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 Day in the Life

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soothsayer
Journeyman
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Posts : 1417
Join date : 2011-06-30
Age : 45
Location : Right here.

20121207
PostDay in the Life

I am restructuring my little corner of things, combining everything into one thread. Seems rather silly to me to create a new thread whenever I get a new thought. And, by placing everything within one title, why, not only is it good to manage, but it's also good for the environment!

So then, this here post is the opener. Everything that follows is what came before. Until something new comes along, then that will follow that which came before which had followed this.

If anyone is wishing to make a comment or reply on an earlier post, please make reference of which post that is. Unlike other blogs, I don't think this one is capable of have further posts on something that has already come and gone, ever branching.


Last edited by soothsayer on Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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Day in the Life :: Comments

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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:07 am by soothsayer
CHECK THIS

Since when has writing out checks become a bad thing? Remember a few years ago a series of commercials where everyone was moving and dancing about, birds were chirping, cashier was scanning things / swiping cards, and then a person starts to write a check? Music grinds to a stop, cashier looks disgusted, and everybody at the store just stares impatiently?

Lately, it seems more and more stores are declining to take checks. Let's take the latest example I've experienced: Gamestop.

Went there this past weekend, "buy two used get one used free" coupon in one hand and the membership card in another. While waiting in line, I started to write out a check (rather hard since each hand was already holding something, let me tell you). One of the store clerks noticed this and said "Oh, we don't take checks anymore."

"Really?" I replied. "Since when?"

"We stopped taking checks January 1st." He then took the games I was holding and proceeded to take the games out of the drawer.

I just stared at the guy, then told him that he might as well stop and put the games back, since I wasn't going to buy them anymore.

And... the... store... just... stopped. Seriously. Both clerks stopped and starred, the manager stopped working on his computer and starred. Fellow patrons stopped moving and looked my way.

The manager did say that they take debit cards, to which I replied that's fine, especially for those that have them, but I don't.

"What about credit card?" I replied why should I be charged extra for using a credit card when I have a check?

"And, " I continued, "how can you take a debit card but not checks? The money comes out of the same place."

The manager then proceeded to explain that they've accepted bad checks before, and so now they won't take any. I laughed and told him that that's understandable, but that I know several gas stations and stores, including Wal*Mart, that scan the check in and it is automatically deducted or rejected.

"We don't have that machine."

"But you have the machine to scan a debit card."

Keep in mind I had enough cash on me for this purchase, but that wasn't the point. It was just so freakin' aggravating, I could have strangled the guy... and for them to try to continue making a sale after I told them no? I doubt they get paid on commission, because if they did, they'd have taking the check!

Oh well.
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:43 pm by Shadowcrunch
If you're not going to use your coupon, just based on your principles, I'll give you $5 for it! Do YOU take checks?
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:33 pm by soothsayer
I do, but no thanks. Went back and used the coupon already... Rage, Bulletstorm, and Portal 2 have now been added to the collection.

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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:47 am by soothsayer
Just popping this photo on here so it can be referenced by another site. Don't mind me none Smile

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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:16 pm by soothsayer
Dream a Little Dream
Entry Two

I am certain that this cannot be an original story idea. It's too... too... too cool not to be.

And, as with the first entry, this was from a dream.

Man, driving along some old deserted road. Nothing particular about the road or drive, just a man out and about. The scenery is... grassland? Prairie? Low lying gentle hills, fields of grain, few trees here and there, some shrub. Radio's playing, but no song in particular. A map, or just a bunch of papers on the passenger seat.

The man's driving along, sees an old cabin / dilapidated farmhouse, sun setting behind it (sunset's glow seen through the windows). The man smiles, shuffles around the papers, revealing a camera. Man pulls off the road, cutting across the field (camera pans out, revealing he's driving a Cherokee or Land Rover).

He comes up to the house, exits car. Takes pictures of the exterior, tests the steps, and climbs the porch. Checks the door, opens it, and enters.

The man shuffles around the front room, noticing the place is barren. Maybe a floor rug here or there, some dust, but other than that, the place is empty. He wanders from room to room, taking pictures, but as he goes deeper into the house, he begins to hear an odd tick tick... tick tick tick tick... tick tick tick tick... noise. Finds a door that, when opened, leads into the basement, where the ticking noises are coming from. There also seems to be a light coming from somewhere down there.

The man turns to leave, but he can't. He exits the room, only to walk back into the same room from an opposite door. Looking through the windows reveals nothing. Only place to go is down...

The man creeps down stairs... tick tick tick... tick tick tick tick... ching... tick tick tick

Turning on the landing, the man sees a single room, a working light bulb, bare, hanging from the ceiling. An old man is hunched over an old typewriter. He removes a page from the device places it on a stack of papers on his right, and quickly inserts a fresh paper from the pile on his left. The old man begins to type again, his eyes bloodshot, his fingernails worn away.

The man with the camera enters the room. " 'Bout time you showed up," the old man says, never pausing in his typing. Takes out old sheet, puts in new. The camera man begins to say something when the older cuts him off, saying "All your answers are right over there" he shrugs his shoulders in the direction of the papers. "Or your questions. Take your pick."

The camera man, hesitant, reaches for the stack of papers, and begins to read. He reads in detail about him driving down the road, the things he sees, the song on the radio... him entering the house.

"What the hell is this?" he asks, as the old man replaces another sheet of paper. On the paper it describes the old man having typed out the answer and giving it to the camera guy, describes how the world, how nothing but me exists. The world, the people, the universe... nothing exists except for me and what I think, only my thoughts are real because I know they are mine.

Or, to be more exact, only the typewriter is real, and what the person writes with it.

There's a pattern to the world, different personalities shaping its reality. Sometimes you'll have a kind hearted person at the typewriter, and the world would be in a Golden Age; sometimes, a sadist will be in charge and the world would be at war. Not that it matters, because none of it is real, only what the writer creates.

