February 16, 2005

Mmmmm

Vodka

Posted by MrWonton at 10:25 am | Comments (10)

February 14, 2005

V-day, bleed me a river

Friday, after work, 3 other co-ops and I drove up to New Hampshire to go skiing. We spent the night at a cheap bed and breakfast. Less than $25 per person, 2 double beds, and a cot (one rock paper scissors game and one of the nice beds was mine!). It’s eerie being in the Northeast sometimes. We walk into the place around 10:30, it’s been dark for at least 4 hours, and we’re walking into what looks like a living room of a relatively nice house… and it’s totally empty. We wander around for a minute before we find a button you can push for service, and a nice old couple ambles out to greet us and point us to our room. As far as I could tell we were the only ones in the place. Breakfast was served at 7, and consisted of coffee, tea, orange juice, pancakes, and quite possibly the best sausage ever produced by any combination of pigs and men without shadowy dealings with the devil. We were the only one’s there, although 2 tables for 2 were set up next to us.

From there it was on to Bretton Woods for a solid 8 hours of skiing. Yadda yadda yadda, good exhausting times were had by all.

Recovered Sunday.

Which brings us to today, Valentine’s Day (for the less romantically inclined, Single’s Awareness Day [S.A.D.], for the rebellious tinfoil-hat, a ploy by the evil corporations to subvert our culture into demanding we pour our hard earned money into the pockets of an increasingly evil and powerful aristocracy, or for the counter-culture all-star, a load of crap). While some spent the day with their loved ones, or plotting a coup d’etat for the exploited proletariat, I instead opted for 9 hours and 45 minutes at work. Most of that was because they decided to have a blood drive at work, and I figured I might as well donate. Since none of my other precious bodily fluids were going to be put to any use today, my blood might as well be. Went off with a bang let me tell you. The nurse put some paper towels down and had me making a fist, but when they put the needle in my arm I shot blood in a nice arc that spanned from about my waist on my side over to above my breast pocket. Of course, being the smart guy that I am I was wearing my favorite shirt that has any buttons on it… Ugh! On the positive side, I made it worth my while by eating 3 bags of Famous Amos cookies, a package of vanilla wafer cookies, a bag of cheesy crackers, and drinking 2 cans of lemonade, and a half liter of water.

So now I’m sore from skiing and having a needle in my arm for about 15 minutes (seemed like 2 days) without anything good coming in. Both were worth it in the end though. This was only the second time I’ve been skiing since I started college, and I’d always avoided giving blood because needles freak me out. I wanted to do it, and I did.

Happy Valentine’s day. Lots of love.
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Posted by MrWonton at 7:02 pm | Comments (10)

February 11, 2005

Hell yeah this is Julio

Ring ring ring (Ann Arbor area code on the Caller ID)…
“Hello?”
Hello?” (In an extremely muffled, extremely Indian voice)
“…Hello?”
Julio?
“What?”
…Julio?
“Does this sound like Julio?”
…No…
“Yeah thats cuz its not.”

“You’ve got the wrong number.”
Oh.
“Bye.”
Goodbye.” (Thank you come again)

Posted by MrWonton at 2:34 pm | Comments (8)

February 10, 2005

Time flies when you’re me

My first day of work here was a month ago today. Tomorrow ends week 5, and earns me paycheck #2. Time is freakin’ flying. I don’t know where the time has gone. It reminds me of driving back home from Tennessee two summers ago. After being up about 36 hours, and driving for all but a couple of those, I can remember time shifting down the highways in Michigan as I got close to home and sleep-induced vehicular suicide. Its been kind of like that but without the added fun of a near-death experience. Well except the whole no-headlights thing. Sometimes I wonder why I’m allowed to drive, then I remember I have an essentially perfect driving record. The mind boggles.

Do yourself a favor and procure the recently-leaked Beck album Guero. Overwhelmingly nonsensical-yet-amusing lyrics only Beck Hansen could get away with abound.

