July 2009 Archives

iPhone 3GS from Maxis: Props and Slops

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Everyone is asleep, finally getting a chance to explore my new iPhone 3GS. Picked it up today from the Maxis Centre after work. Lets hit a quick rundown:

Props:

  1. Getting an email AND sms from Maxis informing me that my iPhone was ready for collection today.
  2. The Maxis staff -- more than half the people there today were picking up their iPhones, and it was obvious from the moment i walked in that the staff were under tremendous pressure from their customers. Its a credit to their training and energy that even right to the very end (i was one of the last customers they served before closing up), they still kept a smile on their face and even managed to crack some jokes and share a laugh with me.
  3. Being able to reduce the price of my iPhone further from RM1990 to RM1590; downgraded my plan even further after i realized i didn't need something so expensive
  4. Actually getting the iPhone in my hands -- its a real beauty, exactly as advertised. Initial playtesting shows, yes, it is just that good.
Slops:

  1. Holy crap me, the traffic congestion around the Maxis Centre, the crowd was huge.
  2. Getting #974, and having to wait nearly 90 minutes before it was my turn to speak to the rep for my phone.
  3. The really, really annoying customers who had not pre-ordered the phone, and expected to be given one today just because they want one and have the cash to pay for it. Stock of the iPhones are extremely limited, and the initial batch Maxis ordered just covers pre-orders, nearly no extras -- not any fault of Maxis apparently, there is a universal shortage of available iPhones.Not only were they rude to the Maxis staff, but they took up valuable time as well from genuine customers (like me) who would be able to receive their phones today.
  4. Stupid Malaysians who don't understand the concept of "TAKE A FUCKING NUMBER". At least twice, i witnessed customers just cutting in when a rep was free and their number was not called yet. The rep actually didn't turn them away, and this led to a longer wait time for other customers who had the courtesy to wait in line.
  5. Technologically brain-dead iPhone users -- Maxis setup a phone clinic by the side, specifically to assist customers to initialize and prep their new iPhone for the first time. This counter soon became congested as customers took forever to understand simple messages such as, "NO, SIR. YOUR SMS FROM YOUR OLD PHONE CANNOT BE TRANSFERRED TO THE IPHONE."
  6. Massive mis-coordination between Maxis and the retail Apple centres such as eMachines. Customers are supposed to pick up the iPhone from the retail centres they ordered the phone from, however, delays in the stock arriving to them have led to irate customers who were promised their phones today. To appease them, the retail centres have asked them to go to Maxis Centres to get their phones. Big Mistake. The Maxis Centres only have the phones that were pre-ordered from them. This led to several angry customers, and some silly dramas ensued.

Oh well. From what i saw, i feel sorry for the Maxis staff who will have to go through it all again tomorrow. It promises to be worse with the weekend crowd in attendance.

Its interesting that a small little gadget can bring the best (Maxis staff) and worse (misbehaving customers) out of people.

As for me, i'm taking my time to learn about my new toy from a library of online tutorials provided by Apple.


A few more days to go

Just two days to go before its Pick-Up-My-Brand-New-iPhone Day.

Just three days to go before i have to send my treasures away to Seremban.

Happy to get a new toy, sad to have to be without my heavens on Earth.

On the balance of it all, i'm not looking forward to the next few days.

The Most Under-used Phrase in the English Language

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... is "thank you".

When someone does something for you, you should say "thank you" (and mean it).

When someone wishes you well, you should say "thank you".

When someone makes your life just that little bit easier or brighter, you should say "thank you".

When someone helps you get back on your feet after you've taken a tumble, you should say "thank you".

When someone shows you the right from the wrong, you should say "thank you".

When someone corrects your mistake, you should say "thank you".

When someone makes way to let you pass, you should say "thank you".

When someone sacrifices her own comfort so that you may enjoy yours, you should say "thank you".

