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This journal is friends-locked. [01 Jan 2020|01:01am]

Mostly, anyway. Non-personal stuff like fandom (and original?) essays will remain public. Everything else is friends-locked, and my f-list restricted to people I know.

And of course, all writing etc (i.e. fanfic) can be found over at my creative journal.

Does this mean I'll actually be updating from now on? ... Don't hold your breath.

Does anyone want to make me a prettier friends-only banner? I... have no clue how to handle GIMP, and a new computer (finally!) means no Photoshop.
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Faith in humanity = 0 [30 Jul 2011|04:37pm]
Fandom has spoiled me. That, and you know, hanging out with incredibly intelligent, well-rounded, empathic people. It’s easy to forget sometimes that there are absolute fuckwits in the world. This fact has just been brought home to me (and A) in a thoroughly unpleasant way. I can’t imagine what it’s like for A, being the one who’s actually having to deal with this cockroach. I’m just a bystander watching this train-wreck and I really want to introduce my fist to his face.

Cut for the rantings of an ill-informed everything-phobic bastard who ought to be sterilised for the good of humanityCollapse )
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[28 Jan 2011|06:31pm]
Is it bad that whenever I see "Soylent Green is people!" I immediately think of Sylkis Greens? And then I start wondering what effect Soylent Green would have on a Chocobo...

In other news, I'm learning all this fascinating historical information about the places we visited in India - three months after we got back. At least looking up names for my blog post [soon, soon!] is having some sort of educational impact on me...
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Fandom Thoughts: Other Languages [20 Jan 2011|10:22pm]
So. It’s been a (very long) while since I’ve posted anything here. soera’s seen plenty of action (thank you, Torchwood), but this one… not so much. I’ll eventually (probably) post something on my trip to India last November, but for now, I’ve been inspired to talk about a fannish thing.

I’ve been following a few fandom communities lately, and I kept coming across something that made me think. Multiple people complained about a particular trend in some fanfics – the use of Fangirl Japanese. The reason I began reading those posts were because I completely agree. Fangirl Japanese (also applicable to other languages) is an unfortunate syndrome of immature writers with more enthusiasm than skill. A mature reader is likely to catch a glimpse and hit the back button rather violently.

The posts I read touched on all the salient points of Fangirl Japanese – its redundancy, its lack of clarity, its frequent errors (Japanese grammar, spelling, meaning etc.) and so on. That’s why I kept reading. But people kept saying something I couldn’t help but disagree with. Paraphrased from multiple posts/comments:

If a word has an equivalent meaning in English, use the English word instead. Words like “hai,” “iie,” “onii-san,” and “onee-san,” all have English equivalents, so there’s no reason not to use them!

“Hai” and “iie” I’ll agree with you on. The other two, though…

Your culture is not my culture.Collapse )

…… TL;DR:

A) Sometimes it’s culturally (and/or situationally) appropriate to use another language.
B) You can use a non-English language to good effect in an English story, if you know what you’re doing.
C) Don’t judge too quickly.
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Torchwood [20 Apr 2010|04:42pm]
So I’ve been posting a Torchwood fanfic over on soera. It’s long, involved, and Ianto-centric with appearances from the rest of the team. On Part 12, which I posted last week, a couple of people commented on how Gwen Cooper rather annoyed them on the show. One person responded to say that she agrees with what those people said about the fic, but she still likes Gwen.

Character analysis; cut for length and probable irrelavance to majority of flist.Collapse )
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Why I love my professors Part 5 [20 Oct 2009|07:37pm]
It continues!

Clicky!Collapse )

And that's it! Just two profs, but lots from them. The other two lit profs are Not As Amusing, though they're pretty decent (I like Prof JC; she's sweet). As for Spanish - we're too busy learning vocab and grammar for her to crack too many jokes. Or for me to write them down, seeing as my brains are generally leaking out of my ears by the end of class. And the less said about my business module the better.

Decent grades so far, though. Let's hope that keeps up. =D
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Torchwood: Children of Earth [11 Jul 2009|12:20pm]
Seeing as I doubt the majority of my flist knows this fandom [or that I adore(d?) it], and also because, well, spoilers for anyone who might be wanting to watch this [why?], this all goes under a cut.