See the vegetable man
In the vegetable van
With a horn that’s honking
Like a mariachi band
In the middle of the street
People gather around
Put the dollar dollar dollar in the can

Posted by MrWonton at 11:33 am | Comments (10)

February 08, 2005

Damn

I hate insomnia. I have too much on my mind… It’s almost funny how my mind insists on figuring absolutely everything out exactly when it needs to shut the hell up. I swear if I could be trying and failing to sleep all the time, I’d have thought of some revolutionary idea and retired by now. Instead, tomorrow I’ll be drinking a ridiculous amount of coffee and blasting hardcore music in my cubicle to resist catching up on the sleep I’m certainly not going to get tonight.

Annoying.

Posted by MrWonton at 2:33 am | Comments (4)

February 04, 2005

Illumination

I have headlights again. People will stop flashing their lights conscientiously at me as I drive blindly around the shrouded streets of Marlborough… damn helpful bastards.

Last night 11 Intel co-ops and I went to Boston and ushered for Blue Man Group, or rather, 9 of them ushered, 2 others and I talked to random people through tubes. If you haven’t been to a Blue Man Group show, they use a lot of tubes, and have the theaters filled with them. Before the show, some of them talk to you… and that was my job. We tubetalkers were stuck in a back room with a large black wooden board reminiscent of early telephone switchboards. Where you’d expect wires were an array of color coded tubes that corresponded to a colored floorplan of the theater. From our “switchboard” we could listen to people milling around in the theater, and try to get them to come up to the tubes and talk to us. We came up with some pretty funny stuff that really only makes sense after you’ve been shouting into a wall of tubes at strangers for about an hour. After that we got some rather nice free seats for the show. Afterwards we had to help clean up the 2 and a half odd miles of toilet paper that had flowed over the audience to the stage. Not too bad at all for tickets that were probably worth $40+.

Of course now I have a nice long weekend of being under 21 and surrounded by a bitter football rivalry (in Massachusetts, but working and living with quite a few devout Eagles fans) I really could care less about, the only tradition of which, drinking to excess, I can’t take part in. At least theres driving after dark to keep me busy. Hoo boy, nothing like cruising frozen “downtown” Marlborough. Sensing some animosity?

I went to New Hampshire today to drop off my roommate at the airport. I had no directions to get back, so I got a little lost for a bit, and just when I feared I may never find my way out of the NH Boonies, I happened across a site that alleviated all my fears: nestled in a valley, set in a haze of fog, was a mammoth Anheuser-Busch brewery! I knew then that there was no way that god, in his infinite wisdom, would allow a brewery of such epic proportions as this to be placed in a location that any drunk on a pilgrimage there wouldn’t be able to drunkenly drive themselves there and back from a freeway. Sure enough, I hadn’t gone another 2 miles before all my dilemma was solved. See politicians? Alcohol helps minors.

When I got back from my odyssey, I went back to work. For numerous reasons, I’ve been forced away from work quite often as of late, so I still had over an hour to work to get to my 40 hours for the week, which I wouldn’t feel right not attaining. I rolled into Intel a little past 6:30. This is on a Friday. The place still bustled with activity! Ok, maybe not bustled, but there were hundreds of people milling about working. I’m talking about engineers, most of whom are exempt (salaried), not to mention blessed with Flex-Time. Myself, I’d hate to be at work past 7 on a Friday if I’m not making any extra money, nor limited to working that specific time frame. Confusing…

After getting my 40 hours, I decided to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that, at least culinarily, I’m a 10th degree black-jew, that is to say I went to a delicious chinese restaurant and ate to excess from all 3 major food groups: General Tsao’s chicken, Fried Rice, and yeah, thats right, crab cheese Wontons.

I caught enough of the State of the Union address to be again frighteningly reminded about the talking disaster at the helm of this country. I found his pro-constitutional-gay-marriage-ban to be the most offensive of his allusions to our collective impending oppression, suffering, and inevitable doom. If he’s going to spout descriminatory rhetoric, I’d rather he stop half assing it and trade his finely tailored suits and ties for a nice white robe and hood with a few swastikas here and there; you know, make it blazingly clear where he stands. Other than that little indiscression, I thought he did a very convincing job pushing his disasterously unsound social security plan, and who doesn’t love his subtle hints that Syria and Iran have made his “naughty” list. Time to go kick some more Arabic ass eh Mr. President? We can always count on you sir.

