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Category: travel

07/19/06 11:04 - 78ºF - ID#24652

Billy Bob and Earl in NYC

I am way behind on reading and writing journals - I forgot my damn wireless card at home before I left for my trip, so I've waited 3 days to by happenstance be at a hotel that actually has a traditional RJ-45 love connection. So here I am.

First of all, I heard a vicious rumor that a certain Manhattan resident by day/NJ resident by night is shooting me those evil chick eyes (you know what I mean!) because I have visited NYC and haven't been in contact. Allow me to assure you, mystery person, that when I get the chance I will redeem myself.

On that note, I did stay in the NJ side of metro NYC the past two days, but when I wasn't at work I was in the hotel room sleeping. Our travel rules have been becoming more demanding and more draconian so as a result I usually begin my work week extremely sleep deprived. I didn't get out AT ALL. We even ordered food in. On the bright side, I found a $120 per night hotel in Jersey that was across the street from a 20 min. bus ride to Times Square. The only thing that would have been better is a $120 per night hotel near a PATH train. Considering that I've paid more for shittier hotels in NYC, I think its a fair tradeoff.

I picked up our car at LaGuardia (pre-blackout) and the notorious traffic kept me waiting nearly an hour to cross the Whitestone Bridge. On the way bacy through I waited nearly an hour to cross the GW bridge... at 2 o' fucking clock. My friend that lives in Long Island City commutes to CT every day - after this week I don't know how he does it without sucking on an exhaust pipe. No, actually I do - its the FAT paycheck!

Ok - fast forward. I'm through with NJ and eventually drove to BWI to catch a flight. Flying out of BWI instead of Newark might seem extreme, but consider this - the flights were twice as expensive, Newark is a shithole airport, and my work day was 3 hours long. Taking a 3 hour afternoon drive on a sunny day to catch a cheaper flight out of an airport I like? Hello, do you hear that? Thats the sound of people stuck in office hell not feeling terribly sorry for me.

Have you ever heard of Yaffa Blocks... the stackable storage bins? Today I met Yaffa - she is a sweet lady and is a genius, but MY GOD was she neurotic. Goooooo Yaffa! This was the first time that I have visited a manufacturer whose product I remembered from old MTV commercials. Yaffa told me that it was cheaper to advertise on MTV than it was to advertise on "regular" channels. Anyway, her products were fairly cool and I definitely want some - if I had the storage space I would have bought some today. I also learned that Wal-Mart sells her products at more than double the manufacturing cost. I'm definitely paying retail to Aunt Yaffa - fuck Uncle Wally.

Tonight we are in Louisville, KY. Despite the lack of major pro sports, this is a very pretty city with a lot of economic prosperity. The state of Kentucky is simply gorgeous - at this point I've travelled to 35 states of the 48 continental and Kentucky, from a purely aesthetic perspective, is only behind California, Washington and Texas. We ate dinner at a Texas Roadhouse, and I saw a group of 9 (two tables, one for adults and one for kids) leave a TWO DOLLAR tip on an $81 check. What the fuck is that crap? General ignorance about courtesy and life is to blame. Lord knows that they have money left for cigarettes and beer! One of them looked like he'd been neck deep in liquor - I wanted to headbutt him Zidane style, except with a spiked helmet.

You deserve a final goodnight kiss so I will leave you with an anecdote about the most wicked redneck siting in history. It wasn't an orange charger with the "stars and bars" on it, but it was damn close. Think of an original 60's era red Mustang - absolutely beautiful. Then throw in a 120 pound white guy with a handlebar moustache and plenty of mulletude flapping as the 80 MPH wind whips through the hair. I was awestruck, like I was staring at a celebrity. The car at this point was like the bow, and the guy with the mullet was like the violin. One without the other and you cannot create beautiful music. It was magic. A guy like that must be pretty fucking cool, although he probably has shitty weed. Whatever - shitty weed is better than no weed!

Adieu.
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07/06/06 03:37 - 72ºF - ID#24651

Book

Does anybody have a copy of Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent" that they would be willing to let me borrow?

