Not Quite Total

Aug. 20th, 2017 06:44 pm
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[personal profile] manoah


What are your plans for tomorrow? I plan to take my mat out to the backyard, plug in some calming music, close my eyes and meditate.

We're supposed to get an 83% eclipse, but you know with the internet and tv....I'll see the whole thing eventually.

I plan to use my time to ponder the changes I've made and secure them.

The Blood is the Life for 20-08-2017

Aug. 20th, 2017 11:00 am
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Marks and Spencer and the National Autistic Society have launched a school uniform range aimed at the parents of autistic children. Note that I say aimed at the parents of autistic children, rather than aimed at autistic children. All the blurb is to do with how easy it is to put on, and how hardwearing it is. The subtext is that it's designed for kids who can't dress themselves. This is clearly aimed at parents.

The other way you can tell that actually autistic people were not involved in this is that if you ask any autistic person what is most important for them in clothing they will tell you it's the fabric it's made of. Many autistic people have comorbid eczema, and a lot of those that don't have sensory issues, which mean that fabric and texture are hugely important in clothing. Something that is in contact with your skin all day needs to be made of something non-irritating; that almost always means 100% natural fibres. Cotton, or bamboo, or silk, or modal. Sometimes wool, but sometimes not. NEVER SODDING POLYESTER. And some of the clothes in that M&S range are 65% polyester. And of course it's very wearying that the only clothing specifically designed to be worn by autistic people is school uniform, because nobody of above school age is autistic, and no autistic child ever wears non-uniform clothing. AND they've "removed pockets for comfort". I have never known an autistic person who didn't want MORE pockets, as long as they are made from 100% natural fibre too.

So what would clothing for autistic people actually look like? Well, from the conversation on twitter today:
  1. Clear, obvious fabric labelling on the rack/shelf. While most of us just want everything 100% cotton, some of us prefer other natural fabrics like linen, and some actively prefer viscose or modal. Some of us can cope with silk or wool, some can't. Every single one of us, though, would like to see fabrics clearly, obviously labelled on the rack, without having to go hunting through the clothes for a tiny illegible care label.

  2. No polyester. Not even a little bit. Not ever. No, not even in linings.

  3. Linings are important! Linings are the bit that is actually in contact with your skin, so they need to be all natural fibres too. Note, though, that this does not mean you can take a garment made out of something horrible and line it with cotton and it will be OK - outer fabrics need to be touchable too.

  4. Care labels to be made of the same fabric as the clothing, not scratchy plastic.

  5. Elastic to be covered with the fabric the clothes are made of, not left to be in contact with your skin.

  6. Flat seams! Or even NO seams!

  7. For Cthulhu's sake, SOMEBODY make some bras we can wear! It is really, really, incredibly difficult to get hold of cotton bras, to the extent that I have considered making my own. And even if/when you DO find them, they are covered in non-cotton frills and lace and fripperies. And have stupid care labels made of plastic right in the middle of your back.

  8. Comfort and fit are much much more important than being on trend. I saw an article the other day that low slung waist trousers are coming back into fashion and actually cried.

  9. Moar pockets, on everything, especially women's clothes - but again, made of the same fabric as the actual clothing

  10. Stop saying things are "cotton touch" or "cotton feel" or "cotton rich". All this does is bugger up searching for cotton things. And actually, make your website searchable by fabric. That would be amazing.
And a clothing store for autistic people?
  1. Would be lit sensibly, not with migraine-inducing lighting.

  2. Would have the afore-mentioned obvious, clear clothing labels on the shelf/rack.

  3. Would sort by size and colour as well as style.

  4. Would have assistants that wait to be approached rather than badgering you the second you enter the shop.

  5. Would not have music at all (many many autistic people love music, but find music that they don't like intensely irritating; whatever music you play some of us will like and some won't) and would ideally have sound baffling so that other people's conversations are not intrusive.

