After UFC 202 there’s a lot to say about UFC superstar Conor McGregor. He sought redemption after his March UFC 196 loss to Nate Diaz and, boy did he get it. At 202, the usually animated McGregor came in calm and collected. Conserving his energy to last an impressive five rounds, he skillfully employed leg kicks and counter lefts to defeat the durable southpaw Diaz.
McGregor wanted the rematch at the original weight they fought at, welterweight (170lbs), so that’s what UFC gave him. It was a hard battle against the bigger Diaz, but McGregor fought a smart fight, implementing a combination of aggressive striking and evasive footwork, to win their 25-minute battle in a close 48-47 majority decision. McGregor won rounds 1,2, and 4, with Diaz winning 3 and 5. Diaz had a comeback towards the end of round 2, pressing forward, but McGregor had scored two knockdowns early in the round to edge him out.
Conor McGregor is still the featherweight (145lbs) championship, after destroying Jose Aldo in 13 seconds back in December, but at the post-fight press conference said that a rematch with Aldo doesn’t interest him so much. Could this mean a move up in weight to lightweight (155lbs)?
Here are some intriguing potential match-ups with Conor McGregor at a variety of weights.
Conor McGregor vs. “Cowboy” Cerrone
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is the perennial journeyman turned title contender. He even beat Brazilian “Cowboy” to secure his place as the the all-time best “Cowboy” in the UFC. He is primarily known as a dangerous Muay Thai striker (7KOs/TKOs), but has 16 Submissions under his belt.
Well-rounded, and a known finisher, Donald Cerrone poses huge problems to McGregor at either lightweight (155lbs) or welterweight (170lbs.) They are similar sizes, 73-inch reach for Cerrone to 74-inch reach for McGregor, and both have vicious punches. But while I think McGregor is still improving, I think “Cowboy” is at his peak. Cerrone also has the experience edge with 38 fights to McGregor’s 23 fight.
Cerrone differs from Nate Diaz in one area in particular—he knows how to take people down. We saw in the Chad Mendes fight that this is McGregor’s kyrpotnite. This is a close one, but I think if Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone can use his wrestling, he will win a decision.
Conor McGregor vs. Frankie Edgar
Before Frankie Edgar lost his rematch and the interim featherweight (145lbs) championship to Jose Aldo, he seemed to be featherweight’s best hope for beating McGregor. He also has an excellent wrestling pedigree, wrestling from high school to college and qualifying for nationals all four years.
He’s got a great record, with a notable win over the last guy to seriously take McGregor down, Chad Mendes. But Frankie didn’t impress me in his fight against Aldo. He was super predictable and seemed to have basic footwork that was easily countered by Aldo. Perhaps Edgar’s age (34) and fighting mileage (25 fights with some wars at a higher weight class) are finally showing. The 28-year-old Conor (23 fights), by contrast, is a much more creative fighter, implementing many spinning and explosive Tae Kwon Do techniques.
This might be controversial but, due to size and unorthodox striking, I would give this fight to the more risk-inclined fighter, Conor McGregor.
Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez
I was originally going to do Conor McGregor vs. Rafael dos Anjos, but now RDA has fallen from championship status to the strikes of Eddie Alvarez. I was never super impressed with Alvarez, so I watched a couple of his fights before writing this article to refresh my memory about his style.
The first thing I noticed about Eddie Alvarez in the Anthony Pettis fight is that he’s pretty fast. Fast doesn’t necessarily mean slick though, and it’s not so much that Alvarez’s takedowns looked good, it’s that Anthony Pettis’ takedown defense looked bad. He seemed to confuse Pettis with his awkward hand movement and then shoot in easily, even though the takedowns were telegraphed. I don’t think McGregor would fall for this obvious trap.
McGregor is also fast and has great fluidity in his movement. Eddie Alvarez was fast in his Donald Cerrone fight too, but he still lost. Alvarez leaves his head down often when throwing and Cerrone took advantage of this. He also scored most of his dirty boxing shots in the clench, while Conor avoids the clench like the plague.
I believe that if Conor McGregor can continue to improve his kicking game, add some knees, and stick to a gameplan for his opponent, it will give him the edge over Eddie Alvarez in a five round fight.
Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 3 at Lightweight (155lbs)
There are a couple improvements Diaz needs to make to beat the new, improved McGregor. First, he needs to check those leg kicks consistently. His weakened leg was arguably what led to the two knockdowns that scored McGregor that fateful second round. Second, he needs to have an answer to those left hands of Conor, whether it be countering or sliding out of the way.
The thing about Diaz is his style never changes much between fighters. He still fights long and lean, and he still rarely checks leg kicks. In my opinion, this is why he will never be champion material. He doesn’t gameplan for specific fighters effectively and can’t adapt on the fly well enough.
Unless he somehow can integrate a blitzing double-leg takedown into his game, the third fight will go very similarly to the second fight. Nate Diaz had a size advantage in their second fight, but this advantage will go away if he cuts more weight. I think that Conor McGregor will still beat up a smaller, and therefore less effective, Nate Diaz at lightweight.
Conor McGregor vs. George St-Pierre
This would be the superfight of all superfights (except maybe Anderson Silva vs. GSP). But I think this is an obvious fight. We all know Conor is a top-tier striker and probably has decent jiu-jitsu, but he has never shown amazing counter-wrestling. We saw 145-pound wrestler Chad Mendes take him down with ease. Wrestling is key for transitions and this is one area where GSP shines.
GSP’s blast double leg takedown is second to none:
I think the combination of being a bigger fighter and having the best wrestling for MMA would score George St-Pierre an easy victory over Conor McGregor.
Credit to /r/mma on reddit.
UFC Vice President of Public Relations, Dave Scholler, lost control of Jon Jones back at UFC 178. He redeemed himself this night with Conor McGregor.
— Steve Austin (@steveaustinBSR) August 21, 2016
I can’t figure out how to embed gifv, so click the link or here for a higher-quality imgur mirror.
I first heard the term “beer money” on https://www.reddit.com/r/beermoney/ .
“/r/beermoney is a community for people to discuss mostly online money-making opportunities (some exceptions are allowed). You shouldn’t expect to make a living, but it’s possible to make extra cash on the side for your habits/needs.”
As a cash-strapped individual, I was on the lookout for some non-scam extra ways to make some money. After reviewing all the options including: Swagbucks, Amazon Mechanical Turks, and InstaGC, I decided on the seemingly most popular one, Swagbucks.
I have been using Swagbucks for a couple years now and have earned a couple hundred dollars. These were deposited into my PayPal account at $25 intervals with my earnings averaging about $20 a month when I consistently used the service. It has been a serious grind however; making a couple extra dollars is far easier to do with a regular job than with Swagbucks.
Swagbucks’ model revolves around users doing various online tasks and also getting points for online purchases. Each task or purchase is worth a certain amount of points or “Swagbucks” (SB). You can then redeem your SB for Paypal deposits or gift cards.
The main task I do on the site is taking surveys. Surveys are similar to an online focus group. You fill out profile information about yourself—such as age, gender, and income, and Swagbucks will match you to appropriate surveys, usually about products or services that you use frequently. The number of SB you get will vary depending on the survey. Longer surveys are normally worth more. Surveys can be tedious at times (I often find myself answering 50 variations of the same exact question.), but some of them will genuinely match your interests and you receive the credit automatically at the end of the survey.
The other way to earn SB is through cash-back on online purchases. They offer a small % back on many popular retailers such as Macy’s, Amazon, Old Navy, and Sephora. All you have to do is click on the website through the Swagbucks website and make the purchase through there. There is about a month waiting period for the SB to credit, probably to make sure you don’t return the purchase, and they also have help tickets available for people who have trouble getting credit for their purchase.
Sometimes Swagbucks also offers a fixed amount of SB for certain kinds of purchases. I have previously seen them offer several hundred SB for purchases for popular products from brands such as Proactiv, Dollar Shave Club, and Audible.
If I’m short a few points for the minimum payout of SB, I’ll either watch videos (They offer small amounts of SB for watching a set of videos.) or do an “offer” where I give my e-mail to a mailing list in exchange for a small amount of SB. The e-mail has to match the e-mail on your Swagbucks account so I use my secondary spam account for my Swagbucksing. These are my least favorite Swagbucks activities because they pay so low, and I only do them if I really need them.
