I love you, America.

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I won’t lie to you.  These past few months have been a mixture of the happiest, the saddest, and the most conflicting moments of my life.  And mostly not from the election, which doesn’t help things.

I’d like to say to you: I am okay.  You are also going to be okay.  Everything I’ve been through recently only proves how strong the human heart is.  I think you’ll find that too, through your struggles, whatever they may be… because everyone is going through something right now.  Everyone.

So, in light of recent events, I want to share this video with you.  It has been maybe the most comforting video I’ve watched during this election time.  Obama himself said we’re all on the same side.  I don’t agree with everything Obama does, but by God I hope those words sink in.  We’re all on the same side.

Let’s just keep going.  We all learn how to love when we’re children.  Let’s keep learning together.

I have a difficult relationship with you, but I love you, America. ❤

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An Evangelization Moment… with Jared Leto

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Cuz when life gives you Letos… you’re that much closer to Mars.

(Did she just?)

Note: I don’t necessarily condone anything Jared Leto does; he’s a loose cannon.  A true artist, that one.  More about him another time.

Did any of you see Suicide Squad recently? (If you didn’t, I understand. Rotten Tomatoes gave it around 27%.)

Well I saw it with my teenage sister and her friend, who was just ecstatic to see it for the second time and already had plans for a third viewing.

I also have college friends who are seriously into DC comics and frequently cosplay, and some of these very characters, too.

So, I get the hype.  I’m a Batman girl, myself, so I had to get to the theater somehow, because I was just too curious.  (I haven’t seen Batman vs. Superman or whatever yet because I miss Christian Bale too much.)

And I must say, I was completely entranced by the spectacle of the film.  It was a smorgasbord of intrigue for me, complete with character motivation and backstory, ethical questions, quality performances, etc.  There was just so much for me to sift through.

I’m not going to try to tell you whether the movie was bad or good.  Frankly, I enjoyed it, so I don’t care to persuade you all.

I just came to tell you something that I found interesting: people love these guys.

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Deadshot, Harley, and even Mr. J get big love from all their fans.  And I don’t think that this is simply just love of the characters’ complexities, which is my main interest.

For example, the relationship between Harley Quinn and the Joker is one that many fans can’t get enough of.  One girl I talked to said, “I just love them and their story.”

I think to myself, yes, I quite enjoyed their complementary maniacal personalities on the screen.  Their relationship, however, is one that was basically founded on torture, so good luck to anyone who considers that meritorious.

And yet, we the audience love these baddies.  We can’t help it.  Something somewhere in the fibre of each one is redeemable, or at least seems so.

So I started thinking. Why? Why do we want to find redeemable qualities in these characters?

I decided that the pattern was:

  1. sympathy
  2. compassion
  3. acceptance

Every single time we were introduced to a new character, we felt bad for them.  We had compassion on them for whatever circumstance they were in that had for whatever reason, just gotten out of hand.  We can all relate on some level, because we’re all human.  Then we accepted them because we want to be accepted ourselves.  We’re all broken, after all.

Then I began listening to Jared Leto’s band Thirty Seconds to Mars again. An excellent choice.  I quickly found my favorite song: “Kings and Queens.”

I’ve provided the lyrics, via Google Play. And here’s the video… because you need the audio to understand the scope of this song.

Into the night
Desperate and broken
The sound of a fight
Father has spoken.

We were the kings and queens of promise
We were the victims of ourselves
Maybe the children of a lesser God
Between Heaven and Hell,
Heaven and Hell.

Into your eyes
Hopeless and taken
We stole our new lives
Through blood and name
In defense of our dreams
In defense of our dreams

We were the kings and queens of promise
We were the victims of ourselves
Maybe the children of a lesser God
Between Heaven and Hell,
Heaven and Hell.

The age of man is over
A darkness comes at dawn
These lessons that we’ve learned here
Have only just begun

We were the kings and queens of promise
We were the victims of ourselves
Maybe the children of a lesser God
Between Heaven and Hell.

We are the kings
We are the queens
We are the kings
We are the queens

And I thought to myself, This song is the Fall.  It was about people who knew that they were destined for glory and greatness, but something along the way just didn’t click the way it was supposed to.  There was some mistake.  Life wasn’t right.

And that relates to Suicide Squad perfectly.  At one point in the film, you see the dreams they had for their lives if everything had gone according to plan.  They all have their loved ones back with them and they aren’t stuck in their current ugly and violent circumstances.

In my life, I just hope that I can help others remember that even though “we were the victims of ourselves” in that original sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, and even though we’re subject to concupiscence, ready to fall, we are not the “children of a lesser God.”  We have an awesome God.  And He’ll raise us on the last day.