  6. Would open from (say) 12 till 8, rather than 9 to 5. Autistic people are more likely than others to have odd sleep patterns and/or working hours.
Now, if some kind banker or venture capitalist would like to give me a wad of cash to make this a reality... And to M&S and the NAS... I do appreciate that you're trying, and I don't wish to appear ungrateful, but if you consulted any actually autistic people in fomulating that clothing range it's not immediately obvious. Please, please, bear in mind the priorities of actually autistic people, not the parents of autistic children, when making clothing that the autistic people are actually meant to wear. Remember the phrase: nothing about us without us. Thank you.

The Blood is the Life for 18-08-2017

Aug. 18th, 2017 11:00 am
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By now most people have probably figured out that an eclipse is coming this Monday, as it tends to do here in America every so often. Still, I'm not sure everyone's completely clear on all the details, so I thought I'd answer some common questions:

Q: Why does everybody have to scream at everyone about everything these days?

No, I mean about the eclipse. 

Q: What the heck is this thing? Is this some holdover from the 2012 Apocalypse?

This is a reasonable question, since we're still waiting for the 2012 Apocalypse. An eclipse simply happens when the shadow from one body passes over another body. For instance, one day I was lying on a beach when movie maker Michael Moore moved by. Moore blocked out the sun and ruined my tan, thus saving me from skin disease. (He refused to give me an autograph, just because I asked him when his totality would be over.)

That's Michael, in the middle. Not so very big after all.

Q: Huh?

Moore is rather portly, although I've been gaining on him. If you're a liberal, feel free to insert Trump's name. Oh, you mean "huh" about totality? That's the area of the Earth's surface that's completely covered by the Moon's shadow, usually only for a minute or so. During totality is the only time--and I mean ONLY time--when you can safely look directly at an eclipse without eye protection. Unfortunately, the area of totality is only about 70 miles wide. For example, in northeast Indiana the eclipse will cover about 86% of the sun, so go buy those glasses.

Q: What will happen if I look at it without protection?

Have you ever watched that episode of the TV show Supernatural, when the psychic gets to look at the true face of an angel? It's like that. Nothing left but smoking eye sockets. And yeah, that looks cool for a second, but only to everyone else.

It's perfectly safe to look at the eclipse during totality. But if even a sliver of sun is showing before or after, POOF! Seeing eye dog time. (Or, you could maintain some vision but have "just" permanent damage.)


Q: What's so important about this eclipse?

Well, it's cool, even more cool than smoking eye sockets. Also, it's rare in that, for the first time in almost a century, it will traverse the entire U.S. from coast to coast, over fourteen states. That's happened only 15 times in the last 150 years.

I can block my house from here!

There are between two and five eclipses every year, but a total solar eclipse only happens every 18 months or so. Not only that, but when they do happen it's often in a place where most people don't see it, like over an ocean, or the Pacific northwest. According to this mathematical guy from Belgian, any certain spot on Earth will see a total eclipse once every 375 years. That's an average, and it's math, so I'm just taking his word for it.

This is the first time in 38 years that a total eclipse was visible anywhere in the continuous U.S. For perspective, at the time Jimmy Carter was President, and gas was 86 cents a gallon. St. Louis, which is in the path this time, last saw totality in 1442, when gasoline was even cheaper. Chicago, which saw one in 1806 but will miss this one, will next see totality in 2205, when fueling your flying car might be very expensive.

Scientists have determined there are two small areas of the country--one in northeast Colorado, and one near Lewellen, Nebraska--that haven't seen a total eclipse in over a thousand years. Talk about bad luck.

Q: So I'm guaranteed to get a good show?

Oh, heck no. See above joke about the Pacific northwest; the 1979 total eclipse over that area was largely unseen due to clouds and rain.

This isn't a Hollywood movie: Any number of things could spoil it, from bad weather to having Michael Moore stand in front of you. But I wouldn't sweat Michael (can I call him Michael?) who I've heard is looking after his health much better these days. No, the big question will be whether weather cooperates. My wife and I are heading into the path of totality, and I can pretty much guarantee a day-long driving rain, or possibly a hurricane, will hit central Missouri at about that time.