"I'm growing too old, dying," the writer speaks at last as he continues typing. "I'm starting to make a mess of things, and I need to stop. Things are happening in my story that shouldn't, they don't make sense any more, there isn't any thought or reason to it anymore. I need to live again, apart from this typewriter."

The camera man laughs at him. "What do you mean this isn't real? I'm not real? I AM real, and I can prove it!" He begins to describe his childhood, some event that had happened with his friends. The man pauses long enough to shuffle through some papers, faded and yellowed, and gives it to the camera man. On it is what he described.

"I need to get away from here," the old man continues. "The world needs a fresh start, a better mind to write it. The world needs a character to live and experience and grow, so that that person can come here and write their story of how things should be."

"What are you saying? I'm not real, remember?"

"You are real. I wrote you to be real. You see the world differently, through a camera's lens; you see what is beautiful, and that's what the world needs right now."

"You're crazy! You expect me to believe that you made me come here? That I'm just going to type the rest of my life?"

The camera man heads to the stairs.

"Wait! You can't leave!"

Camera man bounds up the stairs.

"You can't leave!"

Camera man is surprised to see the front door of the house and leaves. He gets in his car, drives away.

The sun has set, its last light sparks, then fades as night overcomes the sky. Except there are no stars to be seen. The man watches as the moon begins to fade as well. He chalks it up to clouds, although the sky is clear.

Man drives some more, and he notices that the lights of his car no longer reveal the sides of the road. In fact, it seems that the light beam themselves are becoming fainter. Thoughts of the old man's story come back to mind... he whips the car around, floors the accelerator, racing back to the farm house. He finds his old tracks, drives in without slowing, failing to see the road behind him has disappeared.

He drives up to the farm house, now transparent. He reaches for the door, his hand goes through. Panic is definitely setting in, he races around, the world around him fading...

He jumps for his car, tugs at the glove box. Fumbling, he finally gets it open, presses (jabs) the yellow button inside. The trunk pops open, the man runs around, lifts the trunk further up. Inside the trunk is his laptop...
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Fri May 10, 2013 11:31 am by soothsayer
Northern Lights Paranormal Research Society

Alright, last time I'm posting something about this. I figure between my mentioning it in different posts, my sending invites via email, and even talking about this over the phone that the point has been made; I just want to add this one thing this last time because NLPRS is actually getting some attention, and I wanted to ask my friends one last time if they wanted in on this before I look to outside help.

I understand our work schedules are conflicting, and at times our spouse's schedules may conflict even with that, and as such mutual time off from work or home is a hard thing to come by. So if it's a matter of time, I understand.

I also understand if one were to believe that this would be a waste of time. Just because it is an interest of mine does not mean it has to be an interest of yours.

But, like I hinted at above, and now actually making claim, there are some potential ghostly investigations coming up, as well as a few areas within the county which would make great proving grounds. I've also been doing some research and have been finding a lot of potential cryptid sightings, where we could exercise hands-on investigative skills.

I can do these things on my own, this isn't that big of a deal. Just wanting to see if anyone here would be willing or wanting to assist with things should the time ever arise.

Anyway, as I said, this is the last time I make mention of it.

http://nlprs.forumotion.com/forum
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:56 pm by soothsayer
Guess what? It seems I cannot let this just sit. I have to say this, especially since we're all friends, and that this seems to be the best way to communicate things. I know I wasn't going to mention anything, but things have just gotten to the point where I have to.

NLPRS is going mainstream.

Not only has an article I've written been picked up by a paranormal magazine, due to be published this month, but an online radio show is going to be interviewing me this coming Friday (to be broadcast at a later date)!

It's funny how, for all of these years, I have kept my interests known only to a few. But now? Now that I've taken my interests and made them public? Re-read this post again... I guess there is something to be said about going with and doing what you know.

Cool 
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:38 pm by soothsayer
Humor

Entry Two

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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:53 am by soothsayer
Dream a Little Dream
Entry Three

Dreamt this last night (on a side note, why is Google telling me 'dreamt' is spelt wrong?  Why the hell is 'spelt' wrong?!).  Dreamt / dreamed this throughout the entire night, and already some bits and pieces are fading, so I hope I can get the majority of it.

Earth, abandoned.  The cities are ruined, and all that remains is wasteland or savanna-type environments.  There are no dead bodies anywhere, so the time of ruination is unknown.

Camera pans out to Earth's atmosphere / stratosphere / space.  Orbiting the planet is a cone / bullet shaped device.  LARGE.  Spaceship material here.  Unlike a bullet, the tip is not centered...  the tip is about 1/3 from the bottom.  The back is flat, no engine flare or energy signature.  White lights?  reflections?  can be seen on the side facing Earth.  We watch it as it speeds past, orbiting the world.  It returns a couple minutes later from the opposite directions, circling.

from the narration and impression I got from the dream, this ship is a surveillance ship, placed in orbit to observe the world, to see if humanity returns / if the world stabilizes for humanity's return.  There are entities on the ship, but I cannot say if they are human or alien.  Cannot say if there are refugees on the planet or not at this moment of the dream.

***

Back in Earth's atmosphere.  We see a floating city on the horizon, but it really isn't a city.  Grey / silver in color, the base is round and flat.  Instead of city buildings, the top has towers and cones or various sizes (height), but the tallest ones are at the center while the further you go out the shorter they become.  This isn't pyramidal in design, more of a gentle curve; picture an upside down bowl, but the curve is blocky, with gaps between structures.  There is no good indication as to how large this is, but it is huge.

In the next "scene" we are inside one of the structures on the floating city.  Everything is dark,  but it isn't pitch black, just darkened.  There's a woman crouching behind something, sees a shadowed figure wave to her from the distance, and she quickly / quietly runs up past the figure behind something else.  She see a raised platform, looks in all directions, and signals to the shadowed figure (who in turn moves up).  He reaches the platform, signals, and she then goes to the platform as well.  Both people, clearly human, are dressed in similar fashion...  earth tone clothes, torn in places.  Both people are clean and the man is shaven.