Here’s to everyone stuck singing Leto’s song thinking the downfall is glorious because being tragically human is as beautiful as it’s gonna get.  They’re wrong.  If they only knew what’s coming.

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The clumsy duck and tragic frog

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It’s been a while, so I have two little tiny stories to hopefully brighten your day just a little tiny bit.

I’ll tell the one about the frog first, actually.

I was at the very end of a run a couple days ago.  I had luckily nothing in my stomach, or precious little in it, because it was a long run.  Nearly 5 miles.  (I’m training for a 10K which is 6.2 miles.)

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So I planned my run to end at the park so I could walk the nice bits home in the shade and see the pond.  Well, there’s a bit of a hill on one side of the pond and I had two minutes to go, so I’m really pushing it to try and get to the top of the hill and start my cool  off already.

Me: Ok, only two minutes. Not long.  I got this. Here we go. We’re going. Go go go… How much time has passed? 20 seconds? Ok cool. Ugh. *breathe in and out* *in and out* What the crap?!?!

I actually squealed a little bit.  There was a squished up frog on the road! Right where I was running, so I had to hop awkwardly over it.  It was like *leap* *gag gag gag*.

I’m sure I looked fantastic. LOL it gets me just thinking about it.  My endorphins are going and frogs have been one of my favorite animals since I was a little thing. They’re like an emotional animal for me. So I wanted to cry and gag at the same time because  I just didn’t expect it at all. Lol I was dyingggg.

Next thing was the day after.

I walked down to the same park, and went over to where the spillway is for the pond.  It’s actually not far from the spot where the frog episode occurred.

I often photograph the spillway.  I observe it.  I note how low the water is or how high it is.  You know, I check up on my place. 😉

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Well, there was a duck on the spillway.  It was just sitting there minding its business when another duck swims up.  I had just walked up to this scene.

I guess I’m kind of a stinker because I was thinking: “What happens if that duck just runs into the other one and pushes it over???”  And just like a freaking dream come true, that’s what happened!!

The duck goes flailing down the spillway.  Like “SQUAWWWWWWKKK!”

It’s a bit of a drop, so that definitely ruffled his feathers.  It was hilarious from my  view though.  He just jumps back up, flapping and squawking to his little perch there on the ledge, and I continued with my walk.

That was the pinnacle of park moments.  The kind of thing that happens once in a lifetime. It could have happened at an time and it happened when I showed up. Yas.

That’s what I got for now.

 

 

 

Let’s keep this going (Resurrection Ch# 27)

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So now Nekkie and Missy run to her mother, Princess Sophia Vasilyevna.

She’s

  • disgusting
  • old
  • fake
  • smoking pachitos ?

Yeah, Tolstoy spends some time talking about her long flashy teeth and her mouth and throat.  It’s acting imagery.  Everything looks “natural” enough yet “insincere” and “artificial.”

Next: she has this weird affair-ish thing with the doctor (his name’s Kolosov) which Nekhlyudov just remembered because its disgusting but it didn’t bother him before (aka before he found out Katusha fell through the cracks in a major way).

So their smoking and talking and Nekkie is thinking the whole time (and so are we) that they are just the worst.

But my favorite bit of this scene is the man-servant called Philips who has to adjust the curtains.

The broad-chested, muscular, handsome Philips bowed slightly, as if begging pardon; and stepping lightly across the carpet with his broad-calved, strong legs, obediently and silently went to the other window, and, looking at the Princess, began carefully to arrange the curtain so that not a single ray should dare fall on her.  But again he did not satisfy her, and again she had to interrupt the conversation about mysticism, and correct in a martyred tone the unintelligent Philip, who was tormenting her so pitilessly.  For a moment a light flashed in Philip’s eyes.

“The devil take you! What do you want?” was probably what he said to himself, thought Nekhlyudov, who had been observing the whole scene.

pg. 98

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Haha good old Philips.  I think we’d be friends in real life.  So sassy.

Nekkie leaves the scene soon with Missy and is able to get rid of her too and be alone with his thoughts, so for the next chapter, cue the self-loathing.

Tolstoy, Leo. Resurrection. New York: Barnes and Noble Inc., 2006. Print.

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Is June going too fast for you guys?

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Thought I’d check in.

I was doing some writing for my other stuff.  I do some writing for a religious blog and a non-profit news source, so my personal blog gets the short end of the stick a lot.  I should be having more soon though.  Hopefully more regularly too.

Ugh.  Everything is going so fast right now.  Don’t you think.  It was March like a few weeks ago.  Now July is almost here and I’m not ready.  July is my FAVORITE month.  If it goes too soon, I will positively lose it.  Lose it.