What I probably won't see

 Q: What effects can we expect?
  
Fire and brimstone, dogs and cats sleeping together, total chaos, new super powers, pretty much the worst parts of the Bible. Wait, that was in the movies. Well, it'll get dark, 'cause--no sun. In the path of totality you'll see stars (or clouds), and you'll also be in for a rare treat of seeing the sun's atmosphere with the naked eye. One cool thing I noticed during a partial eclipse was that sunlight passing through the trees cast thousands of little crescent shaped shadows.

Some animals might be fooled into thinking it's twilight. In fact, eclipses have been known to thin out the local vampire population.

Geeks like me will geek out. People who don't understand, or don't care about, the difference between reality and Hollywood special effects might be disappointed.

Q: What are the greatest dangers?

As with many things in our modern society, the greatest danger might be driving. Officials expect major traffic jams as millions of people try to get into the path of totality. For those who don't make it on time or aren't expecting it, the danger is that they'll be driving down the road, trying to stare at the eclipse, only to ram someone who pulled over along the side of the road to watch the eclipse. Don't do either of those.

Otherwise, there's that smoking eye socket thing. Interestingly, during partial eclipses when the brightness doesn't seem too bad, infrared waves from the sun can still cause damage by overheating the eye, in a boiling egg kind of a way. Disturbed yet? Me, too.

Enjoy these eclipses while you can: The Moon's orbit is slowly getting larger, so the time will come when it will be too far away to completely cover the sun, meaning the end of total eclipses. Scientists predict this will happen in less than 600 million years, so go look while you still can.

The Blood is the Life for 17-08-2017

Aug. 17th, 2017 11:00 am
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uh, ciao!

Aug. 16th, 2017 05:59 pm
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[personal profile] tvfission posting in [community profile] 2017revival
Name: Alicia Joan or AJ
Age: 25
Location: Las Vegas, NV

Describe yourself in five sentences or less: I am an acquired taste but overall very easy to get along with! A friendly, bisexual, karaoke-fiend that loves to write/roleplay, draw, and watch disturbing videos willingly at night. I'm a sucker for being creeped out. Have I mentioned I'm a weirdo? But a weirdo who loves to make friends!

Top 5 fandoms: To be quite honest, it's really only American Horror Story, Preacher, annddd The Office. I am constantly watching The Office. I realize it's been over for quite a while but that means nothing! Nothing, I say!

I mostly post about: My personal life and what-have-you. If not that: an article, new music I've discovered, maybe a selfie here or there, and pix of my pups! I just recently registered on the site so I have very few posts up right now.

I rarely post about: Politics, only because I use FB primarily for that. But I am not opposed to following folks that do, as I like to engage in discussion sometimes - especially if you're looking for one!

My three last posts were about: My loneliness and lack of friends, haha. I promise that will change and is not a constant. I was simply amusing myself. ;)

How often do you post? I will probably start out posting often but it may slow down as I have adult things that need my attention more. I'm taking care of my dad at the moment and that's where most of my focus is at when not here or other social platforms!

How about commenting? I will likely comment more than post. But that's so I keep in touch with everyone. My life doesn't provide a great deal of interesting things to talk about right now, so! I'm also trying this new thing where I don't dwell on negative crap like I used to. It's working out nicely! 

(This doesn't describe my day, but the kid's face cracks me up and I have a similar distaste for vodka myself, haha.)



The Blood is the Life for 16-08-2017

Aug. 16th, 2017 11:00 am
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Farewell to Matt Smith, who is retiring from the Albion Fire Department after 14 years of service. Matt, in addition to being an active firefighter and the AFD Secretary for several years, formerly served on the Albion Town Council, and was also an EMT with the Noble County EMS.

 

 

Here Fire Chief Brad Rollins, on the left, presents Matt with his helmet shield as a token of appreciation for his years of service.
 
(Matt, who works full time as a technical writer, is no relation to Doctor Who, although I've always felt his heart is bigger on the inside.)