The raised platform is about 20 feet in diameter, books and electronic devices arranged in a "bullseye" type pattern.  You begin to notice that the room in which they are located is full of books.  The woman walks through one of the rings, running her hand along the spine of some books, leaving streaks in the dust that covers everything; the male is heading towards the platform's center.  The woman stops, hearing something.  She turns and sees an automaton,  not coming to her, but roaming about the entire room.  You can begin to see various points of movement throughout.  It resembles a smooth skinned reptile / human.  The 'arms' are not jointed, but rather are an attached part of the body.  The entire robot looks like a child's top (or an ice cream cone), tapered to a point at the bottom; the point is roughly a foot above the floor.  The rounded top is just that, smoothly rounded, with the head flowing from the center / the jaw structure flowing down from the top.  There are no individual moving parts; this is a one piece construct.  there is also dust on this robot.

The man mumbles something about that being the librarian or caretaker.  When he enters the center of the platform, we can see a pole with a hand sized button on it.  He presses the button, lights come on, and the closest drone races to the platform's center.  The woman looks around, shocked, while the man stands there waiting for the robot's approach.

When the robot arrives, it asks the man what type of material he is looking for.  The man replies that he is looking for earth based sciences.  The rings of books lower into the platform; there's some mechanical noises, and new rings of books emerge.  The man wanders through the selection, scanning titles, the robot following behind.  You can hear the woman saying that this is too general a display, that they need something more specific.  The man utters some key search words, to which the robot asks an inquiry as to the nature of the search.  The man raises his voice / his tone changes, and asks for the new selection again.

The robot begins to visually change.  It commences a bio scan and, upon "seeing" the humans, begins to change its shape.  The arms separate from the body, the head lifts off of the body as well.  On both sides of the head, metal plates begin to emerge and drop along the sides, shaping what appears to be an Egyptian style head dress.  The reptile shaped face remains.  While the robot is changing, you can hear it (and the others in the room) saying "The Age of Humanity has passed.  The Age of Humanity has passed" repeatedly.  The man quickly grabs a few books as the woman screams "You've woken them!  We have to get out of here!"

The man and woman begin to flee out of the room, the 'camera' following their movements (but not zooming in on them).  The camera then pans back to the original robot, which is now standing on legs and looks very much like a human sized (although slender) cross between a Gray and a Reptilian alien, wearing Egyptian head dress.  It is still a gray color throughout, no other colors apparent; it is still a mechanical device.  It turns its head, keeping track of the escaping humans.

***

The same two humans from the floating city are now wandering through a savanna, a child with them, cowls over their heads and protecting their faces as the wind picks up, blowing sand and dust over them.  Dark clouds form at the horizon, pink lightning moving from cloud to cloud.  The couple spots a fallen tree in the distance and head for it, hoping to escape the coming storm.  The impression in the dream is that this is not a normal / natural storm.  The conversation the two are having, plus the storm itself, leads me to believe that it is the result of the floating city, or of alien influence.  The two know they have been hunted, but by the nature of the storm it is uncertain if the storm is doing the hunting, as the storm just sweeps through the lands creating devastation; think of carpet bombing an area: don't know where specifically your target is, so you lay waste to the entire area.

The trio get to the tree, it's trunks easily twice as wide as the man is tall.  Both adults furiously dig away at the sand and loose soil under the trunk near the roots (the roots forming a natural wall, the trunk the ceiling), the child holding a satchel close to his chest.  They come into a gap under the trunk, and begin to expand the hollow, creating an area they can both hide in.  The push and shove the sand and dirt back up, hiding their entrance, all the while listening to the deafening lightning strikes.  There is just enough room for them to sit up while hunched over, or the three of them to lie down in fetal position, side-by-side.

The man is angry, the child whimpers with each strike, and the woman has taken charge, ordering that more soil be pushed to the "walls", snapping back at the man for bringing them to this.  The man says something back, to which she responds that it'd be far better to face the storm outside.

The sound of lightning drifts away, all three humans beginning to sleep.

let it be said that there was a thunderstorm by our place last night, so that piece of the dream was probably influenced by it... especially since it really doesn't match the rest of the story.

***

Back on the floating city.  A militant group, dressed in military armor and gear, rush through a particular structure.  They continue to head down, down, down, though doors and more ramps.  Someone asks if they're going in the right direction, to which another says "shut up".  They get to a point where there is a large door; opening it, they step inside what appears to be a garage / museum of some sort.  There are vehicles all over the place, some looking as if they've been tossed or dropped inside as they are on their side / top.  No vehicle is damaged.  The group check some vehicles and note that they might still be functional, and that they appear to be human craft.  Some of the group begin to secure the area while others find a lift and head to the 'library'.

The group discover the transformed caretaker, the two adult humans from before standing on either side of it.  These two are clearly older: both are grey / greying and more wrinkled.  Their state of dress is... royal?  Still in earth tones, but now wearing robes.  The leader of the militant group removes his helmet, revealing that he is the child from before.  The boy (now man) orders the two humans to step aside so that they can finish off the aliens, so that humanity can return.

The two adults tell the boy that the Age of Humanity is over, that too many years and generations have gone by, that even with the books and the devices kept within this museum, too much has been lost, that they will never be able to reclaim what was created, that the world would have to start all over again.

The boy exclaims that that is a lie, that all they have to do is get the orbiting craft to land and humanity can resume, and that the two adults have sided with the enemy.

it is here that I am starting to lose the dream.  In a nutshell, the floating city is a warehouse / museum of all of mankind's achievements.  It was built by an alien race to ensure that humanity would always be remembered.  The people on board the orbiting station are either long dead, or have been on for so many generations that the cosmic radiation has either killed them, or that they would not even be able to survive within a natural environment anymore.  The pink lightning was to stun any surviving humans, so they could be brought back to the city, so that they could live the rest of their lives in peace without worry or struggle.  Everything had been done so that what few remaining humans existed in the world, that they could have a place to grow old and die in peace, as the human breeding population was too small for a continued existence.