Or alternately, does anybody know where the best selection of used books are around here?
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07/05/06 11:27 - 67ºF - ID#24650

Larson Vs. Larson

I'm on a quest, and (e:jason) and I have decided that the vehicle through which we will pursue this quest will be the big, bad world of media.

We have mentioned this in the past, but we are going to begin (slowly) some work on an internet radio show of some kind, and perhaps periodic short videos where we will do short skits, interviews on Elmwood and different cuts where we'll have dialogues with people about political and social issues.

The radio show will be called Larson Vs. Larson, and initially we plan on doing a (very) periodic offering involving interviews with people who we disagree on issues with, arguments/discussions between (e:jason) and I, as well as intermittant homemade "commercials." You are going to love the commercials. In fact, some of you just might be recruited for voices here and there!

The purpose behind this is simple - apathy is a major problem in our society these days, especially amongst my (our) generation. While things are definitely getting better, we have no better example than Buffalo to prove what apathy can mean to an area. Our generation is going to be running shit in 25 years and for people that are largely apathetic that is a scary thought. In some ways have we become so accustomed to our lifestyles that we're just too comfortable or distracted from the important things going on around us? Why is it okay and socially acceptable to simply not care?

This isn't going to be for the faint of heart - the disccusions are going to be deep, intense and involved. The forum is going to be completely open - left, right, center - we don't care. We want to illustrate and promote examples of Generation X on all sides who are NOT apathetic in the hopes that more people will engage in social and political issues. You will hear things that you agree with and you are going to hear things that will bring you to the boiling point. The goal is to allow listeners to be exposed to a variety of opinions because mainstream media has largely abandoned the full range. Pick any media outlet of your choice - you are not being given options, you are being preached to. Its time for this to end.

Will we abandon our own political beliefs in the interest of singing around a campfire and feeling good? Absolutely not. I fully intend on challenging people if what they say is conspiratorial non-sense. There will be parts of the show that feature Jason and I discussing a topic; what you will find is that we have a broad range of beliefs. The hounds will be released as needed on the people who articulate an opinion but cannot explain why they believe it - we don't care how you feel, we care about what you think. Otherwise what we want is for contributors to lay out what they think, how they think and why. "Bush is dumb" and "liberals suck" will never fly - people that don't bring everything to the table will be scrutinized, but rarely in a manner where anybody is hostile to one another.

The video idea is something that I thought about and would be somewhat of an extension of the radio show. We will hit the street with a camera and a mic and ask people about what they think about the issues of the day. Lets find out who cares, who doesn't and why. Lets compare strong opinions with depth of understanding. Lets go ask the lady at the deli if she thinks the minimum wage is too low. Lets go ask some people at Spot if they think about a nuclear North Korea. Lets go ask people who the Secretary of War is - yes, trick questions are allowed. Lets also dress in an Uncle Sam suit and ask people what the suit represents to them (no, I'm not kidding). Lets have some fun too, and create some short skits in between the more serious things to put a spotlight on the fact that it is indeed okay to laugh about how ridiculous some things and some people can be. Lets get ALL of this on camera and use it as a tool to illustrate who cares, who doesn't and why... and in the meanwhile we'll shake it up by throwing in some dark humor.

We're in the preliminary stages of constructing the first radio episode - likely we will be finishing the commercials first. (e:jason) has an idea for something he calls "the chop shop" - don't even ask. I have a chewing gum idea that makes people babble like Ted Kennedy when they chew it. We'll mock religious zealots and intolerance perpetrated by people who fear others race and sexuality. You know full fucking well that I'm going to mock Cindy Sheehan.

You'll be surprised. You are going to agree with us on occasion. You are going to be hissing at me when I go get coffee once in a while. In any case, we'll be getting your attention one way or another, even if we have to coax, embarrass or ooze it out of you. You will hopefully learn a little bit more about what you believe if you aren't sure about some topics. You're resolve will strengthen as well. We want you to be engaged. We want you to vote. We want you to care about your community and be willing to engage all sides of an issue. We want people to learn to respect each other and quit with the shouting matches.