Anyway, please enjoy this picture of one of my favorite places in the whole wide world-Vienna, Austria.  Wish I was back there.  Grab your sunglasses, guys; it’s a hot one.

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photo cred: lonelyplanet.com/austria/vienna

 

10 Reasons to see “Finding Dory”

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finding dory

  1. Ellen DeGeneres
    1. Basically, this is how I feel:

If there has ever been a better voice performance in an animated film than Ellen DeGeneres’ in Pixar’s wonderful sequel “Finding Dory,” I sure can’t think of it.

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I mean, the talent here is truly amazing!  My mom says that she thinks acting is really good when you forget that the character is not real.  For me, that happened in this movie.  Ellen was Dory and she brought Dory’s bright personality, troubling self-doubt, and surprising wisdom to life in a way that has people saying it’s one of the best vocal performances of its kind.

 

2.  I laughed.

I didn’t really go to the movie expecting to laugh so much, but I was dying! “Finding Dory” had a comedic rhythm that would not quit!!  From Marlin to Nemo to Becky (oh my gosh!!!) to Bailey to Hank to Destiny to Sigourney Weaver (I know!) to Cleveland (I know this list is getting out of control), everyone got a slice of the action.  You’ll be chuckling throughout.

 

3. I cried.

crying community

I am actually not kidding.  I do not cry in movies.  Hardly ever.  I didn’t cry in Up, didn’t cry in Tangled, didn’t even cry during The Fault in Our Stars.  But I did cry in Finding Dory.  For about 10 seconds, the feels were so real.

4. It moved me, Bob.

If you didn’t get the reference from reasons 2, 3, and 4, you haven’t seen enough VeggieTales in your life.

What was so shocking to me was that I really could personally relate to some of the problems Dory was having.  I don’t have a behavioral disability, but I think everyone experiences some self-doubt.  For those of you out there who may have a little more than your fair share of this crippling issue, this movie will resonate for you too.

It wasn’t simply that Dory couldn’t remember, it was the question of guilt that gave this conflict depth.

5. Cuteness

dory as a baby

On a lighter, yet still heart-breaking note, baby Dory is the cutest animated entity you will probably ever encounter.  Period.

6. The animation

The first film was partly so successful because of all the pioneer animation done because of the story’s setting.  It’s kind of like when they say that New York is also a character in so many movies.  #thatoceantho

It was a bit of a surprise that so much of the film took place out of the water, but it made for some really fun shenanigans and the animation of this film only gets better than the last one.

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7. The characters

Sometimes you don’t like to meet a bunch of new people.  But in this movie, I promise, you fall in love with everyone you meet.  Sure, some characters were only interesting for their comedic value and seemed convenient to help the plot along, but  both of Dory’s parents and Hank the septapus (lol) definitely steal the show when it comes to characterization.

Don’t worry. You’ll still love traveling with Marlin and Nemo,  and of course all kinds of new light is shed on our favorite blue tang.

8. The script

The film is filled with touching moments, and surprisingly, I never felt that one was ingenuine.  Dory may have recalled key moments from her childhood at points that would help her, but every moment seemed triggered by a need for specific emotional support, which was deftly portrayed and heart-breakingly real, thanks to the animation team and voice talents of Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy.

9. The score

I loved the music from Finding Nemo so much, I came back for more. 😉

10. DUH.

This was one of the most beloved movies of our budding childhood.  After the days of The Lion King, Pocahontas, and Toy Story, it was all about Finding Nemo.  (And The Incredibles.)  Why wouldn’t you go see it?

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Little Music Gems

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This post is about 3 songs that I fell in love with again thanks to Lip Sync Battle featuring LL Cool J.  I listen to all of them now on the regular, and you should too actually.  I’ve included the Lip Sync clips because picturing their faces is what made me love these again. 😉

“Proud Mary” by Tina Turner

Oh, this one’s been around forever.  I just never bothered until John Krasinski had something to do with it.  Sad, but now this is my go-to for work pump-up tunes.  It gets me out of bed.

“/Workin’ for the man every night and day/”

John does a perfect Tina Turner lol.  I’ll post as many references and to and gifs about this as I possibly can.  (You may have noticed already. hehe)

Also, if you don’t wanna see Anna Kendrick perform J. Lo’s “Booty,” you don’t have to.  It’s the second half.  Although, it’s actually less… *ahem* skanky (pardon me) than a few performances I’ve seen on this show. Looking at you, Josh Peck.  Also, Anna Kendrick is perfect.