CoE was not Torchwood. Also, a little treatise on Ianto Jones.Collapse )

ETA: I want to write happy!fic now, so here's a request to any fellow Torchwood fans - give me prompts, requests, scenes, ideas, mobiles, landlines, tin cans with bits of string - oops, sorry, wrong list. Even a word or feeling, something, anything. Can't promise I'll write around all of them, but I'll sure as hell try to come up with something to salve my bruised heart.

ETA(2): 2nd March 2010 - It's been quite a while since CoE, but time hasn't made me any more fond of it. In fact, I think I have to retract some of what I've said in this little essay. The more I think about it, the more problems I have with Days 1-3. In theory, the removal of the support infrastructure makes sense. But how they did it doesn't quite gel.
The SUV is trackable.
Bridget is awfully trusting of first-day!temp!Lois.
When Jack regenerates, his wounds heal and his body resets and gets rid of foreign matter [otherwise, I want to know how it deals with bullets], including, presumably, the bomb.
Your body does not have large, convenient cavities in it for you to hide a bomb of that size. It would be visible and certainly felt.
In KKBB, a bomb [no apparent alien oddities other than the DNA tracker] being tossed through the Rift caused time to revert a day, but in CoE, a bomb with a radius of a mile ripping through the Rift monitor and the Rift itself has no apparent impact on the city.
Secret agent snipers suck.
You blow up a person and place, you won't be able to find all the little pieces of Jack amongst all that rubble.
There would be bits of other people, not just Jack there. Torchwood has a morgue. And a few alien pets.
Concrete doesn't harden that quickly.
A solid concrete block that size weighs a lot. The forklift would not be able to manage it.
A mysteriously strong forklift lifting a solid concrete block that size moves very slowly. You could catch up to it at a saunter.
Conveniently-placed tankers do not, repeat, do not blow up when shot with a gun. Ask Mythbusters.
I know the signs say not to walk on the grass, but really, in some situations, it's all right, secret agent people. Go around the fire. Oh wait, that would require brains. And a script that makes sense.
Everyone is awfully trusting of first-day!temp!Lois. By this I mean everyone in the government, not Torchwood, which is pretty much screwed at this stage anyway.
Etcetera. These were what jumped out at me. For a full list, I'd suggest looking here. I giggled quite a bit while reading.
I also no longer buy Ianto's nervousness about his and Jack's couple-dom. Rewatching Season 2's made me think that he was a lot more confident about it then. Why the regression? I can understand it if he's nervous about being public with the relationship - he's a private person. I can understand him calling Jack on his bullshit. I don't understand him turning into some simpering, whining idiot.
Blah. Kind of a long edit, I know. CoE just makes less and less sense the more I think about it.
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[12 May 2009|11:34am]
I renounce India.

I really, honestly and truly do. I renounce everything about it. Indian clothes [who needs 'em], Indian culture [bah humbug], Indian food [- okay, wait, that's going a bit too far] and especially Indian bureaucracy.

Indian bureaucracy, if you were wondering, does include the local High Commission of India.

In the first place, I have to wonder at the efficiency of any organisation that believes it expedient to outsource passport services to multiple other branches, visa services to yet more, and then completely stop offering said services at its main office. Surely it would be more logical to downsize rather than completely eliminate these services at what is, after all, supposed to be a one-stop service centre for all Indian citizens? India, India, India. Mr Spock disapproves.

Poor wayward souls seeking knowledge, wisdom, and a renewed visa. They are summarily turned away at the gate and told to go to one of a number of other places.

Knowing of the peculiar tendency of the High Commission of India to send you to various parts of the country depending on what you want done [what if you have multiple things to do? The horror!], I checked the website to see what I would have to do to get my Indian citizenship cancelled. The site design appears to be targeted at that small population of people who delight in trawling through rot looking for the Truth. Or easter eggs. Or a link to a page that will explain what on earth I'm supposed to do.