We'll be testing the early stuff on close and trusted friends, then we'll see where we go.
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Category: politics

07/03/06 06:16 - 78ºF - ID#24649

Illustrations of Absurdity

Yep.

I said earlier that I wasn't going to make many, if any, political posts during the summer. After all, the good stuff won't start kicking up until late August/early September. However, the latest news cycle has forced me to address once again the gifts that keep on giving; the NYT and the Huffington Post. I'm going to illustrate why in the United States of America freedom of speech is NOT an absolute, nor should it be, in the context of the media.

Before I get into that however, I wanted to talk briefly about the emotional state of the American voter. I've had a theory that in general Americans are sick and tired of the animosity, the severe partisanship and the nastiness that has enveloped our politics since GWB got elected. At the 3's Company party I was talking with people about this and in general they agreed. After '04 I think we crossed a threshhold that many Americans find to be unacceptable.

What happened to the state of our discourse? 40 years ago William F. Buckley, one of the most brilliant and articulate political minds America has ever produced and the father of the Conservative movement, began a show called Firing Line on PBS. To this day I believe that it is the best politically oriented talk show that American television has ever produced. Why? Because Mr. Buckley constantly invited people he vehemently disagreed with politically, and *GASP* some incredible debates were produced as a result. No animosity - just people discussing their views, being challenged and arguing their points in a civilized manner. Our society over the past 30 years has become more and more willing to be hostile to one another over things we disagree on. Politics is emotional at times and people are going to have their disagreements, but what made it okay and socially acceptable to act like wild animals to each other? We shout at each other, we make things personal, we insult vast sections of American society. Its unexcusable. You can take this one to the bank - America is sick of it and in November the party that runs the most negative campaign will be severely punished by the voters. As a result, this is why I believe that the coming election will be more interesting than the last.

Ok - about freedom of speech and why it is not an absolute. Despite the media's constant whining about privacy and freedom of the press, the media consistently violates the privacy of others. Recently, NYT published a story with a picture of Don Rumsfeld's driveway and front door, and in addtion pointed out where the security camera is. The Huffington Post published the private information of several Swft Boat Vets, and eventually after pressure on the editor of the site the information was removed. Several moonbat fringe kooks actually called these guys and threatened their lives over "ruining the country" because John Fucking Kerry didn't get elected. One guy had to police his phone because he didn't want his grandkids to inadvertantly pick up the phone and hear that crap. The left's favorite bullseye, Rush Limbaugh, once again violated his privacy and attempted to damage him by publishing a story about him coming back from the Dominican Republic with a bottle of Viagra in his bag. I won't even bother with NYT's serial necessity to reveal classified information on the basis that something *might* be illegal - information and stories aren't vetted anymore precisely because the truth is less important than having the ends justify the means. Anybody with a brain understands that NYT and many other publications like it have attempted to undermine the current administration and even influence elections. I REALLY won't even bother about Rathergate - that pinata has been beat, broken and busted up.

So let me get this straight. Its okay to tell the world where Rumsfeld and Cheney live (Cindy Sheehan and Code Pink coming to a $1.5m home in Maryland soon), its okay to tell the world how we are fighting the war on terror and revealing classified information simply because of political objections of a few editors, its okay to knowingly publish false information, its okay to violate the privacy of private citizens. However, its definitely NOT okay to know who the sources of the false stories are and what goes on in the editorial room. The privacy of the NYT is untouchable and sacred. I'm still waiting for extensive photographs of Billary's property in Chappequa.

I've heard all the arguments that people who support NYT say in response. "If its illegal (big IF since all of the NYT's efforts have unmercilessly flopped), then the Times should expose it anyway," The recent disclosure of our government using financial databases to track and freeze assets of would-be terrorists? "Well, the terrorists already know that their money is tracked so this isn't big news." Oh really? Rathergate - "Well, the documents were false but the story is true." Freedom of speech - "the first thing that fascists do is try to control the media." This is why I love the platitudes that the media use to try to justify their immoral and techincally illegal behavior. In the end it doesn't change anything and exposes the fraudulent behavior that these people purport to be the behavior of legitimate journalists.