Its such a simple phrase, and said sincerely, can mean so much for the person you intend it to. It will make her feel as though you appreciate her, that you genuinely care that she is there, and that you recognize her efforts in making your life better. If you really mean it, it might also tell her that you love her.

Its easy to forget that no one ever needs to do anything for you. No one owes you anything. You don't have a right to be treated kindly. If you are treated well, its because someone cares for you enough to give you that privilege.

It doesn't hurt anyone to lower your pride, if pride is the reason why you do not do it in the first place, and say, "Thank you."

Beauty and the Beast

Fun: A WoW Movie Diary

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I quit World of Warcraft back quite a while back. After playing the game since launch, it took me about 4 years of everyday-playing patterns to realize that i'd done it all, and doing it all over again under a new expansion was simply... boring.

But i do get nostalgic at times, and when the new World of Warcraft movie hits theatres sometime in 2011, i'll be near the head of the queue for a ticket.

Stumbled across this fun little blog post on Wired, "Sam Raimi's Warcraft Movie Production Diary". Its a real hoot, and i laughed out loud (LOL) more than once.

"Day 75
Why is it that every time we wrap for the day, one of the extras asks me to "open a portal to Dalaran"? Is he asking for drugs?"
Priceless. It'd take a WoW'er to understand. Trust me, its really funny.

A child of the GI Joe era

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If there's one movie i'm eagerly anticipating this year, its GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

I grew up a tough little boy watching the cartoons on TV in the mid-1980s. Bought the comics too, and saved up my meager pocket money to buy the action figures, or went over to friends' who had rich parents who had bought them the whole set of the latest figures.

In my mind, i imagined myself as the computer hacker, the handsome devil with the sly sense of humour, a ladies man who had a way with the tongue and a way with the keyboard, able to dismantle the electronic defenses of Cobra machinery with a flick of my fingers. Back then, every boy i knew had a GI Joe persona, that was mine.

I'm shy to say it now that 20-odd years have past since, but... "YO JOE!" *GI Joe cartoon musical score in the background*

We've lost Yasmin Ahmad

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Yasmin Ahmad, an icon of the creative arts, passed away last night from complications following a stroke.

My first conscious experience with her was through her breakthrough movie, Sepet (2004). In it, she touched emotions that were very close to my heart, being half-Malay, half-Chinese myself.

Through the movie, it was almost as though she was personally speaking to me and saying, "This is your life. I understand."

While so many others have produced work on the same issues, no one before her seemed to truly understand. Or even if they did, they didn't have her courage to present it on the Silver Screen.

That was what made her special to me. She saw the truth, she told the truth.

Rest in peace, dear lady. My prayers are with you.

The Proms

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Until 2 minutes ago, i didn't know what The Proms were.

According to Wikipedia:

"The Proms, more formally known as The BBC Proms, or The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts presented by the BBC, is an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts and other events held annually, predominantly in the Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington, London."

I was surfing through BBC Radio, looking for some cricket to tune in to, when i stumbled across this. Been listening to Prom 10 for a bit, and its superb. The audio fidelity over RealPlayer even with just 44.1k Surestream is to be admired.

Turned everything up to max, and just sitting here basking in the glow of some inspired music.

The death of a witness, Teoh Beng Hock

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If there is a silver lining in the controversial and outrageous death of Teoh Beng Hock, its that the response from the people, Government and Opposition has been suitably strong. No one is letting this death slide; this in itself begs a strong question: if everyone is pursuing the solution to the mystery so vigorously, does this mean that no one is responsible?

Its particularly nasty that Teoh died just hours after being questioned by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. Unlike Tengku Razaleigh, i think we need to be very careful to distinguish the difference between Teoh dying while in MACC custody and dying immediately after being released from the MACC.

Even if we acknowledge the difference between the two, its still a pretty damning stain on the MACC that (a) Teoh died just hours after questioning and (b) he died after jumping (thrown off?) from the same floor in the same building where the MACC is headquartered. More than anything else, this is the catalyst of the furor - a young witness dying literally meters away from where he was questioned by a Government agency for more than 11 hours.