Last edited by soothsayer on Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:34 am by soothsayer
Playstation Woes

Bought Dues Ex: Human Revolution last week; found it at Goodwill, so I figured why not.  Bought it, went online to check the reviews, and found all was good and right with the world.  Fired it up this past Saturday, only to find out "the system needs 2800MB to install."

*sigh*  Okay, fine.  Exit the game, find a few files within the video tab I can remove (trailers and blue-ray info), and some game downloads that can be removed (have been installed, just removing the download information).  Go back to the game, installs just fine.  Do a systems check, find I now have about 15MB of free memory left.

15MB remaining?  On a 120-160GB device (exact amount eludes me at the moment)!?

And then I did something that changed my life...  I went into the saved game data tab.

Dear lord in heaven, what the hell is all this?  Downloads and add-ons and extras, all for games we don't own!  Save files and maps and data for games that the kids haven't played for in months, downloadable content for games the kids have only played once or twice!  I've been deleting my shit so they can play their stuff, when it turns out they've both been flooding the system with stuff they don't even use or play?!

Deleted stuff that hasn't been played in months, deleted stuff we don't own.  Guess how much free space a now have on the PS3.  Go on, guess.

127GB.  I went from 15MB of free space to 127GB.

...

I am so reinstalling Mass Effect.
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:45 pm by soothsayer
Resolutions

With the start of any new year, it's always been a custom to make some resolutions.  

Most, including myself, will make one promise to lose weight or to get into a shape that differs from the one they are in now.  Luckily for me, I've taken steps to this before the new year: I've quit smoking (since mid / late May); don't buy junk food from the vending machine at work any more (rarely eat junk food at home anyway), haven't had vending machine food since... since...  August, I believe; reduce or down-right quit drinking soda (went a month without, now find myself drinking no more than 20oz a week...  need to work on that).  I have more energy, can walk six flights of stairs before stopping (four flights up, walk back down, back up two), with a plan to gradually do more.

But, since this was already a work in progress, I really can't use this as a resolution.  Save money?  Already do that with my change from work or stores.  I could resolve to save more money, but again, that really isn't doing anything too different.  I guess I should look elsewhere.

My starting and continuing the NLPRS group taught me something: what the hell have I been doing sitting on my ass all these years, letting projects slide by?  With NLPRS, I went out and did something that followed within my interests, people's opinions be damned, and it worked.

So now, I am going to bring that experience in towards other things.  It may or may not work, or it may work for a short period of time, but an effort has to be made... right?  So, here and now, I make a resolution for 2014.

For better or worse, I shall attempt to not only make a drawing, but to publish / post it on the internet.  Not just a drawing, no no no, but several...  one a week.  Nothing is going to be done this week, simply because it's a short week.  I guess I could try, but don't count on it.  The only thing that would prevent this from actually happening on a weekly basis would be if things happen that are outside my control.

Let's see how long I can go, shall we?
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:32 am by VaderXanth
Thumbs Up 
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:13 pm by Shadowcrunch
@soothsayer wrote:
Resolutions
I went out and did something that followed within my interests, people's opinions be damned, and it worked.

Hmmm... a post about Soothsayer using his drawing skills? People's opinions be damned? Like, all the opinions that you should do something with your artistic skills? Opinions that have been repeated at you for how long? So... other peoples' opinions can suck it, even constructive ones?  Sad  That hurts brah... sniff sniff

Oh, and it's about time?  Razz Thumbs Up 
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:48 am by soothsayer
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:41 am by soothsayer
Dream a Little Dream
Entry Four

I've always loved stories, comics or movies, where the bad guy becomes the hero.  My favorite so far is a What If from a couple years back where Doctor Doom won the Secret War, used that power to steal / siphon the Silver Surfer's powers, then acquired the Infinity Gauntlet to ultimately defeat the Celestials as they tried to destroy the world (in between saving and ruling a now peaceful and prosperous world).  Hell, any Doom tale, pretty much... amazing how any "future" story he's the hero and savior of the world, but that's for something else.

In this next installment of Dream, I had dreamt one of those bad guy done good stories.  Could see it as a movie.

The dream itself didn't give many details, but it gave enough of a plot where I could flesh it out for anything.  The location was unknown, but it was a city, a major city at that.  Also, the time frame was unknown, but it wasn't a future event, it was either current or near past.  Anyway, the group that runs the city discovers that something bad is going to happen to "their city".  They don't want to go to the authorities because that'll weaken their control, so they take care of things themselves.  Unlike cop movies or good guy movies of the same vein, with this being about bad guys, they can gather information in any manner they so deem.  Imagine, trying to get the name of someone, and being able to torture or shoot or maim someone...  with this, the group is able to get a stronger grip on the city, AND they save it.

When I first woke from this concept, I immediately thought of an Al Capone setting.  Chicago mafia stuff.  At first I thought that the threat would be alien in nature, but that would just suck donkey balls.  Wouldn't be realistic.  So then, just suppose, the mafia discovers that German scientists (Nazis were in power at that time you know) infiltrate middle America and plan on releasing toxic gas within the city...  why, not only would that potentially kill the Chicago mafia, but it'd rob them of their profits!  Better find those Krauts...

Or, with more thinking, make it more modern.  Los Angeles, make the controlling group a gang... which one wears the blue bandannas?  Anyway, same premise, but this time they uncover a terrorist plot to detonate a nuclear device.

