Sitting around a fireplace with your friends…listening to podcasts and eating salad

I’ve never considered listening to the radio as nostalgic. It’s really the equivalent to watching TV. When you want something specific, you’re enjoying something that you like. When you don’t have anything in mind, you just keep searching until you find something that seems interesting to you. Even if it just ends up being background noise, it’s better than being surrounded in cold, dead silence. I already know I’m going to be dying. I don’t need a constant reminder of my impending death.

Like with everything, technology has taken over the radio and nearly everyone is relying on streaming for their audio needs. Granted, it’s not a huge lose when it comes to the radio because, honestly, people only listen to the radio in the car. They don’t hover around a clock radio they bought in 2002, nor do they sit in their car in their driveway rocking to Coldplay.

Most of you might be surprised that I discovered podcasts in 2008. Yes, 2008. I know. I know. It’s quite early compared to what you would think. The first podcast I listened to was Will Write for Wine. It centers around two authors who talk about, you guessed it, writing and wine. Mainly focusing on helping writers improve their craft, it is filled with humorous moments and giant water slides. Yeah… giant water slides. The weekly podcast officially ended in 2009, with a small handful of podcasts released shortly after. After a six-year hiatus, yes, six years, they recently uploaded an episode. And, surprise, giant waterslides came up again. I know. I have an interesting taste in podcasts.

I haven’t listened to as many podcasts as I would want, but there are a few that I’ve enjoyed for years. Yes. Call me a creature of habit. Just don’t call me David Hasselhoff.

Alison Rosen is Your New Best Friend

Alison Rosen, former co-host of the Adam Carolla Show, gives us an intimate spotlight on both her life and others in two versions: a one-on-one interview and talking with her husband and group of close friends.

Link to Alison Rosen is Your New Best Friend

Other People on the Show: Daniel Quantz (Alison’s Husband), Jenna Kim Jones (Comedian), Allan Moss (Jenna’s Husband), Greg Heller (TV Producer), and Jeff Fox (Podcast Producer)

Topics Often Talked About (as of September 2016): Alison’s infertility issues and upcoming pregnancy, Jenna and Al’s daughter Sam and parenthood in general, Stranger Things, Food and snacks of all kinds, Mormonism

I am not a big fan of one-on-one interviews, so I’m going to focus on the version of the show that I often listen to, which is Alison gathering her husband and close friends around her dining room table to talk about seemingly random topics. With so many people, it seems as if you’re interrupting a private conversation among a group of friends. In each episode, there are a variety of emotions and tones. You’ll get tears. You’ll get laughs. You’ll get silent and not-so-silent judgment. Most importantly, you’ll get subtle sarcasm. How fitting for me.

Spilled Milk

Food writers Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Amster-Burton talk about a different food topic each week while going on comedic tangents.

Link to Spoiled Milk

Topics Often Talked About (as of September 2016): Molly’s fondness for France, Matthew’s fondness for Japan, Matthew’s mother, Various random people from Molly’s past and present

While it’s a food and cooking podcast, let’s be honest. It’s a comedy podcast first, and a food/cooking podcast second. Filled with ridiculously humorous and candid moments, Molly and Matthew talk about anything and everything while staying on topic. Honestly, if you want to know about France, Japan or Oklahoma, this is the podcast for you.

Hello Internet

Educational YouTubers Brady Haran and CGP Grey talk about various topics through two vastly different viewpoints

Link to Hello Internet

Topics Often Talked About (as of September 2016): Flags, Plane Crashes, Mountains, Movies, Brady’s tendency to collecting everything, Grey’s tendency to collecting nothing

What do you get when you put an extroverted, slightly unorganized collector everything with an extremely introverted, robotic-like, minimalist in the same room. The world is afraid to know. Thankfully, in most of the episodes Brady and Grey do the podcast in separate cities. With a focus on technology and other educational topics, the two opposites share their thoughts and often engage in friendly banter. Essentially, this is what you get from a podcast done by an old married couple. That’s not a bad thing though.