I found the link [eventually]. Tell me what to bring and where to go, I beseeched it. Hearing my plea, it proceeded to utterly baffle me.

The webpage in question failed to specify where I should go to cancel my citizenship. However, the gist of what I gathered from it was: (1) Passport+visa services = outsourced branches i.e. Mustafa, and (2) Citizenship services = main office.

If you were attempting to cancel your Indian citizenship, where would you go?

After an hour's wait at the High Commission, I was informed that well, actually, you're supposed to go to Mustafa Centre. Here's a pamphlet if you don't know where it is.

Dad, fortunately, was playing chauffeur. If I'd been alone, I'd have given up. That or strangled the person at the gate. Or, come to think of it, the webadmin.

When we did get to the Mustafa branch, there was no wait and we were able to complete everything in five minutes. After. All. That.

To top things off, I discovered that where the website assures me I'll only have to pay $20, the actual cost was $29. And the bloke didn't have change, so dad had to take back his fifty and go digging for the exact amount.

Excellent service, High Commission of India. I've never been more glad to be rid of you at last.

[The sheer absurdity of the form I had to fill out is another matter altogether, one which I refuse to get into because we'll be here all day if I do. But honestly, Hight Commission of India - can't even spell your own name?]
3 sins| sin with me?

Why I love my professors Part 4 [28 Jan 2009|07:01pm]
[ mood | relaxed ]

Why yes, it continues! I've had a grand total of two classes now with Prof B - who has been with the division for a couple of semesters now, but this is the first time I've had a class with him - and already he's given me enough material for a decent post. Thank god for that, for film is Not An Area of Interest for me, but at least he's fascinatingly weird. In a good way.
More QuotesCollapse )

On a ever so slight tangent - Gender and Sexuality Studies is proving to be quite fascinating, thanks largely in part to Prof B who somehow makes the films tolerable. I can't quite decide if Some Like It Hot was the worst-spent two hours and two minutes of my life, or if it was really quite hilarious and I'm just being mean cos I was in a rush that day. This Friday, I shall attempt to get through All That Heaven Allows - we'll see how that goes.

Also, Irish Lit is everything I suspected it would be. *clutches The Poor Mouth and The Sea in delirious happiness*

And apparently I missed quite the vigorous classroom debate last Friday when I missed Ethnic American Lit (damn you, flu!). Apparently W.E.B. Du Bois inspires vicious racial fights amongst my classmates. How fascinating.

Astronomy = ♥ (even if I can barely understand the Prof's accent - which is Not Good, but then the material makes up for it~)

Playwriting = , which makes me sad.


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Why I love my professors Part 3 [29 Aug 2008|04:49pm]
My HZ202 homework for next week? Find a passage/scene from a story that you like and re-write/re-interpret it in another fashion.

He wants us to write fanfic. Oh Prof S. ♥

Quotable QuotesCollapse )

I don't know why so many of my peers think that Prof D's boring. I think he's hilarious. Also, European Literature is proving to be absolutely fascinating. Everyone should go read Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita now.

In other news: 21,120 words is not a one-shot. I don't know what it is, but it's too long to have been finished in six days. Two Masters' theses, as my sister points out. Bloody Ryoma's taken over my brain again.
1 sin| sin with me?

Music [20 Jul 2008|01:46pm]
Books are wonderful, as I'm sure I've established with my last post. I therefore thought I'd move on to the other thing that keeps me sane(ish). I can hear you asking yourself what that could possibly be. Self, you're saying, what manner of thing/being/creation could Amsdia enjoy almost as much as books? The answer, obviously, is music.
Shalalala~Collapse )

P.S.: With utmost gratitude to mum for helping me with the Malayalam!
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Reading [19 Jul 2008|10:45pm]
If it wasn't already obvious, this journal will henceforth contain my musings on things (mostly) unrelated to me. By this I mean that nothing very personal will be written here except perhaps on rare occasions. I also mean that there will be long rambles on topics that may or may not interest you. Feel free to take me off your f-lists if I'm cluttering them up. =D

"Good literature is literature that surprises you." One of my professors said that during a class we had last semester on the topic of Postmodernism. It's a sentiment I have to agree with, though my definition of "surprise" is probably a little wider than his. But before we get into that, let's back-track a little.