The fallout of this ugly incident is going to change things, at the very least how things are done. Assuming the MACC is innocent (and lets assume strongly that they are for the time being), it will never allow itself to be put in this position again. Expect future interrogations to be recorded, no more 24 hour questioning periods, a more procedural system of checking-in-and checking-out witnesses and evidence, etc. Its probably safe to say, that the MACC, once the dust settles, is finished in its current form. It will likely be remembered in the future as Malaysia own nasty little chapter of McCarthyism.

Any death is to be regretted. The nation, still stabilizing after a period of unprecedented change since the elections of 2008, will be rocked to its core with this one.

Salary day

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We all like to treat ourselves to a little something with our monthly salaries. For some, its a 3-hour spa with all the bells and whistles, for others, its a weekend getaway to some exotic resort. Whatever floats your boat, we all have what i'd call a "salary pleasure".

For me, its a nice meal at the nearby Nando's Chicken restaurant. I always order the same thing: 1/4 herb and lemon chicken with chips and potato salad on the side. An empty side plate too, please. Then i mix up a big dollop of Extra Hot Peri-Peri Sauce and the Garlic Peri-Peri Sauce in the empty plate, them proceed to dip the chips, potato salad and thin slices of chicken into it before putting them into my mouth.

Its a nice little ritual that i try to drag out as long as i can, my record being 50 minutes to finish the meal. I wash everything down with a bottle of mineral water and tall glass of ice.  Its heavenly.

I always have a good feeling about myself when i leave the restaurant, a nice little burning sensation on my tongue and in my gut, happy and satisfied that i've made it through another month in the rat race of work.

Cheers, Nando's!

Changing Maxis mobile plans

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I've been a Maxis customer for LONG time, about 10 years now, easily. Way back, when i first joined them, it was during the days of fixed access fees + call charges. Those were the days of RM1,000-RM2,000 phone bills. It was sick.

Then, i changed my plan to the 138 Package. Pay RM138 a month minimum, all inclusive of access fees and call/sms charges up to that amount. Phone bills dropped significantly, but still hovered in the RM300-RM400 zone.

Then, i added a supplementary line, that cost RM10 for access fees + call charges. She would often use RM50-RM100 a month in call charges, most of them to my number, so that added another RM60-RM110 a month to my bill. At the same time, my phone usage dropped quite a bit, as my circle of friends narrowed; i spent more time with fewer people than less time with many people. Phone bill dipped into the RM200 band.

Now, since August 2008, i've noticed the bill get even smaller each month. Mostly because there is less and less need to use it nowadays. Some days, i make less than 10 short calls, 5 of which to my supplementary line, and perhaps 20-30 SMS at most.

It was time to revisit the ole' Maxis Rate Plans again.

Nice thing about Maxis is that their plans are quite flexible, quite competitive (in the sense that they change it to match the current market), and their customer service officers have a lot of integrity - even if it means a loss to Maxis in terms of $$$ revenue, they are willing to offer the best advice to their customers in order to save money.

So i called them up, spoke to this very pleasant fellow (sounded like an Indian, if his accent is anything to judge by), and in just a few minutes he helped me choose a new plan; he was very patient and took the time to explain things carefully to a newbie. Value Plus 80 + Value Plus 30 for the supplementary + iData 2 for my iPhone data usage. I did the math and it should save me RM50-RM60 each month in my overall bill, which is very nice because it offsets the additional RM50 i've got added to the bill due to the iPhone iData plan.

Times are tough, saving every sen counts. Nice to know that you can do that with Maxis.

75 years put to rest at Lord's!

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England has not won a Test match at the "Home of Cricket", Lord's, since 1934. They broke that spell today with a convincing 115-run victory against the Ole Enemy, Australia. It was a magnificent performance - England sprinting to 522 runs, then completely crumpling Australia over two innings, managing 406 runs.