Schedule

Aug. 15th, 2017 10:39 am
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[personal profile] manoah
I'm trying to make myself a schedule. I do fairly well with working within (and around!)a schedule, a list, a to-do. Vacation, as it was, is over and I need to get my act together. Yesterday I cleaned the bathrooms. Yuck. As I was coming up from my knees whilst scrubbing the floor, I banged the top of my head on a very pointy towel bar. The ouch. No blood, no goose egg, but I had a headache the rest of the day. No good deed....

I went to the 4pm yoga class and that was good.

Today I'm spot cleaning the carpet, vacuuming and dusting in preparation for the new couch we are to receive sometime tomorrow. Tomorrow I guess I'll be waiting for the truck to arrive.

I'm taking one of our yoga instructors out to lunch today. She's 18 and is leaving on Monday for college in Oberlin OH. She's the "little girl" that loves to kick my butt in the cardiyoga classes. Ima miss her.

Best get on with it.
ozma914: (Dorothy and the Wizard)
[personal profile] ozma914
I'm way behind on this, due to medical and internet problems--this movie did so poorly at the box office that I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't showing any more.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is living proof that just being fun won't save a movie. And VatCofTP (say, let's just call it Valerian) really is fun, as well as being visually stunning. Unfortunately, that just makes its faults more obvious when compared to the moviemaker's previous fun and visual flick, The Fifth Element, which benefits from better casting decisions.

Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) is a special operative, basically a combination secret agent/Navy SEAL. He and his partner, Sgt. Laureline (Cara Delevingne) drop their spaceship into problem areas James Bond style, and in this case they're assigned to investigate Alpha, a mysterious cancer that's spreading through a remarkable space-borne city in which species from across the galaxy learn from each other, exchange cultures, and party.

Gee, we only see a hundred planets.


Then things get confusing. Well, okay, they're already confusing, starting with an opening segment on a world so peaceful and beautiful you just know it's about to be demolished. We cut from there to Valerian and Laureline, who are arguing about getting married while landing on a planet bare of anything, unless you put on virtual reality visors and go on a huge shopping spree.

Soon they're neck deep in an effort to retrieve ... well, what they retrieve is related to the earlier planetary paradise, as is the rest of the movie, although how they're related doesn't become clear until toward the end. For some viewers, it doesn't become clear at all.

Some people were apparently never able to figure out what was going on. I was, eventually, but a large part of the movie is more about seeing neat things than about the actual plot. I'm okay with that in theory; still, a little consistency and logic are also nice, and Valerian tends to be weak in those areas.

But my biggest problem was the casting. Major Valerian plays like a much older character, and apparently was, in the comics; DeHaan comes off as a lightweight, and just can't make us believe he's an experienced, senior ranked operative in a galaxy-wide security service. Worse, he has little chemistry with Delevingne, who I found much more believably bad-ass. The movie slows to a crawl whenever their romance comes up, and one has to wonder why she hasn't already requested a different partner. I'd be happy to see her play the same part again, and some of my favorite moments of the movie were when she worked solo. Him, not so much.

I suppose the original characters would be too old, now.


Otherwise Valerian provided in spades what we've come to expect from movie space opera: great effects and action sequences, weird aliens, last minute saves, and bad guys doing things that don't always make sense. But in a way that was the problem: Everything got thrown at the screen, losing the story and characters in the process.

My score:
entertainment value: 3 M&Ms out of 4 ... and remember, I'm easily entertained.
Oscar potential: 1 M&M out of 4. Not that it couldn't get nominations for something like effects or makeup, but overall VatCofTP is as overly complicated as trying to shorten the title.

The Blood is the Life for 12-08-2017

Aug. 12th, 2017 11:00 am
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Friday Five

Aug. 11th, 2017 03:35 pm
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(questions via [community profile] thefridayfive)

1) What is the most outrageous style you've ever rocked?

When I was a young 'un, there was that brief period when shell suits were incredibly fashionable, but before they had been discovered to be ridiculously dangerously flammable, and we had a non-uniform day at school. Every single other person in my class came in a shell suit. Some of them had those colour change t-shirts that showed your armpit sweat even worse than grey marl does. I wore cut-off denim hot pants, fishnet tights, an Alice Cooper t-shirt and a leather biker jacket.