Books, glorious books!Collapse )
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[17 Jul 2008|11:24pm]
With all my closest friends in different universities (and different countries), vacations aren't just about relaxing. Truth be told, I do plenty of relaxing during term. No, vacations are more about having the time to catch up with what's been going on in said friends' lives.

Because I'm voyeuristic that way, of course.

Having no life of my own, I live vicariously through these friends. For instance, one came back from India recently with tales of the neighbours from hell. Music blasting at all hours and at such volumes that she could hear every word in her room six doors down.

Which is almost the name of a band (subtract three!), but that's besides the point. This friend also always has amusing anecdotes about classes and the tricks she uses to remember various things ("I've assigned each bone to a dog... so something like the femur goes to a big dog, like a Rottweiler. And the metacarpals and phalanges for chihuahuas. And no one gets the scapula because it's pretty and All Mine MUAHAHAH!"). If nothing else, she's good for a laugh. The dramas she explains rather bring to mind a soap opera, but somehow having it be a real-life thing makes it amusing rather than pathetic.

My friends tell me I have a tendency to laugh at people.

Another friend, C., is back in Singapore on vacation at the moment. Harp and I met up with her tonight for dinner and a little of that "catching up" thing I mentioned earlier. C.'s studying in Oxford; nice exotic location and plenty of fodder for voyeurism.

She didn't disappoint, though the conversation eventually turned to affairs closer to home. We spoke about the state of the ministry, the civil service, and scholarship students here; about music and books and movies and what makes them good; about cultural differences and how drunk people in Britain differ from drunk people in Singapore; about job opportunities and missed opportunities. I adore having intellectual conversations. It's a sadly neglected art these days.

After an eminently satisfying dinner at an Indian restaurant ("The mark of good food is when a previously noisy table suddenly falls completely silent upon sampling."), we heaved ourselves up and trotted over to Timbre, a little outdoor bar. I'd never been there before, obviously, but I was sold once I heard the words "live band."

"Table for three?" asked the waitress cheerfully.

"Yep, thanks," Harp replied.

"Smoking or non-smoking?"

"Non, please."

"Right this way!"

All well and good. She led us to our table and almost immediately I started Noticing Things.

1) The table was high. So was the chair. What is the point of tables and chairs like these? Why must bars insist on having too-high tables and chairs, which force our feet off the ground? It's not exactly a conducive atmosphere for having a drink when you feel like you're seven again and your feet don't touch the floor no matter how far you stretch.

2) Our table was next to a countertop with chairs set along it on the other side from us. The countertop obviously split two areas of the same bar. On this countertop sat three ashtrays. I distinctly remembered that we'd asked for a non-smoking area. It then dawned on me that

3) We were in the non-smoking area, all right. It's just that the smoking area was right next to us and there was no barrier or actual division, beyond that countertop. On top of that, the wind was blowing towards us and I was getting a few nice lungfuls of smoke. Needless to say, we asked to be moved to another table, but their non-smoking area was pathetically small and I ended up holding my breath every time smoke wafted over.

4) "The atmosphere's beautiful," said C. I looked around. There were strings of lights hanging from the beams overhead. I was forcibly reminded of a Christmas tree, which naturally made me imagine myself (and all the other patrons) as Christmas ornaments. I successfully resisted the urge to make this observation. Oddly enough, the atmosphere really is beautiful... when viewed from the other side of the River. Distance always makes things more palatable. I'm being mean again though; it actually was quite a nice place.

5) Alcoholic drinks come in a very wide variety. Now, I always knew this in an abstract sort of way, but it's amazing the sheer variety of combinations they come up with. All manner of juices and creams and colas blended with all manner of alcohol. Something for everyone!

I had water.
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Googa! [13 Jul 2008|11:22am]
I've always said that I'd never have children. The idea of being responsible for a life absolutely terrifies me. I haven't changed my stance on that (too bad for mum) but G seems determined to prove to me that babies aren't an alien species - they just act like it sometimes.