The Man-of-the-Match, Andrew Flintoff, collected 5 wickets during the 2nd innings. The number of wickets collected is in itself fantastic, allowing, incredibly, only 92 runs. What's even more amazing is the value of those 5 wickets - Hughes and Katich from the top order, then the invaluable dismissal of Haddin who was threatening to lead a comeback, and Hauritz and Siddle from the bottom order to close up the innings. Superb!

England leads the Ashes, 1-0 with the first Test being drawn. 3 more Tests to go.

Juainni for ABC3 Host!

My little sister is trying out for the spot of tv host for the new ABC3 kids' channel.

Here is her audition video. Looks like great fun! But she can't count... see if you can spot the booboo! Love you, sis, good luck! They'd be silly not to pick you!

Apple iPhone 3GS

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Coffee at Starbucks, The Curve today brought some unexpected extras. The Maxis iPhone 3GS (S = Speed) roadshow was camped in the center court, and as i sipped my frapp, i became curious. I walked over, had a chat with Alex the Salesman, and about 20 minutes later i was sold. RM1990 with an iData package bundled in, appended to my existing account. Picking up the phone on 1 August from a nearby Maxis store. Fun times incoming.

Quite impulsive, i certainly didn't plan to buy the iPhone today, so i went home and did some digging to see what i'd bought for a cool 2k.

Just like any Tom and Dick, i knew the basics: iPhone is cool. Its more than just a phone; its a fashion statement, mini-computer, entertainment and internet hub all rolled into one. That's the hype anyways. The 3GS is the latest iteration of the genre, and comes with a bunch of extra yummy features.

Seems like the reviews tend to universally agree with the marketing pamphlets. Gizmodo gives it the thumbs up. Ditto Wired. Engadget agrees. Can't be half bad if these 3 sources are aligned in their praises.

But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. I'll look forward to getting my hands on it soon, and let you all know how it handles in the local environ.

 

I'll never forget this day

14 July 2009.

The Earth shook, perspectives, in an instant, changed forever. Emotions that i'll never have the words to describe ripped themselves out of my chest, and howled his name in a passionate embrace.

"You can do it, just one more push; take a deep breath and give it your all!"

And, she did. And, in the end, he did too.

Listening to the Ashes 2009 Live

Been listening to The Ashes 2009 live, over at BBC internet radio. Its superb. The British have are peerless in the art of aimless chit chat. Its so boring, its fun! Punctuated by the occasional, "Strauss smashes that to the boundary!"

England is doing superbly well at the start of the 2nd Test at Lord's (where England hasn't won a Test Match against Australia for like... forever).

Australian's bowlers are sucking badly at the moment. 187 - 0, Strauss and Cook just slaughtering the tourists. Get to 650 then declare, you tommies!

The Ashes 2009

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I'm not a baseball fan because watching it often feels like watching paint dry, but i can literally watch hours of cricket without flinching. Of the two "bat and ball" sports, cricket is arguably the more drawn out, more dramatic, and more convoluted. Test Cricket of the four-innings variety, for example, can last 5 full days per match AND, at the end of it all, still end in a draw. Such an ordeal can be frustratingly irritating for the uninitiated spectator.

Well, one man's convoluted is another man's epic.

Cricket, especially test cricket, is an awesome contest of not just strength, stamina and will, but strategy, patience and endevour. England vs Australia, Headingley, 1981 is a poignant example. Its the sporting world equivalent of climbing Mount Everest without bottled oxygen. By comparison, football is like taking a hike over the nearby hill.

Of the many test series in the game, perhaps the most celebrated is The Ashes.

Played roughly biennially, its a classic match-up between two of the sport's oldest exponents, Australia and England. Started in 1882, and bitterly contest since, only interrupted by war, the score lies Australia 31, England 28. Its being played again this year, and the competition has the potential of a classic, if the first test match is any indication; it finished a thrilling draw.

Only in cricket can a draw be considered thrilling. Trust the British for their constipated sense of humour.

Warning: the Silly Season is contagious

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Ok, this is just getting a bit stupid. Sorry, my mistake. This is getting very stupid.