Timeless Thoughts: No one is selling flavored water, so I am stomping on lemons with my feet

This post is a part of Timeless Thoughts, a monthly link-up hosted by Georgie and Tara where bloggers share something they’ve missed from their past. OK. OK. That’s basically my entire blog, but I’m doing this anyway. Sue me.

I live in Florida. I can’t go without a day of someone reminding me to drink plenty of fluids, so I don’t pass out and possibly die from the heat. Of course, they do this while I’m drinking a bottle of Diet Coke. I get it. Water is the best option, but let me drink my Diet Coke in peace. Or at least have the courtesy of silently judging me.

I do drink a lot of water, but I also like a little variety. I like flavor. I like carbonation. I like choices. Water all day, every day isn’t the type of lifestyle I want. I’m a human being. I have taste buds. And they want variety.

Soda is my beverage of choice, but again, I do like to have choices. I like sparkling water. I sometimes drink tea. I am also a fan of flavored water. It’s a shame that, for whatever reason, they’re rare to find these days. Who would think flavored water would be a fad? It’s the 2010s version of Tamagotchi, apparently.

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Water is water. It’s healthy for you, but it’s not really something you enjoy. You drink it because you have to. Flavored water is essentially still water. It still has no calories. It still had no sugar. It will still keep you hydrated. The only difference, really, is you can actually enjoy it rather than feel as if you’re obligated to drink water. What’s next? Feeling obligated to take showers? Oh, wait…

It’s a shame flavored water is not as available as it used to be. No, squeezing lemons into a glass of water is not the same thing. I want it in a bottle, damn it.

There’s a sea of goats and no one is staring at them

Normally, when it comes to movies, I like light-hearted realistic comedy-dramas. I pretty much watch all genres except for horror. I’m sorry, but if I’m watching a movie, I want to enjoy myself. Watching a group of terrified people being killed one by one isn’t enjoyable for me.

Comedies are a hit or miss for me. They’re usually too ridiculous and unrealistic for me to enjoy. There are, however, a handful of comedies that, although ridiculous and over the top for my tastes, I’ve enjoyed. Below are a few of my favorites.

The Men Who Stare at Goats

A down-on-his-luck journalist stumbles across a man who claims he was trained in the army as a psychic soldier and has been recently activated for a secret mission.

Since I come from a journalism background, I am pleasantly surprised whenever I come across a TV show or movie about journalism or a journalist. While this particular movie has a ridiculous storyline that can be sometimes hard to follow, it is light-hearted and different. I can go without Ewan McGregor’s horrible attempt at an American accent though.

Paul

Two British men visiting America for a comic book convention help an alien who is on the run from being captured.

Full of profanity and sexual innuendo, paul is definitely not for you if you shake your head in disgust whenever a couple is holding their hands in public. I consider myself modest but I quite enjoyed this movie. It’s funny, heart-warming and will make you nauseous at times. What more can you ask for?

The To Do List

An over-achiever high school graduate makes a list of sexual acts she wants to experience before she goes to college.

When I originally saw this trailer, I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to like it. IT seemed like the epitome of a teen comedy that would just make me groan in disapproval. Surprisingly, I liked it. Obviously, it’s a bit raunchy and at times, in poor taste, but hey it’s a teen movie about an awkward teen who is on a sex quest. You get what you get.

Yay. It will only take me 215 years to decide which watch I want to buy.

With my bio as a constant reminder, I am a collector of everything. When it comes to electronics, though, I am the equivalent to an 83-year-old Lithuanian woman. One with mobility issues and a polka dotted scarf wrapped around her head.

All I have is a laptop, a digital camera and a pay-as-you-go phone. I am comfortable with having a pay-as-you-go cell phone because I hardly use it anyway. I don’t need a Smart Phone, and it does make me special that I’m one of the few people who aren’t glued to their phone. Yes, I’m a special kind of special: a relatively young person who’s living as if it’s the early 2000s. Well, at least it’s fitting for my blog.