I think that tells you everything you need to know about my attitude to fashion.


2) As a teen, were you an emo, goth, punk, grunger, or prep?

Um. I never could be bothered with the make-up requirements for goth, but I suspect I tended more that way in other respects, with bits of punk and grunger too. I mean, I never did do the blue stonewash jeans classic rocker look, I always wore black and purple.


3) Have you ever had a crazy hairstyle/colour?

Ever since I was 18 right up until the present. I'm normally one or more of blue, purple, or pink, but I've been other colours too. Went jet black once; didn't like it.


4) Do you think we ever really grow out of our teen selves?

I certainly haven't. But then I was quite elderly in outlook from about the age of 18 months, so... (this is possibly down to the autism, which obvs was undiagnosed when I was a young 'un.


5) Is there any fashion style you wish you could wear but maybe don't have the confidence?

It's not the confidence, it's the tolerance for pain. I wish I could wear halter neck tops, but my boobs are so heavy that they give me horrific neck ache within seconds of putting them on.

The Blood is the Life for 11-08-2017

Aug. 11th, 2017 11:00 am
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ozma914: (Dorothy and the Wizard)
[personal profile] ozma914

Remember when your utilities were gas, electric, water, and maybe phone, and the idea of having the world at your fingertips and a screen in your hands was something for rich people or science fiction characters?

No, me neither. But I got a taste of first world stone age when our internet went out at the beginning of this month. How great is it that Mediacom convinced me to get my home phone service through them, then told me I'd be out for two weeks after both it and our internet went dark? It's so great, it makes me want to just injure my back and lay there, unable to use the internet or talk on the phone, or move. That's how great it was.

And that's the irony of it, that it failed at a time when I was flat on my back and could have used it most.

(Truth in advertising: It actually hurt to lay flat on my back. I was in more of a fetal position.) 

 But there's a bright side: By the time the pain eased enough for me to do anything at all, I worked on writing or--wait for it--reading. In the week and a half or so we've gone without, I wrote a submission outline for my newest novel, and got halfway through a final polish on the manuscript. I'm also halfway through the first novel I've read all summer.

That's the good news. The bad news is that when I do do internet stuff (and we all know there's a lot of online do-do), I often ended up using my phone. I didn't think twice about it until I got a notice that, 25% into the month, I'd used up 75% of my data. For you older people, that's like gossiping on a party line until the other users start yelling for you to get off the phone.

That's why I'm stealing the internet you're getting this from right now. *ahem* Borrowing. It's also why I'm not online as much as usual, even though I'm still limited in other things I can do. First world problems, yeah, but I'm paying for my first world stuff with money I earned by helping other people with their first world problems.

And when I called the people providing me with that first world service, who out of fairness I shouldn't name, they said a serviceman would be right there, in about two weeks.

Thank you, Mediacom. Thankyouverymuch.

Basically I'm telling you this because the service guy is supposed to be here today (they moved it up three days, so why am I complaining?) I don't want to vent on the repair guy, because it isn't his fault, so I'm venting on you. There. Vented.

How things go today will determine what kind of mood I'm in tomorrow ... but either way my smart phone won't be very smart for the rest of the month, and I suspect M******m isn't going to reimburse me for that.

"I feel like something's just crushing me." Kidding! This was taken after my sinus surgery.

 

ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
[personal profile] ozma914
 Two of our books are going to be auctioned off this Saturday to benefit the Central Noble Food Pantry, which happens to be one of my neighbors.

 

We donated copies of Radio Red and Hoosier Hysterical: How the West Became the Midwest Without Moving at All; they'll be auctioned along with other items at the Moose Lake Christian Craft Village, at 11330 E 500 S, LaOtto. The benefit's planned for this coming Saturday, August 12, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

 

I haven't been there myself, but I hear it's a great place to visit. There's a seven dollar entry fee but that's for the whole day, including a visit from Johnny Appleseed (who I write about in Hoosier Hysterical, come to think of it). There's swimming, fishing, paddle boats, music, crafts, wagon and pony rides, and all sorts of other neat stuff, which you can probably find out more about by visiting their Facebook page.