Freedoms cannot be exported by tanks and planes, death and destruction.
-Mehdi Dakhlallah, Syria’s information minister
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Posted by MrWonton at 9:48 pm | Comments (4)

January 29, 2005

On the recap

I’ve had a run of bad luck. My Grandmother died two Sundays ago, and I had to break the news to my mom. Tuesday morning, I woke up with a horrible fever, and would spend the next 5 days shivering, sweating, and drinking entirely too much water. Wednesday I started coughing. I still haven’t stopped. I also went to work for a half day Wednesday morning, then came home, packed, spent a half hour wrestling in the single digit weather to get my frozen ski rack off the top of my car to save it a trip, and drove to Michigan. Thursday was the funeral. It was an open casket. I hate open caskets. I did all I could to try to help my mother, which is regretably little. I stuck to comforting her until they played Amazing Grace, which falls directly under an open casket on the list of things that won’t be at my funeral.

I was a pallbearer. After the funeral I wanted to go home, partly to escape the depression, partly to make it back in time to go on the ski trip I had planned. It didn’t feel right, and with the fever, I felt less up to leaving as the day dragged on. Friday I had breakfast with some relatives, after which I went with my cousin to see her new house, but couldn’t because the cops were there tethering her boyfriend. Then I drove back. Somewhere in the 3 trips to and from Michigan I’ve made in the last 3 weeks, my driver’s side windshield wiper stopped working right, my windshield washer fluid stopped working at all, and my driver’s side door got subtly bent enough to cause a gap in the door seal, which lets in air and makes noise, and causes the window to get stuck up, and not want to go back up when its down.

This past Tuesday my headlights stopped working. Its the switch not the bulbs. I can’t drive at night, but that hasn’t stopped me from staying up way too late the last few nights, thanks mostly to late phone calls. Not that I don’t love my late phone calls, especially those about a giant mutant killer mullet taking revenge on the mob… but I’m digressing. Today my attempts to catch up on my sleep were interrupted by my landlord, who had come for our rent. About two hours, and one impromptu guitar concert later, he left. He’s a nice guy, but man does he need a friend. I know where he’s coming from. I’ve never appreciated my ability in Ann Arbor to, on any given weekend, walk to a plethora of bustling house parties with people I know all around. I definitely miss it.

On the positive side, I got paid, thrice. Google cut me a check on Tuesday (for the ads), Intel with two on Friday (one for payroll, another for relocation). Its also beginning to look like the project that I’ll be working, which currently lacks a go-ahead from up high, may soon at least produce some real coding for me.

Its a good thing time is flying, I need a change of scenery. And I can take or leave it if I please…
(more…)

Posted by MrWonton at 7:36 pm | Comments (27)

January 22, 2005

In Memorandum Eleanor Jean Baumstark

Rest In Peace.
(more…)

Posted by MrWonton at 9:30 pm | Comments (1817)

January 16, 2005

Ugh - Updated

My grandmother on my mom’s side died today. She was my last living grandparent. I broke the news to my mother, not one of the easiest things I’ve done. I’ll be going back to Michigan sometime soon Wednesday for the funeral on Thursday. It looks like I’ll be driving, as airfare is excessively expensive. Its going to be a long week…

Posted by MrWonton at 8:28 pm | Comments (14)

January 14, 2005

Hotel Tell

My new goal in life is to make enough money to be able to hire The Sea and Cake to follow me around providing the background music of my life.

Posted by MrWonton at 9:56 am | Comments (0)

January 12, 2005

Working Life

Practially internal...

I’m alive. I made it. I live in Marlborough, Massachusetts and I work for Intel. I’ve almost been here a week, and the whole situation still positively exudes surrealism.

On the way to work:

  • 2 miles of back roads
  • 1 stop sign
  • 1 stop light
  • 10 speed bumps
  • almost as far in the parking lot as on the roads
  • security

Marlborough is a sleepy residential town of about 36,000. Sadly its more reminiscent of South Haven than Ann Arbor, only without the beach and the people I know. Boston is about 30 minutes east, and there are a few interns at Intel that live there, which is a start…