There are certain purchases that I’ve been wanting to make for quite some time now, but it’s difficult for me to take the plunge. I’ve been browsing here and there, but even making a $20 purchase makes me nervous. I don’t know what’s worse: buying something and hating it or not buying something and regretting it. Ugh. I am the epitome of first world problems apparently.

Here are some of the things I’ve been wanting to purchase. If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know before my head explodes with indecision.

A watch

Like many others, I rely on my cell phone to know what the time is. It’s a hassle to pull something in and out of my pocket. I just want to look at my left wrist and be done with it. This is a relatively small and inexpensive purchase, but it still terrifies me. I am worried that I’m going to somehow break the watch the moment I get it.

On a related note, I discussed this with a friend of mine, and he’s trying to convince me to buy a pocket watch. Yeah, first, we’re not in the 1800s. Second, I don’t want to end up being like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. I’m not that special.

A DSLR Camera

It’s to no one’s surprise that my current camera setup is quite sad with all of the low quality obviously heavily edited photos I post. Right now, I have a point-and-shoot digital camera and a questionable tripod. I know I need to upgrade because I do have an interest in photography and want to take photos that, you know, I don’t look at and think, “Ugh. People will think I’m an elderly woman slowly losing her eyesight.” Well, I guess it at least helps to improve the “elderly woman” image I’m trying to project.

Photoshop/Final Cut Pro

I have to admit, I don’t really make videos. I would like to make it easier for me though. All I have right now is a cheap program from Corel that is barely functional for me. I just can’t commit to Final Cut Pro though, even though I know it’s the best option for editing videos. After a lengthy search, I couldn’t really find an alternative that I was comfortable with in terms of features and price.

For editing photos and the like, I’ve been using Paint Shop Pro 7. Yes, 7. I’m that ancient. I’ve been thinking about getting Photo Shop, but again, is it really worth it? I’ve been fine with my dinosaur software program though. If only I can find the equivalent in a watch.

Timeless Thoughts: Excuse me while I pine for every single thing I miss in New York and will never have in Florida

This post is a part of Timeless Thoughts, a monthly link-up hosted by Georgie and Tara where bloggers share something they’ve missed from their past. OK. OK. That’s basically my entire blog, but I’m doing this anyway. Sue me.

The problem with moving from New York City to, well, anywhere else is you will always be nostalgic of New York and will try to feel the same way about whereever you’re living now. It’s just not going to happen. It’s like trying to squeeze Michelle Branch out of Justin Bieber.

There are many obvious things I’ve missed about New York. The architecture. Walkability. Good public transportation. Parks. Chinatown. Mispronouncing my r’s without being judged. It’s the little things you miss, you know?

Then there are things that I miss that I don’t think about that much. Food carts is one of these things.

In New York City, food carts are everywhere. They’re at every corner. They’re in front of courthouses. They’re there when you least expect them. The vendors know you’re hungry, and they’re ready to shove food in your throats.

The closest thing to a food cart we have here in Orlando is a food truck parked to the side of a Home Depot. The sad thing is that I’m not even joking.

Eating from a food cart may seem like an insignificant thing, but I’ve had fond childhood memories of eating hot dogs and honey roasted peanuts from random food carts at random places. You’re just not going to get the same feeling from eating a Big Mac from McDonalds.

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There are even food carts in Chinatown. I spent every weekend as a child with my family in Chinatown. From time to time, I would get what’s called mini cakes, which are small circle shaped pancake-like things. Yes, one can easily make them at home. The same thing with hot dogs. And, sure, honey roasted peanuts can easily be bought at any store. I am not reminded of my childhood when buying a container of peanuts from Target though.

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Food carts are local and owned by individuals. Targets are not. I’d rather support a local business. Also, I’d be at home. Part of the appeal of food carts is that they’re on the street, and you can just grab something to eat when you’re out and about. Cooking at home is the opposite of what I want. I want my hot dog on my way to the grocery store. I want to pay three bucks for it. And I want a big hairy man named Mike to hand it to me. Steve would also be acceptable.