He's technically my first cousin once removed (thanks, chechi) but for my purposes, "nephew" works just fine. He's about six months old now and therefore past the snooze-for-twenty-hours-and-wail-for-four stage. Now he sleeps for sixteen, laughs at you for four, and wails for four. And I do mean "laughs at."

Mum turns into a strange creature whenever confronted by a baby. Inexplicably, she starts cooing at the infant in fractured sentences and attempting to eat them. Babies - or G, at least - seem to like being eaten. I theorise that this is because they're constantly trying to eat their own hands and feet. It's hard reaching places like their tummies, so they're happy when someone volunteers to help. That or it's just ticklish, because they almost always end up squealing.

As a side-note: squealing can be just as deafening as wailing.

Mum has also taken to unceremoniously plopping G in my arms and going off to talk to the Proud Parents, leaving me petrified and holding a cooing Bundle of Joy. I always feel like I'm about to drop him. I generally last about half a minute before begging someone to take him off my hands:

"Amma! Take him! He's going to cry!"

Babies can smell fear.

The wonderful thing about nephews (and nieces, and any baby that isn't yours) is that you can give them back when they need changing or start crying. It's oddly fun giving G his bottle, though I leave the burping (throwing up) to others.

G's recently been working on his caterpillar impression. He rolls over on his tummy, wiggles his butt in the air a bit, then works his knees under him and kicks off as best he can, head firmly squashed into the mattress. Generally, he moves about a quarter of an inch with each kick, but that doesn't stop him. Soon, he will be crawling and getting into absolutely everything. Good luck to the Parents.

I discovered that G's fascinated by water bottles. There I was, innocently drinking some water, when I felt a pair of eyes on me. I look up and there's G, in my mum's arms, very intently studying me.

I lowered the bottle. His eyes tracked me.

I shook the bottle slightly. Cue baby-grin.

Shake-shake-slosh-slosh. Cue maniacal laughter.

Maybe there's something in the water.

Babies look at the world in strange ways. We might be better people if we could all see the world like babies do. I decided to conduct a little experiment and speak to G in baby-talk, to see if I gained any enlightenment. By baby-talk, I don't mean "Oooh aren't you just pwecious you widdle cutie-pie!" This is what I mean:

G: Googa! *gurglegurgle* Ga!
Me: Googa! *gurglegurgle* Ga!
G: ...... *baby-laugh*

I believe he was mocking my pronunciation. But G's coming over for a visit today - I'll keep working on it.
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Why I love my professors Part 2 [05 Mar 2008|05:10pm]
[ mood | busy ]

subtitled: Quotable Quotes

What, series? No, of course not!Collapse )

Also, I got back an A on my first assignment, so I'm somewhat happy. Will I be slapped by my various friends if I say I'm really hoping I get A+s on my other assignments instead of As? See, that way I can afford to get a maximum of A- on my exams, and it averages out to an A, which means perfect GPA, right? And I always screw up my exams, so my assignments had better damn well be good.

Still freaking out about Postmodernism assignment... and I passed it up two days ago. Ugh.

Just remembered today that I had a Science and Literature assignment due tomorrow. Skipped Bio to finish it. Taking a break from that to upload this. *sighs* Back to spazzing over it, I suppose. And then to read Banville. And that essay on Banville. And that Foucault paper. All for tomorrow. Whee.

3 sins| sin with me?

[16 Feb 2008|09:53pm]
Gonna be cleaning up the flist. Comment on this post if you want to be retained. There're a lot of people on my flist now that I don't really talk to, and there's no point cluttering up my flist or theirs, is there?

Culling starts next week. <3

*sends virtual hugs to anitia* Whenever you get your internet up and see this - love you lots and I know you can do it. Hang in there. ♥
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Why I love my professors Part 1 [15 Feb 2008|10:55pm]
[ mood | amused ]

[The title does not imply that this is a series, no. It also does not imply that it won't be a series.]

Me: *walks through staff office corridor [looking for Prof J, who is not in. sadness.]. passes by open door, through which one Prof Y is visible. does double take, because last she checked, Prof Y's office was near the other end of the corridor. backtracks* What are you doing here?!