That brings me to my job. I work at Intel Hudson, along with about 2,300 intelligent souls in a massive complex that houses two office buildings and a fab (where chips are manufactured). I’m one of about 30 interns there, many of which started this month as I did. I work in the MTV (Microprocessor Tools and Validation) group, and more specifically with what they call tools. I’m the only intern I know of doing such. I share a cubicle on the 3rd floor with an intern from Nigeria, and my computer. The computer has two gigantic IBM monitors, 2 gigs of ram, a 2.2 ghz processor, and a keyboard/mouse tray on a stalk that can be positioned anywhere around me. It runs Linux, but we can also use a remote Windows terminal. I’ve learned a lot in 3 days, and while I don’t really know what I’ll be doing (which is probably good, as its all confidential anyways), I know its all very very complex, very very acronym laden, and initially at least, quite confusing. I have a mentor and he does a lot to alleviate this, but its still a lot to absorb. There are classes and training going on all the time, and I already went to one session of a computer architecture course. The one I went to was all review from a class I had last semester, but they plan on covering more in a span of a mere week or two than we did all semester. Fast paced? It seems to be the norm. The “instructor” did wax metaphoric about trying to drink from a firehose, so perhaps all is not lost. Much more follows…
(more…)

Posted by MrWonton at 11:11 pm | Comments (5)

January 05, 2005

Goodbye

Pulled a nice 39 hour stint a couple days ago and managed to get my schedule somewhere close to normal. I’ve done little beyond packing for the last few days. Everything goes. Everything I own in the house I’ve spent the last 17 odd years in gets boxed and stored. My hometown will likely never be my hometown again.

I can only take with me what I can fit in my 2 door Cavalier. Come tomorrow morning, its just me, my overloaded car, and 877.29 miles of snowy roads. As of yesterday, theres no internet connection at my apartment in Massachusetts, so I’ll be out of contact for awhile. Wish my luck.

Intel here I come.
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Posted by MrWonton at 5:29 pm | Comments (12)

January 03, 2005

Mmmmm Coffee

I just got done spending 4 hours in a 24 hour truck stop quaffing coffee with Brandy and Pat, followed by a short trip to McDonalds for a greasy disgusting supersized breakfast bonanza. I can’t stop twitching. My blood is coffee. Coffee is my blood. Caffeine. I don’t plan on sleeping anytime soon. Good times. More to come.

Posted by MrWonton at 8:39 am | Comments (6)

December 25, 2004

Happy Holidays

We'll get you next time
You win this round, Barrett and Joe, but you’ll get yours.

School is over. Ann Arbor won’t be my home again for over 8 months. While my friends are going back to class with their new schedules, I’ll be packing once again to start the first well paid chapter of my life. I wouldn’t be terribly envious if I were you.

I’ve seen almost everyone from this town worth seeing, which has kept this ludicrously boring town from getting to me. Last and certainly most long overdue is Joanna, who’s flying home today, on Christmas Day, at least partly to see me, an honor I’m far from deserving. Now to see if our livers will survive the impending days…

A Merry Christmas, a Happy Channukah, a Convivial Kwanza, a Quiet and Reserved Ramadan, and an Ambrosial Annual Winter Solstice-Inspired Non-Denominational Gift-Giving Holiday.

11 or so days of Michigan.

Random pictures attached.
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Posted by MrWonton at 6:51 pm | Comments (8)

December 14, 2004

Payoff, however meager

There are times when I seriously wonder if I picked the right major. Besides a few notable exceptions, most EECS people piss me off. Programming is fun and all, but after solving a particular problem in some amazing, insightful way, no one will understand or care. Its the epitome of thankless jobs in that respect. You can never tell non-CSers your accomplishments in any meaningful way. Of course, it does have its advantages, which became blatently apparant today… Mundane details linked below.

I went to the Campus Band concert on Sunday. I got hit with a violent wave of nostalgia for my band days, but I’m still glad they’re over. The band was great. Good job Katie.

School is hell. I’ve crammed so much time and work into the last week its insane, thanks largely to a certain EECS group partner who was miles away from pulling his own weight. The sad thing is how far I am from being done. I’ve still got math assignments, part of a program, 2 EECS exams on Thursday (beginning at 8 am on North Campus, god help me), and the real killer, 4 hours of math exams starting at 8 am on Monday. It really makes it blatently clear why I’m so ready to be out of here and at my new job.

If you’re looking for some new music, check out this site. They keep charts of indie bands, and you can download almost all of the top songs for free right from the site. Some of the music is damn good. Here are a few I’ve liked, in no particular order.