I’ve also used Swagbucks’ main competitor, InstaGC. They are very similar to Swagbucks to the point where I’ve even seen the same surveys on each site. InstaGC’s main benefit is their gift card payout is much lower than Swagbucks’ minimum payout. You can get 100 points for $1 on Amazon on InstaGC as opposed to 2500 SB for a $25 Amazon on Swagbucks. They do offer PayPal, but you must redeem $50+ in other cash rewards or gift cards in order to gain PayPal access. I haven’t earned this much yet.
Another thing about InstaGC is I can’t use my VPN with it—I get an error message and the site is blocked. This is only a mild annoyance however. I mostly don’t use InstaGC anymore because of its redundancies with Swagbucks.
Ibotta is an app you use with your smartphone. I first heard about Ibotta through a friend. She told me it was a cash-back program and eagerly sent me a referral link via text. The text said I could get $10 for joining.
I thought a straight cash-back program was too good to be true so I looked at the stipulations. Sure enough, there were a few catches with Ibotta.
The first thing I noticed is there was a $20 minimum payout for PayPal. (They also offer gift cards, but I’ll probably focus on the money.) Then I looked at what kinds of products they offered cash-back on. They did have popular retailers such as CVS, Duane Reade, and Walmart, but they only offered the cash-back on certain items. You also have to watch an ad or do a short task to unlock the items. There were a couple hundred items advertised at my local pharmacies.
I also didn’t just get $10 free for joining. I had to make my first purchase within 10 days of signing up. So, wanting my $10, I trekked over to my local Rite Aid and looked for one of the items on the list—a SinfulColors brand nail polish that credits for 25 cents. Not a big credit, but I use that brand of nail polish anyway. I look for it everywhere; apparently they don’t carry it. I go to the other Rite Aid, which is just up the street. They have a bigger selection of nail polish. I could have sworn I saw SinfulColors there before but they don’t have it anymore either.
I decide to buy a Protein Powerbar that credits for $1 and sells for $2.75. It’s not until I buy the Powerbar and try to credit it that it says it actually requires you buy two Powerbars. I also just can’t buy another because they both need to be on the same receipt. I eat the Powerbar and decide it’s not worth buying more of them.
I then go to the households aisle and try to find Rubbermaid Freshworks Produce Saver tupperwear which credits for $2. They don’t carry this at RiteAid either. I get frustrated, think maybe it’s just this store, and head to CVS instead.
I look for the tupperwear at CVS but they don’t carry it there. I then look for Seventh Generation brand laundry detergent and dish soap. They don’t have either one of them. I find a Flintstones Gummy Vitamin bottle that credits for $1, but only the large-size bottle credits, it costs $17, and I don’t want to spend that much. I eventually get a $7 bottle of ZzzQuil that credits $1. I purchase it, scan my barcode and receipt with my phone, and the dollar credits to my account in an hour. I also finally get my $10 joining bonus.
I looked at the other ways to make money on Ibotta. The clothing stores had a lot of offers around $5 on a $50 purchase. So it’s really not that much more than what Swagbucks offers or common credit card cash-back offers.
I haven’t hit my minimum amount to cash out yet, and considering the limitations of the app, it may take a few more weeks before I get my beer money. (I don’t live near any major grocery stores, so I’m limited to the pharmacy options.) I just hope they don’t raise the minimum while I’m making progress. I Googled and apparently the minimum payout used to to be $5, so it appears they can arbitrarily change the program whenever they want.
My final advice on Ibotta: Use it on things you were going to buy anyway, but be careful you don’t end up buying things you don’t need.
If you would like to join Swagbucks use my referral link here: http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/scandalousmuffin
If you would like to join Ibotta use my referral link here: https://ibotta.com/r/kgdorsl
Mild Spoilers Ahead
It’s no secret that DC movies haven’t been doing well lately. So when I saw that Rotten Tomatoes gave “Suicide Squad” at 27% fresh rating, and after witnessing the monstrous trainwreck that was “Batman v Superman,” I wasn’t exactly jumping out of my seat to see it. But I had a DC comic-lover friend that really wanted to go and I was bored that day. I also thoroughly enjoyed the trailer music soundtrack.
Here’s what I have to say to some common criticisms of the movie:
There wasn’t enough Joker.