Hng Khoon Leng from Gerakan Youth has asked Lim Guan Eng to reveal details of how he can afford his, allegedly, lavish home. Anything DAP can do, Gerakan can do too? Its hilarious.

While there is some reason in politicans being transparent about their sources of income, hounding them publicly is not the way to do it. It smacks of pandering to the gallery, a cheap attempt to get your name in the newspapers. It really doesn't work. Really. Just no.

If you really want to hit Guan Eng and DAP where it hurts, hit them over the issue of Kampung Buah Pala. Not only will you get the respect of the Rakyat because that's an issue that matters (tsk, tsk DAP, you lied to the electorate), its an issue that affects real people on the ground. No one cares how much Mr Lim paid to renovate his lawn.

Obsessed (2009)



Watched Obsessed this afternoon, and i must admit, i found myself really enjoying it despite its obvious cliche and plot. The Sun in the UK called it, "...Obsessed is both a front runner for the worst movie of the year and a must-see stinker." Lol, that just about hits it right on the head, from a critic's point of view.

But screw the critics. Its a fun movie, i was screaming in frustration at how stupid the husband was, and giggling with glee how "obsessed" Ali Carter's character could be. Her performance, by the way, was right on the money.

Go watch it, for a good couple of hours of delightful entertainment.

Blogstyles

Been reading a lot of blogs lately, quite a bit of this, but also mostly random treats such as this. Find them terribly fun reads; its addictive to read about others and their often zany takes on life.

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Bootylicious - My after-dinner mint

But, I've noticed that the blogs i find fun to read are not the type of blogs that i would myself enjoy to write.

Over time, the Volume of Interactions has changed. Looking back at years gone by, some of my funnest writings can be found when the blog was still young. But reading those same posts now, i don't think i can write like that anymore. Well, not sustainably anyways.

The air in my head (yeah, airhead, i am) always seems to be full of serious thought nowadays. If it doesn't involve money, someone dying, political scandal or sex (ok, we all have our own little guilty pleasures), it really won't interest me enough to write about it.

This is now, i'm 32. I wonder what i'll be like when i hit 40. Wonder what the VOI will be like then.

MJ Obituary

This cartoon really grabbed my attention.

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Credits to Mike Keefe.

Its going to be a long time before we'll be able to say goodbye to MJ, once and for all.

Who needs men?

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Scientists can now produce sperm... from stem cells. That's amazing, truly.

If you can create viable sperm from stem cells that essentially means you can cut out men from the whole reproductive equation. You're a woman and want to have a baby with your girlfriend? Gather some of your girlfriend's stem cells, putty them into sperm, use them to fertilize your egg, and voila, baby-time. Gives a whole new meaning to Best-Friends-Forever (BFF).

Politics of Negativity

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Saw this comment in the Malaysian Insider on the issue of Khir Toyo's expensive mansion:

"Pakatan should continue to expose scandals like these. It will certainly help them in any elections. BN would be wise to sacrifice this toyo fler to MACC or they can forget about coming back to Selangor."
I apologize for the idiocy of my fellow Malaysian. Some people here still think that the role of the Opposition is to expose the personal scandals of members in the ruling Government. Such negative politics never achieved anything, except perhaps replace shit with more shit.

For the uninitiated, read the following:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_campaigning
http://hubpages.com/hub/Negative-Political-Advertisements

A RM$24 million bet

We're playing with big numbers this Thursday morning. US$1.68 million for lunch with a billionaire, RM$24 million for a house in Shah Alam.

The first thought that came to mind when the story broke yesterday was: who cares. Dr Khir Toyo, former MB of Selangor has a big house (that he doesn't even live in). He says it costs <RM$4 million, his tormentor Ng Sue Lim says it costs RM$24 million. How does a "simple" MB afford such an expensive lavish?