The plain truth of this sad story is that more journalists and politically involved individuals are going to be going to jail soon. The reason why freedom of speech is not absolute with respect to the media is because the media have abandoned journalistic integrity, as a result papers like the Times are knowingly committing felonies and in the end when you do commit felonies your ass is going to end up in prison like Judith Miller. People like Bill Keller believe that they are not subject to the law because, in their view, the media is the last check on government activities. Who is checking the journalists when its clear that they haven't been checking themselves? This is precisely why the freedom of speech argument will never hold up in a court if the Justice Department decides to prosecute. Nobody is above the law - ask Nixon.

If the government begins issuing subpoenas to members of the media, do not cry to me about how the media is being punished for conflicting political views - its absolutely farcical. Suggesting something so patently absurd only bolsters the arguments of those who say that the media are abandoning responsible journalism and shunning all responsibility for themselves. Crying about supposedly being punished rings hollow when you've commited a felony. If this happened during FDR's time, whatever you believe BushCo has in store for the liberal media would pale in comparison to what FDR was willing to do to people who knowingly acted against the government during a time of troop deployment.

Interestingly (and counterintuitively) members of the media in Europe are eating their own over the fictionalization of news stories - I never thought that Europe's media would be scrutinized before we began scrutinizing our own media. You all know how I am - I hate the word "progressive." However I'm compelled to note that it seems that Europe are in fact more progressive about keeping their own media in check. Print media is now vetted not by itself, like responsible journalists used to do. Print media is now vetted by online media, which of course is why the print media is constantly vilifying and questioning the journalistic integrity of online media. The irony is delicious.
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07/02/06 05:33 - 77ºF - ID#24648

Partay

I assume that everyone is like me, having woken up at 2:30pm... unless you are a responsible and dutiful person like a certain Ho sister!

I had a good time at the party - it was good to see everybody and see how things are going along. (e:decoyisryan), (e:ladycroft) and (e:nejifer) were gracious hosts to the end, despite the fatigue. That house has got to be a mess. You three are sexy bitches!

Anyway - see you all again at the next party. Until then you may catch the occasional Larson siting at Spot, Globe or the Co-Op, or perhaps the porch on the 4th.





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06/28/06 12:23 - 74ºF - ID#24647

Home Sweet Home

If you haven't been reading (e:maureen)'s journal relating to her two soon-to-be-if-not-already-former elderly neighbors and how she is helping them, you should check it out. You are a sweetheart! I wish you were my grandma's neighbor. My grandma is an absolute gem - just watch out for the occasional backhanded compliment. She has no inner monologue at all.

Before I get into my journal I wanted to also mention what I *just* saw on Channel 4 news (see, I watch your stuff when I can Jerry!). Friends and neighbors, in light of the recent upsurge in "vigilance" that our friends at the City of Buffalo Police Department have been displaying over the course of the past few months I know that this will warm you down to the depths of your souls. Apparently the downtown BPD HQ is completely infested with cockroaches - they are appearing everywhere in the building. I tried to tell you fucking guys! Karma is a boomerang, bitches!

I've been home this past week - not "home" as in being at the office for 40+ hours either. Home as in - take my sweet time waking up, grabbing coffee at Spot, walking to Globe for lunch, doing absolutely nothing that my heart doesn't desire kind of home. While there are times that I do bitch about my job (and who doesn't?) I do have to admit that there is no other job that would allow me to have a week off here and there, non-vacation related. As you might imagine, I'm very grateful because it allows me the opportunity to get centered and back in balance. You all well know that if you don't have the proper work/home/social balance it does damage.

I've mainly been acquiring some new music - I've been focusing mainly on the mid to late 60's, early 70's folk rock. I've also gotten a copy of the new Thom Yorke "don't-call-it-a-solo-album" thanks to somebody who leaked it, the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album and also a megaton of Oasis' backlog.