Not that I'm expecting a response or anything, but anyone hear of such a story before?
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:28 pm by soothsayer
RANT

Got rid of CenturyLink on April 9th, had Packerland Broadband installed on the 10th. Nothing worked internet-wise, with the exception of Steven's laptop... only when it was plugged into the modem.

Bought a wireless router on the 11th. It was a Netgear N600. Cost more than what I would have liked, but I figure it would have been worth it. Connected it, and everything was working spectacularly! It seems that Linux didn't recognize the cable modem, but the router was no problem... same with the Playstation. I tested the system by playing Netflix on Steven's laptop and my tablet wirelessly, while running Netflix on the Playstation and the XP powered computer in the basement and a Youtube movie on the Linux operated PC. I'm happy to report that there was no issues with lag or disconnections.

One thing I did note was that Packerland has us renting the cable modem for $5 a month, or we could buy the modem for $100. Went online, and found out that the very same model can be purchased for about $20. Guess what I'll be doing?

I have the 10M internet package, and it is doing just fine; figure I really don't need anything faster.
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:58 am by soothsayer
Rant, continued

I know, I didn't really post any rant with that last post.  It was close to quitting time Smile

My rant is with CenturyLink.  For years I have been having issues and problems with my internet service, and I would usually chalk things up to the age of the house and faulty wiring.  But, with the number of things I replaced, with the items I've replaced or had go bad... well... here, allow me to elaborate.

  • Replaced the phone jack three, maybe four times. *Under the suggestion of 'tech support'

  • Ran new wiring from the main phone jack to the computer's wall jack. *I was running out of options

  • Changed things a bit by connecting the modem directly to the main phone jack. *Another suggestion by 'tech support'

  • Ran a line from the exterior phone box directly to the computer's phone jack. *My doing, as CenturyLink was pissing me off royally

  • Replaced the modem / router / modem-router combo four times. *Bad connectivity issues, continued connectivity issues

  • Bought an ethernet-to-USB adapter to connect to the computer. *Computer can no longer see or find the ethernet connection, does not register


The last time I spoke to CenturyLink, the customer service agent / tech support person saw things from my perspective, noted how many times I called and reported an issue, and agreed with me that there was something seriously wrong here... and that the issue was probably with their equipment. She made a note of this on her call-in report, and said for me to call a service tech to come out so he could go over their lines to find where the problem was.

A couple days later I contacted CenturyLink via email (I was at work) and explained things, gave the last call's reference number, and a date in which they could come out to check their equipment (had to look over the wife's work schedule to find a good day). Want to know what they told me?

They said that the issue was probably with my stuff. They said to make sure I had a filter on all equipment hooked up to all the phone jacks (even though they know I am not paying for services like phone or satellite or fax... they have my damn bill); they then told me to run a new phone line; they also said for me to turn off my modem, use a new ethernet cable, and power the modem back up; if all of that failed to produce results, I was free to call their tech support for further suggestions.

That was the day I started looking into Packerland Broadband. I was looking at their internet packages, then going through various forums and websites to see what kind of speeds were optimal or best for Netflix and online gaming (whether through the Playstation or PC). I saw the numbers, saw what I actually needed, and went back to CenturyLink to compare with their prices... and found Packerland was a lot cheaper.

Now, keep in mind that what I am about to tell you was the result of the wife accepting what CenturyLink told her. She's the one who ordered our CenturyLink internet package, based on their recommendations... also, keep in mind that we didn't have Netflix at that time. Anyway, when she ordered the internet package, she had told CenturyLink that we had several computer devices and the Playstation, and that someone was always on doing something, and that she wanted something fast enough so we all could do things (in essence, I'm just paraphrasing). They suggested to her I don't know what, but what they said, and this is what Gail told me, was that they suggested one of the fastest speeds they have available for our area. They might have told her a number, but I couldn't say.

We've been paying about $55 a month (includes taxes and all that crap) and for the most part things would work just fine. Oh sure, Netflix would occasionally look as if it was recorded on an EP VHS tape, or shadows would appear blocky or fuzzy, or would look as if we were watching some cheaply made porn on a cheap streaming site (not that I would know what that looks like, only from what I've been told). I then performed a speed test... worse than dial-up, it seemed. Could have been due to all my faulty lines and jacks. Checked our bill, and it only said "high speed internet", with no speed mentioned. So I called CenturyLink, had them do a speed test and then I asked "what exactly am I paying for?" Their response?

1.5M. No no no, I said, according to the bill, that's the upload speed. What's my download speed, and what am I paying for? Apparently, that is the download speed. Upload was no more than 512K. THAT is what $50 a month gets you from CenturyLink... 1.5M down, 512k up. Packerland, on the other hand, had 10M down with 512k up for about $36.

Seeing as how Netflix automatically adjusts it's streaming to fit your internet speed, that would explain the visuals being as they were. A speed of 1.5M, if I remember correctly, would grant DVD quality images, with a 3M being reserved for HD or 3D images. Online gaming / multiplayer gaming required between 2M and 3M (I don't know what they need for up). So, if I were to run everything and do everything simultaneously, I'd need, at the most, 5M. I'd never be doing everything at once, but that's the baseline I was going for.

Good bye CenturyLink, hello Packerland.
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Wed Apr 16, 2014 8:30 am by soothsayer
Rant, continued continued

I forgot something again: the whole reason for this mad shift if internet providers!

Even with all the difficulties with CenturyLink, for the most part the internet was fine. Sure, I'd have to replace something here or there, but because of my stint as a DirecTV installer, it wasn't as if I was short on supplies; I'd usually have things up and running again within a matter of minutes, and reasonably believed that perhaps it was my equipment.

Up until a couple weeks ago, that is.

All of the sudden, the internet began to fail. Big time. Netflix would cut out every five or ten minutes if someone was on a computer, or would cut out after an hour or so if it was the only device in operation. Numerous, countless failed connects for Netflix and Playstation Network. The PC would drop the connection every five minutes or so, even if nothing else was connected. Stuff just wasn't working! For some explicable reason, the internet that was fine for years had suddenly died.