 

I strongly recommend the other video from that show where Anna does “Steal My Girl” and John performs  “Bye Bye Bye.” It’s fantastic.

“Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler

I had heard this one before, but that was in middle school.  I didn’t really appreciate all of its dramatic potential until this clip with Victoria Justice.  Low key I kinda miss her.

 

 

“I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness

Now this one, I had no idea existed before Gregg Sulkin alerted me to its falsettic glory.  I’m making that a word.

Apparently it was released in 2003 and the band, The Darkness, formed in 2003, when the only music I listened to was Lord of the Rings and Jaci Velasquez.  Shout out to Jaci.  I included another video of it so you can see the lyrics and know what the heck is going on… even though it contains egregious grammatical errors.

Happy listening!!

The Easter Mass Catchup

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So if anyone is following this, you’ll notice that I’m an absolute idiot because when I did an earlier post covering a lot of ground, I forgot that we were already TOLD what happened between Nekkie and Maslova that Eastertime.  Therefore, I should fill in some blanks. Just think of it as an exclusive… there’s lots to tell. 😉

So, Nekhlyudov had to stay with his aunts after spending some time in the service.  It was only about a week or so, but a lot can happen in a week.

He met Katusha (Maslova), and was instantly smitten.  Lol he was cute.

Then Easter Midnight Mass came — the pinnacle of Nekkie and Katusha’s relationship.  This is the purest, most gentle thing.

Here Tolstoy talks about man possessing two beings: one which is animal and one which is spiritual.  (Of course this is completely dualistic and terrible metaphysics/theology, but we’ll allow it.)  In this instance, the spiritual Nekkie is allowed to thrive, and it’s all thanks to Katusha.

This is one of my favorite parts because it shows the power of beauty and goodness to inspire the same in others.  For a moment at least, the love between Nekhlyudov and Maslova is elevating.

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from my camera

“In the love between a man and a woman there always comes a moment when this love has reached its zenith–a moment when it is unconscious, unreasoning, and with nothing sensual about it.”

pg 57

Ok, for a moment, I’m going to be real with you guys.  Do you know what he’s talking about?  I feel like very few people do anymore.  Or if they do, they’ve let themselves forget about it because they assume it will never happen and they’d waste their golden years waiting if they pursued it.

Well, I haven’t even figured it all out yet and I can already tell you it’s worth pursuing.  In my personal life, I’ve been very selective about who I choose to spend my time with on that front, and I just wanna ask:

Have you ever leaned on someone, drawing strength from their mere voice?
Or have you been moved by just staring into the depths of their eyes?
Maybe you felt uplifted just from the familiarity and goodness of their soul?

Wait for those things, because I’ve been able to personally relate to what Tolstoy was talking about.

TBD on whether or not he will let this win out or not.  Probably not, to be honest.  It’s Russian.  But we’ll see.

Here’s some more about her:

“When he now recalled Katusha, that moment veiled all else: . . . her whole being stamped with those two marked characteristics, purity and chaste love–love not only for him (he knew that) but for everybody and everything, not for the good alone but for all that is in the world, even for that beggar whom she had kissed.”

pg 57

Sometimes when girls read characters like this, I think they get the wrong idea.  At least some girls I know decide that they don’t want a virtuous woman as a main character in a book because they aren’t able to relate.  I disagree.  Most girls I know who are in their first bloom of romance act a bit like Katusha.

It’s so easy to be good when you’re happy.  And those discovering their first love are among the happiest people in existence.  For that moment, their longing to nurture and create the beauty and goodness in the world seems attainable.  And why shouldn’t it be, if they are fulfilled?

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from my camera

This was Katusha before her terrible disappointments, after which, perhaps all the cynical may relax and “relate” to her as much as they want.  (If you sense a longing to write a blog post about this very subject, you aren’t mistaken.)

About him:

“He knew she had that love in her, because that night and morning he was conscious of it in himself, and conscious that in this love he became one with her.  Ah! If it had all stopped there, at the point it had reached that night!”

Unfortunately, next something dreadful happens which really highlights Tolstoy’s use of Nekhlyudov as an image of mankind at large, and more specifically, man’s troubling concupiscence and likeliness to fall.

At this point, I feel bad for hyping up Nekkie’s scandal because it is quite sad.

Here’s what happened:

When Katusha comes by Nekhlyudov’s room after mass to tell him that dinner is prepared, he decides to pursue her.  When she asks him by name, Dmitry Ivanich, to stop, he becomes momentarily confused and ashamed, but Tolstoy allows his baser desires to overcome his conscious, which has already been weakened from being around his rather vulgar contemporaries during his time in the service.