Anyhow, buh-bye now.
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06/21/06 10:37 - 69ºF - ID#24646

Survey

Sorry for the delay - I'm a busy guy. Greetings from New York - today I learned some Chinese and took the longest subway ride EVER. I'm watching Larry King; I want to vomit. My only regret this week is having three opportunities to see a Mets game and not doing it.

1. How did you find out about/why did you become of estrip?

(e:jason) was a member and I watched his participation, then decided that I wanted to. (e:jason) begged me not to because he thought my personality would be too gruff. While at times I am definitely an asshole, (e:jason) cannot sensor me. If he can't, nobody else has a shot in hell at it.

2. How "out" are you about having a publicly accessible online journal. Do your friends know? Does your family know? Do your co-workers know? Does your boss know? Do you use your real name? Do you use your real photo?

Friends know and occasionally lurk around here and read it. I use my real name and photo because I'm not shy about those things.

3. How many epeeps have you met real life?

Several - between 12 and 24 different 'strippers.

4. How has estrip changed the way that you meet people, on and/or off line?

Not in any measurable way. I consider my experience with (e:strip) to be an isolated instance of having met people from an online source. If y'all weren't my former, current or future neighbors (or friends of said neighbors) I probably wouldn't talk to you.

5. How has estrip affected you love life?

Um... not at all. While in general I'm a friendly and gregarious person, there are some things that I'm intensely private about.

6. How many of your friends have joined estrip because of your influence?

None. While I'm an influential person, for some reason my friends prefer MySpace.

7. Are you from Buffalo/do you live in Buffalo?

Not from Buffalo originally, although I'm in my 10th year of residence in the area.

1. What type of hardware or software purchases have you made as a result of using estrip?

Zero.

2. Have you used the mobile version of estrip? Why or why not?

No. Its an interesting concept, but at some point you really have to actually unplug from technology. Technology is great for documenting your life but much of what mobile tech has to offer is too extreme for any kind of mainstream use. I cite the unpopularity of the mobile (e:strip) site as evidence. Communication is good; constantly needing a mobile link to website is simply unhealthy. In the end, people have to use their own discretion with these things - whatever works for you.

1. In what way has estrip changed your Internet surfings habits? Describe the amount of time you spend on estrip, when you use it and about how long?

My participation on this site is more limited than it used to be. I read very few journals and most of my time on this site is spent constructing my posts.

1a. How many journals do you usually read per day?

5-10 per week. No idea how many per day. I usually check out Jason, the PMT love triangle, Ajay, the Ho sisters, and new people.

2. In what ways has estrip changed the way you perceive your local community?

If anything, it confirmed what I already thought about the community. I've always felt at home in the Elmwood Village. There is simply no other place in the Buffalo area that I would agree to live in. Far and away my experiences with my neighbors have been positive and in many ways we are as alike as we are different. I enjoy that aspect a great deal, and (e:strip) is definitely a reflection of that spirit.

3. How has journaling about your life affected the way you spend your free time?

My journal has definitely not affected my free time in any tangible way.

4. Has estrip changed your living situation in any way?

My first reaction to this was "What a stupid question." I then thought about Timika, Jen and Ryan. In other words, not for me.

5. Do you find that you mediate/document more of your experiences now that you share them with others?

Definitely, which is the biggest draw of this site for me.

6. Has publishing on estrip affected the way that write?

Not particularly. This journal gives me the opportunity to write informally, which I appreciate a great deal. However, its no different than how I would write e-mails to friends or dialogue with people I know.

7. Do you have other online journals? If so, with what service and has estrip affected your usage of that journal?

I have a MySpace page. My usage of MySpace hasn't affected my usage of (e:strip) - I keep in contact with old friends through one, and I rant and occasionally espouse my political views with the other.

8. Have you ever gotten in trouble for using estrip at work?

Absolutely not. I do as I please.