 

I don't know if our books are going to be auctioned together or separately, but it would be really nice if someone would stop by and put their money down, and maybe bring a nonperishable food product for donation, too. The C.N. Food Pantry is just two doors down from me, and they do great work for the community.

 

Of course, the books won't be the only thing auctioned off! The list I saw includes a whole hog, tools, gift certificates, a Moose Lake family pass and weekend cabin stay, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

 

Call Bonnie if you have any other questions, at 260 564-8160. Check it out, have some fun and, as I always say, buy our books!

 

 

 

Whatcha Reading Wednesday

Aug. 9th, 2017 12:11 pm
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[personal profile] manoah
Hello All,

This week I finished two books:

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs This is the 2nd book in the 'peculiar' series. It wasn't quite as fascinating as the first, but it did move the story along a bit, explained more about the peculiar world. I enjoyed it for what it was worth. Was hoping to dive right into the 3rd book, but alas I'm on the wait list. Oh well.

I perused what was available and say Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory. I love the Tudor period and not much has been written (or I should say that I've read) about Margaret and Scotland. The history is always fun. I usually read these digital books in my browser and open another tab with the actual history to see how she keeps up. Not bad, not exactly so, but close enough. It is fiction and I need to keep that in mind when reading these books. This was written in the first person (by Margaret) and juxtaposed her life with her sister in law, Katherine of Aragon and her little sister Mary Tudor. Margaret is not the most sympathetic of characters, but I understand the device she was using to tell her tale. Not a bad read, but if you want true history you won't find it in these books. Which the author readily acknowledges.

Next up I've got a real book to hold in my hands; Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall. A friend loaned it to me and I have no idea what to expect. Kinda exciting!

The Blood is the Life for 09-08-2017

Aug. 9th, 2017 11:00 am
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ozma914: new novel cover art by Kelly Martin (Default)
[personal profile] ozma914
 Emily and I are going to be at the Kendallville Public Library's Art and Author Fair, which, perhaps not surprisingly, is going to be at the Kendallville Public Library in September.

 

It's this whole big thing, held in conjunction with the Kendallville Chamber of Commerce "Showcase Kendallville and Job Fair", and it's all going to be at the library Friday, September 15, from 2-7 p.m. We've already been to a group book signing with some of the other authors! It'll be like coming home again. Actually, it'll be like writing home again. The library's page for the event is here:

 

http://kendallvillelibrary.org/about-us/library-news/art-and-author-fair/

 

And you can let everyone know you're going on the facebook page, here:

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/261574904246629

 

Is that cool, or what? Yes. Yes, it is.

 

 

The Blood is the Life for 08-08-2017

Aug. 8th, 2017 11:00 am
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Good Evening.

Aug. 7th, 2017 07:21 pm
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[personal profile] londonskies posting in [community profile] 2017revival
Name: Katie
Age: 36
Location: Central Coast California

Describe yourself in five sentences or less: I work full time in a doctors office in medical records. I'm in the process of writing the second draft of a book. I love to hike and exercise as it helps with my depression. I love to travel, read, go to concerts and hang out with friends. I also help with the local film festival every year.

Top 5 Fandoms: LOST, Twin Peaks, Harry Potter

I mostly post about: Work, depression and trying to keep it balanced, my writing, hiking, my niece and nephew, travel, books, music, and throw in a touch of sarcasm.

I rarely post about: Politics (It's okay if you do. I probably will ignore that part of your entry.), When my depression hits, I try to talk about the positive and not the negative side of it.

My last three posts were about: My friends page. I am just getting started into journaling again. I was big on Greatestjournal and Insane Journal. These days my IJ friends page never moves. I miss the connecting.

How often do you post? As often as I feel like writing. It could be 5 times a week more or less.

How about commenting? I will comment if I have something to say in the post.

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