I thought it was a CenturyLink issue because that was about the same time we had the thaw start. I thought that maybe, perhaps, their line had cracked. I gave it a couple days for CenturyLink to resolve it, but it never happened. That's when we replaced the modem / router and found the problem still existed. Called tech support for the last time (see above post), waited a couple days, ran a direct line, and then emailed them.

Okay, there you have it, the full story. It may be a bit backwards, but oh well.
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:06 am by soothsayer
Reincarnation

I've had this idea about reincarnation for a while, but recently I've seen the same idea coming from the Dalai Lama. Before I get into that, this is my take on things.

It's said that there just isn't enough souls to go around, that everybody can't be a reincarnation because there are more people alive than those who have died. People have tried to explain this discrepancy in a number of ways, including the splitting of a soul, which then explains the concept of soul mates.

I like that explanation of soul mates, but I want to take things a step further, and herein lies my idea, constructed from personal observations: not everybody wants to come back.

Take for example me and my wife. I want to come back, have always wanted to as far as I can remember; there's just too much to see of the world, the universe... so much to learn and do. I know that I will not rest easy not knowing. If it were possible to be immortal, I would jump at the chance, and fight tooth claw and nail to be the first in line to become so. My wife, on the other hand, does not. In paraphrasing her words, she's lived her life, and doesn't want to do it again; even if reincarnation were a proven, she would fight to not come back. I even brought up the example of bringing us together again, a la What Dreams May Come, but she's said no.

With that said, those who have the desire to come back will. Those who don't want to, won't. Those who are unsure, well, I suppose it depends on their strength or resolve when they approach death; you won't come back simply because you're afraid to die, you need some sort of focus and determination to ground you.

This idea can even incorporate different religious afterlifes. Since energy cannot be lost (but only changed), one's perception of things will change. Your body will die, but you will not... are you still the same person if you lose a limb or four? What if you become paralyzed... are you still not you? Your body is just a body, a storage vessel that is used to contain you. So, when your body dies, where do you go? Wherever you believe you will.

I believe, I know, I'm coming back. I want to. It's only when I feel that I have learned and experienced all that I can will I feel comfortable enough to 'advance'. Those who believe in a heaven will go there, and that world is created upon the collective thoughts of all those you believe in heaven. Those who believe that this is it will cease to be, their energy transferred to something new.

Anyway, that's my idea: you only come back if you really want to. You have a choice. And that's where the Dalai Lama fits in. The Chinese government ordered the Lama to come back as Chinese, and the Lama told them no, that he would only come back as a Tibetan only if Tibet were free... and that he might chose not to come back at all. That right there echoes my idea, that you have a choice.
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:17 am by soothsayer
Dream a little dream
Entry five

So, in this dream induced story idea, it revolves around a zombie-like scenario where the disease (which was more along the lines of toxoplasmosis or leucochloridium parasite) only infected prepubescent children. Something to do with the immune system not being fully developed. They didn't die and become zombies, that'd be too telling, but rather they became lethargic during the early stages. It's only in the later stages that the children would become violent or aggressive, moving and acting in packs. The parasite or disease or whatever tended to burn out the bodies of the children, with the result being death at the onset of puberty. I don't know the specifics, I'm not a medical professional (and, after all, this was only a dream).

From what I saw in the dream, parents killed themselves so that they wouldn't have to kill their children, or adult mentality snapped as they had to cope with slaughtering children. There was one group that would try to capture and subdue children in order to continue testing and research. And, as the disease continued, the population steadily declined, whether it was because of the killings or of people feared having children due to the disease's effects.

Last part of the dream was of a bird's eye view, circling / spiraling out of a cityscape. A few bands of children roamed the streets, some ruined buildings could be seen, and then along the outskirts nature could be seen creeping back into the city.

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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Tue Oct 20, 2015 2:02 pm by soothsayer
Yesterday I was cleaning and reorganizing my section of the basement, making use of the mail slot cabinet I acquired from work (storage for all my crafting and art supplies); this greatly reduced the number of storage bins and containers I had lying around.

While rearranging, I found a storage bin that contained a lot of Tyranid models for the 40k miniatures game. I had completely forgotten that I have a full Tyranid army! I don't remember what edition of codex they belong to; easy enough to look up, I suppose, as I have the codex for them. But still... a full Tyranid army! Or at least the majority of one.

...

This just means I have six armies to paint now. For the 40k, my Tau, a battleforce (or two or three) of Space Marines, the Chaos Marines that came with the Dark Vengence set; the UMC from Dropzone Commander; my Skorne from Hordes, and the Everblight group that I picked up from Goodwill. Oh, wait, seven... forgot about the Scourge group that came with the DZC starter set.

...

Crap. I have the army figures to paint for my Risk table, too.
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:52 am by soothsayer
Priorities suck

For the past, oh, 20 years, the wife and I have budgeted me getting $100 a week, to cover gas money, work related expenses, and cigarettes (back when I smoked). While my vehicles and lifestyle changed, the dollar amount has not; as such, over the past couple years, I've been able to safely hide away at least $50 a week right off the bat and have been able to put any daily change into a jar.

It has gotten to a point where I am finally able to buy something I've been longing for; I don't know how much longer this link will be valid, but you can see it here. If the link isn't good, what it is is a nice walk in step van.

I've been wanting one of these for a while now, to convert into a camper / mobile office. It would have been grand! But, the more I thought of it, and the more I dreamed, the more I realized I had to take care of things first.

Priorities. Pfft. They can all go to hell for all I care. There go my dreams, suspended, put on hold, and for what? Being an adult? For being responsible?