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Its curious that the local political scene has come down to this. Ng Sue Lim is probably a very busy man, what with his sworn duty to devote his efforts to serving his Sekinchan constituency, and yet he feels the best way to invest his time is to chase down Khir Toyo over the size and cost of his house. Curious indeed how Malaysian politicians spend our taxpayer ringgit. Somehow, if Khir Toyo is embarrassed, hauled into court and convicted of corruption (extremely unlikely at the moment, he seems to have a very strong defense), this is going to improve the lot of the people of Sekinchan and Selangor. Even if Khir Toyo is dirty, please excuse me while the logic of this action eludes me.

Not to say that we allow naughty politicians who have pocketed dirty money to get away with it. But why not leak the story to the Press and get them to run around and harass him. Why make it personal and do the haranguing yourself?

Ah right, i forgot. You need to get your name and face in the newspapers, to show everyone how wonderful you are. Ng, you're pathetic.

A US$1.68 million lunch

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Seems like a huge sum of money to pay for a lunch date, doesn't it?

But, what is your date is Warren Buffet? If you're smart and are able to ask the right questions, you'll probably make 10x back what you paid.

Let your boyfriend take nekkid pics of you

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... also known as, "You Dumb Stupid Woman".

Man and woman have a relationship. He takes naked pics of her. They break up. He shows the pics to the world. Such a familiar broken record, its almost boring.

If your local ADUN was not invulnerable to such things, what makes you think a company exec would be? So strange that smart, educated, 21-century women are such easy prey for these shenanigans. What compels them?

Does it make you feel sexy to have your man take pics of you in the nude? The thrill of exposure?

English out, BM in for Science and Math

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The announcement was made today.

Beginning 2012, students in Year One and Year Four in primary schools, and Form One and Form Four in secondary schools, will learn Math and Science in Bahasa Malaysia.
The reason?

"Only 19.2% of secondary teachers and 9.96% of primary teachers were sufficiently proficient in English," he said, explaining the Government's decision to revert to the old system.
Seems silly isn't it? The patient has a rotting arm, and the Government's solution to the problem is to chop off the head.

While there is certainly some nationalistic pride behind having a national language capable of teaching science and math (this is debatable), it probably isn't in the best interest of the students who will wind up having to re-learn everything in English anyways once they start tertiary education, at least for those who aim to pursue those subjects. And for those that have no ambitions to study beyond a secondary education, having so little proficiency in English is not going to be much help in the "Real World" (TM) either.

With English having a prominent role in the schools, it was a step in the right direction, painful as it was. Come 2012, the education system is going to gostan. Do you see what i did there?

Michael Jackson 1958-2009

Michael Jackson passed away a few weeks ago. I grew up listening to his music, dancing maniacally to Beat It, Billy Jean, and getting the shivers everytime Thriller came on the radio. Every couple of generations or so, someone like him turns up to shape the perspectives of the world. I'm happy that i had a chance to be touched by his music.

His memorial service was held last night at the Staples Center in LA, USA. Among others, his brother, Jermaine Jackson, sang at it. The song was "Smile", MJ's favourite. Rest in peace, all hail the King of Pop.

 

Falling back to 6

I started blogging before it was even called "blogging". Quite a while now since my first ever post. Last 2 years or so, my ability to write has been terribly stunted. Was it because i had nothing left to say? Surely not. Was it because Life had changed me? Perhaps.

I've started many new things these last 24 months. Ended some too. Moved yet others around to positions anew. Have things changed so much that they're unrecognizable now? I suppose not. At the core, i'm still me, the world is still the World, and my place in it, if at all, has shifted just a bit. In the bigger picture, 2 years might as well be 2 seconds, 2 instances, 2 breaths, 2 pulls of a cigar.

In all this non-change, i've thought a lot about going back to basics: writing for writing's sake. I've got a secret little blog out there which i've been writing on recently, but pretending to be someone else over there, while fun and distracting, isn't where my basics are at.

I've missed being a word-smith. Time to bang some iron, baby.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2009 is the previous archive.

August 2009 is the next archive.

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