Prof Y: *looks up from computer* Oh, hey! They moved me here this sem, didn't you know?

Me: ... Obviously not.

Then we start talking about... stuff. I don't quite recall what. Eventually...

Prof Y: So have you read Faulkner yet?

Me: Eh, not yet. I'm planning on watching some cartoons after lunch, and then I'll get to work on Faulkner.

Prof Y: ... Cartoons? Comics and cartoons? [insert my name here], you really shouldn't admit things like that to your professors, you know?

Me: *thinks of Prof M's book-eating. decides not to mention* Why, what's wrong with comics and cartoons? *vastly amused at how tragic Prof Y manages to look*

Prof Y: B-but - you always seem so professional and well-prepared...

Me: *wonders what part of her seems remotely professional* Yeah, because I am. So long as I read the texts for class, it doesn't matter what else I read, right? I mean, it keeps me sane. Gratuitous, mindless violence makes me feel better sometimes. Too much heavy stuff at a go isn't good for me!

Prof Y: Yeah, guess you have a point there. I de-stress by playing on my Playstation, actually. Shoot things and stuff.

Me: *wonders what leg he has to stand on when protesting my comic habit* Hah. I beat people up on my PS2.

Prof Y: I play Guitar Hero with the other professors every Saturday or something. Prof J's really good at it. He cuts a mean axe.

Me: *mental image of Prof J playing Guitar Hero* ...... I really want to see that.

Prof Y: *cracks up*

4 sins| sin with me?

"Mother Tongue" [16 Apr 2007|12:21pm]
[ mood | contemplative ]

There was a letter in the Forum page today - someone wrote in saying that language learning should be slowed down; working through two languages so quickly just kills interest in learning it. Couldn't help but feel she had a point - and then I read the part where she goes "my daughter takes Hindi as her 'mother tongue' because her real mother tongue, Malayalam, is not available in Singapore..."

Insert a vehement agreement from me here, yeah?

So I speak Malayalam at home [sometimes] and English and on top of that I'm forced to learn Tamil. The kindergarten I went to only offered Chinese as a second language, but it was compulsory to take a second language... so for a couple of years, I learned Chinese. I sucked at it. About the only thing I remember is how to count to ten.

Then I went to Primary One and suddenly I had to take Tamil, and I didn't know the first thing about it. Other kids were just practising their handwriting when they wrote, but I didn't even know the letters. Amma gave me a crash course, of course, but her Tamil was picked up through necessity - when she lived in Madras after marrying Accha - so her Tamil wasn't brilliant. And I mean, we still spoke Malayalam at home, not Tamil. There wasn't any reason to speak Tamil.

There is no reason for a teacher to laugh at a student who has never spoken Tamil before, and does not know what "kuzhanthai" means.

I'm all for what that person suggested in that letter - teaching a language as if the student has no prior knowledge of that language. I think a lot of teachers fall into that trap when it comes to "mother tongue." It's like - you're taking this language, so it has to be your mother tongue so you have to speak it at home so you have to have some knowledge - and if you don't, too bad, you don't deserve to be here.

I didn't much like Tamil in Primary One. It was only after I transferred to Jurong Primary in Primary Two, and I got Mrs Hassan, that I actually started liking the language. And I mean - from not liking it to getting Best in Tamil in Primary Two... it's amazing what difference a teacher can make when they bother to find out how much you know/don't know, and then sit down and teach you all the basics you don't know. In Primary One, I was more or less left to flounder and figure things out myself. In Primary Two, Mrs Hassan took all that trouble away by actually teaching the language. I don't think I'd have been able to take Higher Tamil if I'd been under the oh-so-loving care of my Primary One teacher.

Then I went to secondary school and it all went downhill from there - but never mind that. -.-

Point is - if you're going to insist on all children learning two languages - shouldn't you make some effort to make sure that the language is actually taught? Too many people assume that the students already have a foundation in that language. But not everyone does, and those students are the ones that suffer.


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[23 Oct 2005|09:18pm]
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Doesn't cost a thing! Be nice and click. Please?

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