I suppose I should be looking at the bright side of things: our cable and cell phone providers are now paid three months ahead (now we're good in case an emergency ever comes up). The auto insurance is paid off for this cycle, not to begin again until February (I could save money for the next cycle and pay a lump some, instead of having an increased cost with monthly payments). And the wife's credit card is now at zero... gawd, I hope I can convince her to cut that thing up and never ever use it again (unless it's for a real "going to the ER" type of emergency).

On the bright side of things we can finally start to put money aside, to start an actual savings and just sit on it. Granted, I have my student loan to take care of, and if I do the math right, I could have that knocked out between 1.7 years (pushing as much money into it as possible) and 7 years (smallest minimum payments). Either way, even if I were to go with a happy little medium and use the minimum as a safety net / cushion, we can still begin to save.

Hell, we can actually use the tax returns for us for a change, instead of going to bills! Or... or do the "right" thing and send that to the student loan people, knock it out sooner. I don't know, will see when it gets to that point.

*sigh*

I know, I know, it probably sounds like I'm whining. And yeah, in part I am... that van would have been sweet! But at the same time, I don't know... I'm glad that I was able to do this.

I am not bragging, either. I don't want you guys to think that I'm going on about this in a "yeah, look at me" manner, because I'm not, it isn't my intention. Priorities suck, but it pays off.

...

Hey, at least now I'll be able to get a gravel bed put in the back yard, so when I can afford this type of van again, I'll have a place for it to park. So close!
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Wed Nov 04, 2015 8:53 am by soothsayer
Meet Kali

Meet Kali, a small female calico named after the Hindu goddess (the wiki can be found here), who represents "the Goddess of Time, Change, Power, Creation, Preservation, and Destruction".




I thought it was just a fun play on words.  Seems a lot of people name their female calico cats Caley (or the equivalent).  And being the smallest cat we've ever owned, it would have been even funnier.  Bought her a small toy dog sized collar for when we got her spayed, as it had little skulls and crossbones on it.

Ha ha... except, no one's laughing now.

Within the month of October, Kali caught three mice.  No big deal, as it's getting close to winter and the mice are trying to find a safe place to stay.  Good kitty, nice kitty, doing it's job.

Yesterday, being so warm outside, the mrs let the cat out.  Seems the sweet little kitty ran back in (the screen is loose on the front door) with a live bird in her mouth.  Gail saved the bird, it flew away, and Kali decided to go back out and catch another bird... and another.  Neither of those could be saved.

Sweet little miss Kali, barely six month old, and she's already a hardened killer.  Time to create a hit list!  With each kill, this list shall be updated.  Let's see what she all comes home with!

MOUSE - 3
"TINY ROUND BIRDS" - 3 (Gail's description; I'll try to keep a more accurate listing if possible).
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:23 am by soothsayer
Saving Money with Soothsayer
Entry Three

It's been a year in the making, but it's worth it.

Last year... or rather, for many years... we've been going paycheck to paycheck.  Two bankruptcies, bills piling up, with no idea as to why or how.  I won't go into details, but suffice to say that last late February / early March, I took total control over the bill department and began to implement some changes.

First, I took all of our bills and calculated our pay schedules, and figured out the best way to pay things.  I know, that's a no brainer, but what I did was, in examining the bills, I looked at the "payment due" dates and made adjustments so that bills weren't necessarily lumped together, but spread over the month.  This was, instead of paying out $1000 in one week, we'd be paying $250 a week (not real numbers, but used as example).  Then, in looking at our pay periods (I get paid every other week, the wifey on the 7th and the 22nd), I further adjusted the bills so that, no matter if our pay periods matched (getting paid the same week) or varied (being paid every week), the amount of money going out tended to be the same.  This took about a week to figure out, and once I contacted all the billing agents, I set things into phase two... getting rid of "payment behind" or "payment over due".

I also started electronic withdrawal and electronic billing.  Did you know Progressive gives you a price discount if you go electronic?  Sweet!  My VA gets deposited on the first of every month, so I have our mortgage taken out on the second... they cancel each other out, so that works nicely.  

This was both easy and hard: easy in that I started this right when we got our taxes back, hard in that I didn't want anyone to feel repressed.  So, with a large lump of the tax money, I knocked out the electric bill, probably our largest monthly expense.  We were a couple months behind, but I was able to pay off that debt and get us one month ahead.  For the next few pay cycles, I paid a little bit extra onto each bill, and within three months or so, all of our bills were not only caught up, but they were moving ahead.  I was able to do this by leaving the bare minimum within the checking account: no more than $300 for a two week pay period, no more than $200 if being paid weekly.  Looking at that, it seems kind of funny, that we were struggling with a couple hundred in checking each week, but you have no idea how far behind we were on things; before this, our checking would range from $70 to $200, and even then spending was limited.

Oh!  I should also state that I had started an envelop system.  Each pay period I withdrew some money for sewer/water, food, and Steve (each got their own envelop).  Our water/sewer would be around $200 every three months, our "big" grocery shopping days around $220 (does not count weekly expenses like milk, eggs, etc), and Steve just needs a few bucks for the Teen Center.  So, I put aside $70 a month for water, about $60 a month for groceries, and $30 a month for the boy.  The reason why I take it out of checking right away is so that I can spread out the cost and so that, if we ever want to go out and do something, we all know that the money in checking is just that, money in checking, tied to no bill or cost.  I should also make a second note here and say that we used to go to Piggly Wiggly for groceries, that that hurt: $350 on groceries, and you're only coming out with a few bags?  Nope, not no more: I'm an Aldi shopper now, get what you need at half the cost!  When I get groceries, I'll stock up on boxed and canned goods, and get about a month's worth of meats (don't want freezer burn after all).  On my really big shopping days, I'll spend $180 - $210 at Aldi, but I won't have to spend that much again for three or four months.

Take the cost savings wherever you can.

Once this time period was done, I was where I wanted to be with our regular monthly bills: three months ahead.  I wanted to get this to that point so that, if there was ever an emergency, we had that cushion.  Now onto Phase Three, getting rid of our non-monthly debt.

