoos I don’t need fake ones. Of course here they are for reference. Make your own judgement.

Moving on. The race itself went surprisingly well. The start time of 7:00 AM would normally have me throwing a fit, but I actually think with this distance it was a blessing. I had little time to think about the task at hand, as I was mostly focused on staying awake and maneuvering the PATH and subway. I wound up taking an Uber to the start line anyway. But because it was early I just woke up and got right to it.

The weather was great for it, I think it was high 60’s low 70’s for the entire time, if the race started any later it would have been a nightmare, as it crept up to 80’s later on. I had planned on taking my sweet ass time for this, really emphasizing the “training” part of the race, but I think I either got caught up in the moment or just had a good day out there. I am by no means a great runner, I would say for my age I usually sit about average, but I was extraordinarily consistent throughout the course.

Originally I planned on running 10:30-11:00 minute miles in order to focus on just getting the distance in without injury, but around 3 miles in I noticed that I came out the gate faster than I would have liked. I know I have the watch, but I kept trying to do the math every time I passed a timer, which by the way they had at every mile, and I was surprised that I was moving quicker. I thought I actually slowed down at some point but clearly I stayed consistent throughout.

For anyone who has ever done a NYRR race or ran in Central Park in general, they are familiar with the fucking up-and-down nature of NYC’s one redeeming place. The race was three loops around the park, which is not only really unoriginal but also means you know where the hills are and can start dreading them. Now this wasn’t really an issue for me until the 3rd time around, by which point I was working on miles 12 through 18 and knew exactly where every incline was. That third lap was torture, I hit like a physical wall around mile 15 where I honestly questioned if I would be able to go another foot.

My strategy going in was water every 5 miles and some bee goo around the halfway mark. This did not happen, I took water/Gatorade at miles 5, 9, 12, 14, and 16 which shows me that I need to be aware of how necessary hydration is. My fear with water breaks is that as I slow down to grab a cup that I just physically won’t be able to pick it back up, but experience has shown the actual opposite effect. It’s not like when I have to stop for stupid cars that I just collapse, idk what kind of mental block makes me think it is going to happen during a race. I also think I need more of those gel packet things.

Either way, I smoked that last mile finishing nice and strong. Physically the largest challenge I had was in my legs. My groins were killing me, which is surprising as usually my hamstrings are the first thing I feel. I honestly thing doing yoga earlier in the week was the game changer. My quads felt like bricks by mile 16, I am not sure really how that is going to change besides just getting in better running shape, but it has motivated me to keep going to hot yoga torture chambers and get a few more gym sessions in before the big race.

Ultimately I finished and considering I wasn’t “racing” this race I am beyond happy with my times. This was a huge validation of my own ability and the success of sticking with the program. No more races on the agenda until the big one, so it is on me to stay focused. Bonus picture of me looking like human death at the finish line at the end of this.

Final Notes: Same thing as last week about the Giants, I don’t want to hear it.

Book Reviews

The Dark Defiles Wrap-up: Defiling expectations of good fantasy

Ehh not my best title. Then again I am exhausted with writing about this series. I finished this book on the way to Colombia and the time spent reading this book was worse than anything I experienced on the entire vacation. Though I did have a great vacation so I guess the bar for that wasn’t very low. Either way l have finished the series meaning fortunately this is the last blog I will ever write about it.

I want to take a look at some of the positives first, since it is much easier to just blast the shit out of this final catastrophy. There are some better parts, at one point we get introduced to this charctar Sharkmaster Wyr, who was some famous pirate guy. He is imprisioned on this ship in the harbor where he is supposed to be living out the remander of his days. Both interesting and well done. The backstory on this dude is badass. To me this like one chapter of a minor character who winds up having no real impact on the plot was the best part of the book. What this tells me is that while I’ve spent way more time than what is healthy bashing this Richard K. Morgan guy, he defienitly has the talent to be a good writer.

The problem is his story stinks. He relies on magic/sci-fi technology to kind of clean up these situations the characters get in, and it all feels meaningless in regards to the story. The characters themselves are very stereotypical. I get the vibe he goes for but to me the plot kind of falls apart because the situations the characters find themselves in are just not well done.