” . . . this confusing and shame were caused by the best feelings of his soul demanding to be set free; but he thought it was only his stupidity, and that he ought to behave as everyone else did.  He overtook her again and kissed her on the neck.”

pg 58

It wasn’t that he kissed her.  He kissed her earlier that night on the lips, but it was something pure and beautiful because it was sought under respect and love, and it was freely given.  This one he stole out of lust.

Tolstoy says at least seven or eight times that Nekhlyudov knew he was doing wrong and that he could feel the goodness of his soul objecting, but at this point, after he’d allowed himself to steal that kiss, “[d]esire had taken entire possession of him.”

pg 61

And very soon, he can’t stop himself.  He takes Katusha for his own.

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from my camera

This section is very worth reading.  There’s pathetic imagery everywhere (the surroundings reflecting the struggle going on between the characters’ relationships).

Then, the most tragic of all, Nekhlyudov leaves.  It’s convenient for him because it would be difficult for him to keep up this thing he has with Katusha.  After all, she’s pretty much a servant.  And then… he PAYS her.  Because it’s the thing to do.

“‘Take it; oh, you must!’ he stammered, and thrust the envelope into the bib of her apron, and ran back to his room, groaning and frowning as if he had hurt himself. . . . ‘And if everyone does the same … well, I suppose it can’t be helped.’ In this way he tried to get peace of mind, but in vain.”

pg 65

So he leaves, and later, when he hears of a child and her being sent away, though it may all be on account of him, he does nothing out of shame and embarrassment.

We fell this low; our characters can only go up from here.  Or to Siberia.

Tolstoy, Leo. Resurrection. New York: Barnes and Noble Inc., 2006. Print.

Why boys are dumb, and also how I hurt myself with a shampoo bottle.

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First: I’m sorry, but I have some muscles.  Yes, I am girl, but I was also endowed with those contracting fibers that allow for movement and also for me to be a B.A. (not bachelor of arts, though I am that too.)  I have muscles and I’m not going to apologize for them. Except, I guess, in the first line where I said– well nevermind!  I got muscles.

I say all of this because, at my current place of employment, there was a certain “re-imaging” going on.  Which basically means that we put on a fresh coat of paint, refinished some woodwork, got a few (actually a lot of) new TVs, and (finally) all new tables, booths, and chairs.

What this meant for the staff is that someone had to move all this stuff.  You can bet it was going to be us.  Now, this was a volunteer basis job for  little extra cash.  I thought, “I like cash.”  Also, I didn’t think at all about the lifting… because I can lift.

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Refresher, does this look like a girl who can move a few things around?  Well, just– look, support me in my story!

Anyway, the other girls and I noticed a pattern where one of us girls would go for something to carry and suddenly a man would show up offering unnecessary assistance or to suggest that we go grab something a bit lighter. Like a cushion. A cushion. (To be fair, someone had to carry the cushions and they were rather large and awkward, but still!)

And let me just say, I really appreciate the considerate effort behind such suggestions and offerings of help.  I’m not that arrogant.  I’m glad chivalry still lives…

HOWEVER.  Isn’t it funny that I only got hurt at times when the guys were trying to help me???

  • Girls: great at communication.  They would tell me when we were putting something down and where we were going for the most part.
  • Guys: manhandle the furniture and figure that their buffness is covering everything.

Newsflash: I need to know what your plan is for putting this wooden thing in the truck.

The first thing that happened was that when I beast-lifted a small booth all by myself (it’s not hard if you get the angles right and support with your hips and legs) it was taken rather abruptly from me by my manager when I brought it to the truck.

I said, “Hey, wait, where are you–?”

Basically my forearm got a decent-looking scrape because he figured I couldn’t hold the thing much longer (I could have held it much longer).

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The girls said they saw it exactly the same way.  I was totally fine until he tried to grab it.

Next:

I was carrying this very heavy booth (at an angle which I later discovered with one of my girls was completely unnecessary and made the whole operation 10x harder) with one of the hired guys.

Anyway, when we handed off the booth, ~no surprise~ it got jarred somehow and hit my left hand pretty hard.  Enough to put a thumbnail-wide line of a blood blister on the inside of my palm.

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I should say that I already had a scratch there healing.  I cut myself on a knife… I burned myself on a skillet… Nope.  Ok, it was a Sunday and that morning during my shower I had scratched myself somehow opening a shampoo bottle.

The shame.  I know.

Well, I had hydrogen-peroxided the daylights out of that son of a gun, so it was on the road to healing, but now it’s still there (Today is the Friday after.) because some man hit it with a booth trying to help and turned it into a blood-blister.

Well that’s basically it.  Women can do some stuff. Dudes need to communicate.

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