Phase Three involved things such as credit cards, mechanic bills, bills that, once paid off, would never come back.  I had four of these bills.  I put my student loan on forbearance so I could delay payments and concentrated on the other bills.  While making minimum payments on most, I made double and triple payments on the smallest bill.  Once that was knocked out, I took the money I was using to pay that off and then focused on the next smallest, and then the one after that.  Right now, we are almost debt free.  We have our Trailblazer payment and I've started making payments on my student loan.  I'm not too worried about the vehicle payment as it is helping build up my credit: instead of being one large bill, it's being marked as a monthly charge, and with each payment, that charge clears out.  Also, if I pushed, I could probably knock out my student loan ($6500) in about a year... at the highest point during this phase I was paying out $600+ a month on this type of debt... but I wanted to start my next phase.

Phase Four got delayed a few times, both times because of me: rolling the PT Cruiser, and the replacement van breaking down.  Didn't need any of those expenses, but hey, what are you going to do?  Our bills slipped by a month, so I padded those back up, and as of noon today, Phase Four takes effect: opening a savings account! About damn time, I think.

...

In looking at my past posts, especially the one marked "priorities", I'm happy to report that I should have enough for the acquiring of a U-Haul truck at some point next week. I've already started buying items to help me convert it from the Resale Shop. I know I should probably take that money and put it towards the vehicle or student loan payment, but...
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Re: Day in the Life
Post on Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:39 am by soothsayer
Saving Money with Soothsayer
Entry Four

For quite some time now, we've been enjoying cable television as provided by Packerland.  The reasoning and story behind that is posted elsewhere.  Ever since we first got Packerland cable service, we've had more channels than what we've been paying for: we had the basic "local channels only" package (now costing $25 a month), while having access to the likes of Lifetime, SyFy, NatGeo, Science, Cartoon Network, and on and on.  We didn't have all the "extended tier" channels, but about half of them.

On February 6th, Packerland went from an analog signal to full digital.  In the process, we lost all but our local channels.  Which in itself is a shame because the only time we watched local was for the news.  I looked at upgrading, but that would have been an extra $60 or so a month, and that is just too damn high.  Sure, we get an extra 40-45 channels, but come on, who watches all of that?  On the weekends, we tend to do Netflix.  On most weekdays (during the day), it's just Gail at home, and she says she really doesn't watch TV all that much (unless she finds something on Netflix to binge).  In the afternoon or evenings, if I'm not playing something on the Playstation, I'm usually watching something on NatGeo, SyFy, or Science.  Or Netflix.

I was thinking of subscribing to Hulu and just dropping cable all together; I'm sure we can wait a day or two for new content, but I don't know what all channels utilize Hulu as their dumping ground.  Then I started to look a little more, and found Sling TV.  I won't post the links here, but essentially Sling is a streaming service that, get this, streams cable channels.  Live streaming of the channels, not delayed by a day.

Sling TV provides you with two basic packages, Orange and Blue, each with their own line-up. In looking at things, both groups are almost identical, with the exception that Orange has a couple Disney channels while Blue does, instead offering FOX channels. Orange has 30+ channels for $20 a month, Blue 40+ for $25; BLue is compatible to what Packerland has in their extended tier, so I am probably going to go with that route. Sling also sells packages such as movie (contains Showtime, Cinemax, Starz, for an extra $15), family, sports, and so on, usually about $10, give or take $5. The only real notable downside is that there is a lack of local stations.

**A lot of reviews complain about Sling revolve around their still in beta test of a cloud based DVR and their on demand service, neither of which I am interested in anyway. Just wanting to put that information out there.**

I know, I know... spending $25 a month versus an extra $60 really isn't saving money, not when either of those costs have even started yet. Where am I saving money? Read on my friend.

We're also paying $6 a month for a cable modem. Not a cable box, no no no, but a cable modem for the broadband internet service. I've been looking online, and in checking prices I found I could have bought my own by now. So I did; it'll pay for itself in about a year. Our internet / cable bill is only $68 a month, so it isn't that high or anything, and financially this is the lowest bill we have, so why am I trying to cut costs? Umm, for the sake of cutting costs! Anyway, once the modem arrives and I test things out, our bill will drop to $62 a month. Not bad, but I can do better.

Looked some more into the whole HD / digital antenna thing again. We did it for a while, but reception was spotty... the digital signal maps place us right near the border of reception (50 mile radius from towers). Even with a booster, it didn't help things that much. This is why we went with cable in the first place, to get the local stuff. While checking out streaming services, I also reviewed antennas and found they have some in the 60 mile range. Checked the signal maps, and those are what we need. So, I thought about it, talked it over with the wife, and went ahead and ordered one. This won't arrive until late February, so I've got plenty of time between now and then to research some more. The deal I made with Gail is that I would test the antenna for a while before making a final decision on cutting the cable service; I'd hate to cut the service if the antenna doesn't work, you know? Yes, the map says it'll work, but real life applications versus "here's why you should buy our product" tend to differ. Should it work, that'll be an extra savings of $25 a month, meaning the antenna would pay for itself in four or five months, and would reduce our monthly cable bill to $37.

**Oh, please note that the cable modem I ordered is miles above what I need as far as speed and capability goes. Did this so I wouldn't have to upgrade for a long long time.**

All told and all combined, our entertainment bill would be $72 a month (Netflix, Sling TV, internet) versus the possible $138 (Netflix, expanded cable, internet) or the minimum $78 (Netflix, cable, modem, internet). A savings of $6 a month is nothing, not even a drop in the bucket, but in comparing Sling and over air versus expanded cable...

And hell, who's to say I can't take that extra $6 and put it towards another streaming service, like Funimation or something similar? That way, our entertainment is vastly expanded upon, without any additional charges. Hmm...
Re: Day in the Life
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Day in the Life

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