A big part of the book that gets a lot of praise is the fact that the main character Ringil is gay. He subverts your typical gay character in a fantasy book stereotype by being this grizly, hardened veteran who men rally to and are willing to follow into anything. This is great, and I fully support the idea of having a character like Ringil. The problem is the Ringil we get is boring and unimaginative. His being gay seems to be used to mask the fact that the character isn’t very fleshed out. And there also is a noticeable drop off of graphic sex scenes throughout the series. The first book was chock full of them, by the last book I am not ever sure if anyone has sex. Just seems like what could have been fascinating and progressive is instead a tool to boost lazy writing.

This third book has a plot that is alllllll over the place. The end of the second book they plan on going on this journey to an island to find a dead former wizard king of the humans before the Dwenda resurrect him to take over the world. Within 100 pages instead we have a completely different book. The plot ambles on, Egar Dragonbane gets killed by a . . . you guessed it, Dragon. Archeth finds herself through the challenges placed on her and becomes the next viable option for the throne. Ringil gets his revenge and when he finally meets the great bad wizard king, easily deals with him in 3 pages. We have been hearing about this guy since book one, he’s gone in 3 pages. Reminded me of the death of the Night King in GoT. Super underwhelming.

There are some cool characters and parts though. Hjel is an awesome dude, his backstory about wishing to be this great warrior and like becoming a musician was entertaining. Jhiral the actual emperor was fun. But these people played such unimportant roles that they became irrelevant. I believe if he made these characters have their own POV, maybe we would have got somewhere.

Rant over. Series over. Moving on.

Journey around the Wheel of Time

The Dragon Reborn Audiobook Update 2: A wolf and a white tower

Fresh off of losing even more money on the illustrious FanDuel app (sponsor me por favor) is the Friday Wheel of Time Audiobook update. Having put in some hefty mileage since last week there is plenty to talk about. First though, I know that title makes it seem like Perrin had some crossover with Tar Valon. He didn’t, it is just a much better subtitle.

BUT that doesn’t mean that there was no Perrin. In fact I thought this entire book was Perrin. Which is not a bad thing, he has a lot of action happening around him. He is at the point now where he is being bombarded by this wolf life and he is being a little bitch about embracing it. Like your boy Hopper, a true OG, is basically telling Perrin to stop being a baby and the guy can’t get out of his own head.

So essentially Trollocs run up on the little winter Dragonsworn camp and Perrin gives them the fucking business. A little weird that he fights with the wolves, but I get hyped up when Robert Jordan does a battle scene without magic. Young Bull, Perrin’s alter ego, is a legend of the fight game. He just runs around barefoot chopping trollocs and fades with a giant fucking ax. His fight with the fade is dope, Perrin is an awesome undisciplined brawler. You know who is a wack fighter? You guessed it! RAND. When Perrin goes to find him Rand is crying about how he did nothing. Good job bro. Pathetic.

So post battle your boy Perrin, Lan, Loial and Moraine start following Rand. They roll up to this village, where everyone is busy fucking because Rand came through and basically started up a giant orgy. Not exactly true, as these people were getting married first, but what is marriage but an excuse? Some would say Rand shares many tendencies with Lucifer himself. This innkeeper asks Moraine to heal his brother, but when she and Perrin go to see the brother, they can’t do anything as the brother has basically become a wolf. This chapter shows the depth of Moraine’s character. It is so easy to see her as uncaring and cold, but in actuality the way she talks to Perrin and shows sympathy just makes her continuously more likeable.

On to the White Tower. The hero of our tale is unfortunately incapacitated at the start of this book, he has come down with a case of evil magic sickness. So Verin, Egwene, Nynaeve, Elayne, and Hurin the crime watchdog sniffing out crime from Tear to the Two Rivers get accosted by these White Cloak goons while trying to get Mat to the White Tower. I lovvvvve this part of the book because I find it so funny. This scene reminds me of like getting mugged by people with knives, when all of you are holding guns. Verin is diplomatically trying to get shit done while Egwene the whole time is getting more and more impatient until finally she pulls out the uzi and starts blasting those clowns with the one power. Elayne and Nynaeve are so relieved to not have to listen to Verin’s terrible attempts at diplomacy and start popping off as well. They absolutely body the White Cloaks in like three seconds. Then as Verin is trying to discipline them, she is just resigned to the fact that it worked. OOOOO WELL.

When they finally get to Tar Valon, we are treated with an Amyrlin Seat chapter. Of course this means stupid fisherman expressions but looking past that I enjoy Siuan as a POV. My time with the audiobook ended with rain blasting me at about mile 5 yesterday, so until next week that is all.

Final Notes: God damn it Cam.