Here’s hoping my 2 weeks at home aren’t a complete disaster.

Testicleez! Another fine creation by the eminent Brandy Rumiez.
Brandy made this awesome picture after a conversation we had. Damn thats cool.

Warning, a healthy amount of boring mildly-technical crap follows. (more…)

Posted by MrWonton at 1:14 am | Comments (50)

December 08, 2004

Placeholder - Updated

Long story short, we've got a christmas tree.

Saturday night was a very exciting night. Over its course, my friends and I managed to climb through a window of a house we’d never been to, chill at a party with a Jamaican reggae band, tons of pot, and people freebasing over a stove, break a chain fence, procure and subsequently drop and break a sweet Kwanza goblet, stack several hundred student directories in front of someone’s door, get a Gauss bust from a blind kid, and end up with a Christmas tree. There are a few other things intentionally left out. Feel free to ask.

After that night, my life has been hell. I’ve been up excessively late working on something or another every night. Also something to look forward to: barring some sort of miracle, my very last taste of this semester is going to be no less than 4 straight hours of math exams, starting at 8 in the morning. Yeah, thats right, back to back Differential Equations and Probabilities (not easy probabilities either, oh no, 400 level multi-dimensional integral probabilities). Thank you U-M Math department! Arrrg this semester needs to end.

Friday my last group project is due, and afterwards I’m going to chill with Doug and a fat cuban cigar my dad was kind enough to send me. Thank god for small escapes.

I find this site’s presence here amusing.

Posted by MrWonton at 1:38 am | Comments (40)

December 04, 2004

The End is Near

Its hard to believe how much I have to do, and just how little time I have to do it. There is only one more weekend before exams, only a week and 2 days of actual class left (21 hours), and so many outstanding projects I can’t keep track of them. But of course thats not enough. I’ve done no holiday shopping, and won’t have time to until I’m done with class, which isn’t till the 20th. Aside from two math finals scheduled at the same time on that day, I also have to move completely out of my apartment and back home, where I’ll live for about 2 weeks before attempting to pack my life into my 2 door 13 year old Cavalier to drive to a state I’ve never been to, to live in an apartment I’ve never seen, with a person I’ve never met, at a job I know next to nothing about. Luckily I don’t think about these things very often.

What I do think about is that I’ve pretty much only got 2 weeks with my friends from school, and 2 weeks with my friends from home, before I leave for 8 months, and thats sad. I’ve got to come up with an appropriate send off that I can think back to when I’m overworking myself for tons of money and no one around to enjoy it with. I’ll expect visits.

Left of my 5th semester: 15 lectures, 4 discussions, 21 hours of class, 2 math assignments, 2 large programming projects, 1 big user manual, and 4 horrible exams on 2 days.

I’ve made a few changes to the site. Theres a new comment system, and spiffy popups on some of the links. There was absolutely no good reason for any of this, but that sort of thing doesn’t usually doesn’t top me.

Finally, I’d like to thank anyone who’s been nice enough to click on the ads, its remarkable good money. Keep it up. I can’t actually tell you to do that. Gotta stay on the up and up.

Posted by MrWonton at 10:14 pm | Comments (45)

November 27, 2004

Thanksgiving by the numbers

In 3 nights:

  • 5.5: hours spent traveling from Ann Arbor to South Haven
  • 2.5: hours it should take to travel from Ann Arbor to South Haven
  • 4: people actually worth seeing in South Haven
  • 1: unwed teenage pregnancies discovered
  • 10: approximate pounds of food eaten
  • plethora: number of shrimp eaten
  • 4: shrimp that will probably kill me
  • 10: approximate glasses of wine drank
  • 3: nights spent in the hot tub with a glass of wine
  • 4: showers in the last 2 days
  • 1: compliment on smelling good
  • 1/2: inches grown since summer
  • 6: approximate weight lost in pounds since summer
  • 1: resolutions made, because of last two items, to use exercise facilities at my job at Intel to overcome my overactive metabolism
  • 0: chance of resolution to exercise actually happening
  • 2: number of foxes I saw at night on the public beach
  • 1: number of times I actually needed my camera
  • 1: number of times I actually needed my camera that I forgot my camera
  • 1: sweet ancient BMW’s ridden in
  • 25: dollars spent on gas
  • 20: pounds per square inch of pressure in my tires after sitting around since summer
  • 2: times I got to say “nice hair” and mean it
  • 2: abusive husbands (counting liberally) I talked to
  • 3: important realizations made
  • 3: depressing important realizations made
  • 5: computer related questions receieved (counting conservatively)
  • 3: times I felt like hot shit for having one of the best jobs someone my age can have
  • 1: crazy things done with expensive technology and zip lock bags that only a nerd of my caliber would do
  • 0/5: ratio of classes that didn’t assign annoyingly long homework assignments over break
  • 0: homework assignments I’ve looked at
  • 39: emails received when I finally got around to checking
  • 1: significant emails receieved
  • 1: books read
  • 3: loads of laundry done
  • 10: approximate trips through downtown South Haven
  • 0: worthwhile trips through downtown South Haven
  • 10: approximate times I listened to the album Pressure Chief
  • 0: times I got out of bed before noon
  • 1: times I was awake before noon long enough to be pissed that someone would call me before noon
  • 1: supposedly true stories involving people with peg legs and eye patches, a model titanic and battleship, anti-dutch and anti-Wall Street sentiments
  • 1: happy Thanksgiving
Posted by MrWonton at 3:12 am | Comments (11)

November 18, 2004

Rambling somniloquisms

My insomnia is acting up and I can’t clear my mind.

Sometimes I wish I’d stuck with psychiatry. I like computer science, even though its a lot of work, a lot of the people in it get on my nerves, and theres an unhealthy supply of Y chromosomes. I’m good at it, and there is a lot of it I find fascinating. Plus I enjoy programming. But I started in psychiatry. It all kind of went downhill when I couldn’t get into Psych 111, the entry level psychology course here (full with no wait list). I’ve always regretted it. Because of that I did my sequence in philosophy. Philosophy was interesting once you get over how ridiculous most of it is. But the parts I liked most were psych-related, such as decision theory. Its probably because I like to know how things work. I’m an engineer. Most people see computers as black boxes, where power and user input go in, some magic happens, and Windows comes out. Obviously if that was good enough for me I wouldn’t have done CS. And while I know my MUXes, ALUs, buses and pipelines, people still confuse the hell out of me, and I hate it. The reason I wanted to learn psychology was to gain some insight into the people around me, and it never happened, and I regret it. What I wouldn’t give to know just a little more about what’s going on inside people’s heads. Things like this article show it can be done, the information is there if you know what to look for.

What are you thinking?

Posted by MrWonton at 3:58 am | Comments (4)

November 14, 2004

Fun with numbers!

I love haiku. I especially love conversations in haiku form. I even more especially love conversations in haiku form regarding Testicleez (who not coincidentally may be starring in his very own drawing soon). Thank you Brandy.

There was some spiffy crowd rafting involving some friends of mine at today’s football game (beware, excessively large video links, here’s a picture). It was all fun and games (and a little bit of injury) until the event staff that pervade the stadium confiscated the raft. It still made for a good final home game.

This is freaking sweet. I attempted to make it, but A) my printer freaked out and started flashing lights at me, then eventually printed it in some funky rendition of black and white, and B) once I’d cut the damn thing out and tried to assemble it, I realized I have no tape.

If you’ve just eaten don’t read this. I know Ashcroft is going to be gone soon, but it still frightens me to see what the people currently in power really seem to think. For those who didn’t just read the article, the jist of it is that Ashcroft doesn’t think the courts should challenge what our administration has been doing. Courts upholding the constitution? Bad idea says he! The specific example cited? The wonderful things we did in Guantanamo, where we held prisoners on no charges, in violation of the geneva convention, with no lawyers and no contact with the outside world, to be given military trials where standard judicial processes don’t apply. This sort of situation doesn’t exactly sound like what we need more of Mr. Ashcroft. And thats the rant of the day.

I made 6756 times an investment of mine a few days ago. Thanks Intel!

I found out that your average chocolate chip cookie has 8 times the stored energy as its weight in TNT. Butter? 11 times. Uranium-235? 30 million times. Wonton? 100 million times. Take that TNT.
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Posted by MrWonton at 1:37 am | Comments (41)
 
   

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