This is the main critique I’ve been seeing all over the place. Jared Leto’s name is on the poster but he wasn’t in the film. Well, I saw the film from beginning to end and felt there was plenty of Leto’s Joker in it, considering the focus of the film was about, dur, the Suicide Squad.
This is not a Batman movie. It was never marketed as a Batman movie. Yes, Batman makes a cameo, but he doesn’t fight the Joker nor should he. The Joker isn’t a member of the Suicide Squad, so it makes entire sense for him to be relegated to a secondary character.
There was an introductory scene with him and Harley Quinn in Arkham Asylum. There was a weird bar scene that illustrated the Joker’s cruel and mercurial nature. And there were a couple more scenes with him and Harley Quinn that highlighted their twisted, co-dependent relationship. Quinn is the main character and I felt the amount of appearances for the Joker was just the right amount so as to not overshadow her.
The music sucked.
“We haven’t even gotten to the distracting use of on-the-nose musical selections to introduce each character… Each song inspires a groan and takes you right out of the action.” –Rogerebert.com
Oh, shut the fuck up. If having appropriate music is “distracting” to you, you should watch a Tarantino flick and then shoot yourself in the head.
The soundtrack had everything from Skrillex to a Panic! at the Disco cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” They are upbeat, catchy songs to compliment sarcastic, quirky characters. I don’t feel like covers of classic songs create a cliché, rather they set the tone for a new rendition of old comic book characters.
The film jumped around too much.
Yes, there were extensive uses of flashbacks in the film. There were, after all, between six and seven members of the Suicide Squad at one time. I don’t see a more efficient way to introduce and characterize them all.
As for the editing, I rather liked it. I don’t think it was sloppy or choppy. I felt like it created a fast-paced, yet still digestible, narrative that made for a solid action film plot. There was a lot going on, but I feel like I was able to distinguish all the characters and keep their personalities in mind without getting too muddled.
The film was two hours, but it was well enough paced that time flew by smoothly.
The villain was stupid or lame.
“She couldn’t arrange better special effects for herself, however; at the height of her powers, the threat she creates looks hilariously cheesy.” -Rogerebert.com
Yes, there’s a supervillian who hates humanity and wants a combination of domination and destruction. But what superhero movie isn’t that?
The Enchantress is an ancient witch with various dark powers. She can summon zombie-like minions, teleport, and manipulate the movement of matter and energy. I, for one, was just happy to see a female supervillian. She does bring her equally supernatural brother along for the evil ride, but it was nice to see a supervillian family working together for once.
I saw nothing out of the ordinary with the special effects. When she transforms from her possessed alter ego June Moone into The Enchantress, black fingers slip out from her own and then take her over, casting a smoky-like shadow around her body.
Sure she wears practically a bikini, but this is a relatively minor feminist sin. She is still a powerful, evil figure and a convincing antagonist in a movie full of anti-heroes.
I came into the theater with really low expectations and was pleasantly surprised. “Suicide Squad” was pretty on par with what the trailers advertised, was well-cast, decently-acted, and delivered entertaining action sequences. There was a certain amount of chaos I’ll admit, but this seemed entirely appropriate for the themes the movie was trying to present. If I was the filmmaker and somebody called “Suicide Squad” “messy,” I would take it as a compliment.
I would consider myself largely a failure at life. I barely graduated high school on time (I was almost held back twice for medical absences.), I dropped out of college, and I have had a mental breakdown at nearly every job I have ever held. I feel like there a couple kinds of depression: There’s normal person depression, which consists of going through life in a foggy haze, never knowing which way is up, but pushing forward nonetheless; and then there’s my kind of depression, where I can’t leave the house for up to 6 months at time and I drop to 90 pounds because I physically cannot eat. Being a failure at life entails lots of unpleasantness and deviations from normal person milestones. It also involves dealing with the faceless bureaucracies known colloquially known as “welfare.”
I first applied for welfare in New Jersey when I was around 20. By this time, I had driven the full scholarship I had to community college into the ground and had quit a near-minimum wage retail job. I applied for the trifecta of welfare: cash assistance (TANF), Medicaid, and food stamps (SNAP). I applied online and shortly after received a letter for an interview.