9. If you have stopped using estrip, why?

I haven't stopped so this question isn't relevant for me. My participation has waned a bit though, mainly because I'm usually preoccupied.
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Category: travel

06/19/06 11:12 - 68ºF - ID#24645

NY, NY

Today has been an extremely long day. I got up at 5am to shower up and head to the airport for my 7am flight to Providence, RI. I picked up what might be one of the most expensive car rentals ever (if you count per hour anyway) and drove to Fall River, MA. fallrivahmaaaashavahdyahdchowahwhydidyouthrowthesliddietojetah. No shit - you guys know I travel and meet different people from A to Z. The chowd accent is un-in-fucking-telligible. Seriously - I understand broken English spoken by Asians better.

I left work at about 1:45pm, drove back to return the rental and paid $9 to take a shuttle to the Amtrak station. Then I paid $64 for a one-way train trip to Penn Station in NYC. I arrived in NYC at about 8:15pm, took the 1 to the 7 line and went to the hotel. I got to the hotel at about 9:20pm.

I actually kind of enjoyed the subway ride - our usual hotel in Long Island City and the super secret boutique hotel in Manhattan were both booked, and there is hardly any availability in NYC, so I was forced to stay in Flushing, in the shadow of Shea Stadium. It isn't as bad as I thought it might be - the neighborhood is more or less a Chinatown. The Mets were playing tonight, and there was a great view of the full Shea Stadium during the game as we rode past in the subway.

Honestly I am just glad that I am getting a chance to relax. Right now I want to poke my eyes out - the Canes are celebrating winning the Stanley Cup. Nah, I like my eyes - time to watch something else.

I'm not going to time for anything while I'm here, which sucks. Plus, I'm going to miss the US World Cup match against Ghana. (e:jason) you better DVR that shit for me!
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06/16/06 04:58 - 78ºF - ID#24644

Thank You Timika

I wanted to thank (e:ladycroft) for her cake, square thingies and other stuff she gave to Jason and I for our birthday. I meant to go to the square but as usual I was dragging ass and never made it. We went to Hardware and had a great time - I had to leave early because my ride had to be at work in the morning, but I still probably drank more than I needed to.

Timika you are the most thoughtful person I think I've ever met - if I could be 25% as thoughtful as you are I would be a much better person for it. Unfortunately thoughtfulness isn't one of my strong suits, but the least I can do is tell you that I think you are an absolutely beautiful person. Thank you for the gifts! I'm going to share the cake with Jerry.
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06/08/06 08:02 - 74ºF - ID#24643

Heavenly Justice

First of all, I'd like to wish each and every one of you a Happy Al-Zarqawi Day!

Since I'm not staunchly anti-war by any means (there are some problems that can only be solved with a man and a gun) I've previously been falsely accused of making a "cry for death." Up until today that has been completely untrue.

As of right now, guilty as charged. I'm ecstatic, completely thrilled that this animal has been sent to Allah. This sub-human creature has gotten what we have been warning him about all along. This occured yesterday during a joint Iraqi-US raid in Barquba. Laughably, many Democrats are calling this a "stunt" and sprinkling their statements with caveats. My message to them is this - your careers will soon be over if you keep talking like that.

Of course, I've already heard today from various feeble-minded sources suggesting that killing him means nothing and that it won't stop the violence. While the violence may not stop at the moment, anyone that steps into his place now knows for absolute sure what the outcome is going to be - total and complete victory for the good guys. This, of course, is bad news for liberals, who desperately want America to fail simply to put egg on President Bush's face. Classy, baby. I want to believe otherwise but I'm waiting on the evidence that the left loves their country more than they hate the current elected leader.

On to the good stuff -

Before - an amazing view from an F-16

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After - rigor mortis baby

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Iraqi police celebrate in Barquba

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On a lighter note, I realized while going through some old pictures that I had some gems laying around. Check it out -

Coincidence?

image

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Some Jason-themed mancandy -

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See you in Allentown this weekend - time to find something relatively cheap with a high kitsch factor for Ye Olde Crib.

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heidi said to thechefsky
I would argue that Wilson is a logical product of the hegemonic system of devaluation of black lives...

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Great Post!

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I'm still only halfway through ;) working on it....

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What is the red thing with the light brown door near your furry knee in the top pic?...