The Morris County Office of Temporary Assistance is a sad brown 1-story building located next to a Juvenile Detention Facility. In this sad building I waited about a half an hour in a sad line with lots of sad babies and their sad mothers just to speak to the receptionist so I could be directed to line of chairs in a sad hallway where I would wait another half hour and then then be directed to my second to last destination—a super sad, medium-sized waiting room.
My appointment was scheduled at 1 PM. I had shown up 15 minutes early. It was 2PM by the time I got to the waiting room. A thin 30-something guy with glasses walks in from the purgatory hallway and sits across from me.
“MEH!” he yells. “M-m-m-Mehhhhhh!” Everyone looks at him. “Sorry,” he says, apologetically. “I have Tourette’s.”
I sit across from Tourette’s guy for three more hours. He only has one tic and its name is “Meh!” There are no magazines, only a television with local news playing. There are children of various ages playing with each other interrupted every couple minutes by a stuttering “Meh!” and a rehearsed explanation for the people that just walked in.
Around 5 PM I finally get my interview and I teeter in the room feeling like I just had to listen to “What’s New Pussy Cat” for three hours. The worker who processes me looks like she was fresh out of college but the real world had quickly beat her into submission. Monotone and empty-eyed she leads me through the process, which is mostly just me signing multiple statements that I won’t commit fraud.
About another month later I receive my EBT card. Food stamps are generous enough—about $200 a month, but the cash assistance is only $70. Apparently, the state of New Jersey believes that a person can live off of $840 a year.
A couple years later I move to New York and apply for welfare here. There was a similar 5-hour long appointment for the meager cash allotment of $70 a month. There is a 24-month lifetime limit on cash assistance, so I ran that out pretty quickly. Conservatives and libertarians who believe that moochers can live comfortably off welfare indefinitely are sadly mistaken.
What I should have done at this point is apply for disability on the federal level. But instead I foolishly tried to work another retail job. This ended badly and I then spent the next couples years racking up hefty credit card bills while paying off the minimum on my meager savings.
The time comes every 6 months to renew my food stamps (SNAP). Well, one of these times I get a letter saying I did not send documents that I did in fact send. My food stamps get cut off. I’m pretty heavily in a depressive episode at this point so I just mope around and put my food expenses on my credit cards. Eventually I work up the courage to go to the sad building of endless waiting lines once again. I bring my documents, wait another month, and finally get my food stamps reinstated.
6 months later I have to re-certify again. I don’t have to go the sad building (thank god) but I do have a phone interview scheduled to complete the re-certification. The day comes for the phone interview and no one ever calls. If I don’t re-certify by the end of the month I’ll have my food stamps cut off again. I call the general help number on the re-certification letter to try and get help for the situation. No one picks up and it goes to a voice mailbox that’s full. I call four more times over the next two days. No one ever picks up and it goes to the voicemail that won’t take messages. I find the number for the state human resources department and call Albany. They transfer me several times to someone who says they’ll call me back. Luckily, someone does call back in a few days and gives me a new appointment. The appointment is close to the date I’ll get food stamps cut off which makes me nervous. I do get a phone call early for the interview, although it is on a day that is nowhere near the appointment. I’m luckily available and finish the process.
These days I have everything I need except money. I am currently applying for Supplemental Security Income (Social Security), which would have me certified disabled. The unfortunate part about the entire disability process is that it takes about two years. Pretty much everyone agrees that this is ridiculous. Disabled people obviously can’t work, and while I usually can hold a shitty job for a couple months before my inevitable spiral back into depression, I’m sure the Social Security people would flag me as non-disabled if I did a stint. So right now I’m just kinda withering in poverty..
I applied for SSI a year ago, was rejected, and am currently in the process of appealing the denial. I’m also trying to find a disability lawyer who will take my case, but the legal aid program I’m trying to get into has failed to communicate with me about whether they’ll take my case. (They’ve been “reviewing” my medical documents for five months.) I’m looking for a better legal aid program or maybe a trustworthy private attorney.
So that’s been my situation for the last few years. This is also my first autobiographical blog post in a while. Sorry if it wasn’t that interesting; it’s hard to make a post about tedious things non-tedious, I plan on doing a couple non-autobiographical posts in the future, maybe some political commentary or something. I was briefly considering letting my domain registration lapse, but, thanks to a donation from a friend, Clantily Scad will live on at least another year.