If you squint your eyes, you can barely see Michelle Branch in this blog post

I don’t consider myself as a big Michelle Branch fan, but I do talk about her a lot. She s one of the few music artists I’ve discovered as a young age. As a teenager, I listened to mostly country music, which meant I had little to no exposure to other genres. I was a late bloomer. Over the years, my music taste has shaped to what I can only call “oddly eclectic. I often talk about Michelle Branch on my blog, but there are others that remind me of my past in some way. It’s just fun to always mention Michelle Branch because no one I know would guess that I actually who she is. Actually, I’m kind of afraid to know what the people I know thought what kind of music I listened to when I was younger.

Gavin DeGraw

As with a lot of people, a lot of the music I listen to come from popular culture, specifically TV shows. I was never a die-hard fan of One Tree Hill, but I watched it from time to time. I was instantly moved by the theme song because it brought out the rebel in me. That, or I could relate to it. I can’t remember.

Jack Johnson

I don’t exactly know I came across Jack Johnson (not to be confused with actor Jake Johnson). It might have been from Pandora. It’s a very laid-back acoustic style that I’ve grown accustomed to. Very much like Michelle branch, he has more or less disappeared. Where have they all gone to? Seriously, they’re probably hiding in a farmhouse in Indiana.

Green Day

I can already feel you judging me. Hey, I like Green Day. Sue me. I think I originally heard them in an old Disney Channel commercial in the mid-2000s. OK, you can punch me in the face now.

Getting to know myself intimately in a very public way.

I’ve said it once, I will say it a million times. I hate it when people ask me what my favorite things are. I immediately panic and my mind goes blank. By now, I should know that I always have to have default answers to questions I know I will get asked on a regular basis. Where are you from? What are your favorite TV Shows? What music do you like? What types of books are you? What type of Asian are you? Luckily, I know that I’m Chinese, so that’s one question that I don’t have to worry about. Yay. I will take a moment to celebrate by throwing dried rice up in the air. Oh, wait. That’s something else. Screw it. I’m throwing dried rice in the air to celebrate my Asianness.

You must want to ask me, “Kenny, how do you not know where you’re from?” Well, it’s complicated. Depending on my mood, I will give a range of answers. I usually just say that I’m from Queens, New York because that is where my heart is. Technically, though, I’m from New Jersey. Eh, it’s close enough. I do have a long-winded answer waiting in the wings for when I want to explain the saga of where I’m from.

For questions regarding my favorite things, I usually just say “A little bit of everything.” Sometimes they leave it at that. Other times, they ask specific question after specific question, and I’m lead down to an existential rabbit hole of awkwardness and regret.

The main reason why I do not like to mention the things I like is because I am a bit cautious about mentioning things that the other person might not be aware of. I always assume that the only shows they know of are Friends and ER and they’re only aware of super-mainstream bands and artists to, like, I don’t know, Madonna, the Rolling Stones or Beyonce. During one such occurrence, I said I liked Billy Joel and Hootie and the Blowfish. They’re fine, but they’re not really an accurate representation of what I like.

So, here I am, putting myself out there. I will essentially have a conversation by myself with the point of asking various “What do you like questions?” If you choose to leave now, I won’t blame you. I’m just hoping I don’t shrivel up and, you know, die.

What kind of music do you like?

Folk, Rock, Pop

How interesting. What are your favorite musicians/bands?

Joshua Radin, The Black Keys, Aerosmith

How about movies. What type of movies do you like?

Pretty much everything except for horror.

That’s a shame. What are your favorite movies?

50/50, Juno, Hot Fuzz

What’s 50/50?

It’s a comedy/drama about a man dealing with cancer.

Sounds sad. Do you watch TV?

Yes, I watch petty much everything.

Oh, great. Like what?

Burn Notice, Dexter, Breaking Bad

What do you like to do for fun?

The usual boring stuff. Writing, Reading, Web Design

Oh, you like to read? What do you like to read?

Pretty much everything. I especially like memoirs and autobiographies.

Can you give me some examples?

Amy Poehler’s book. There are others, but they’re really not well known. I like to read memoirs written by eveyday people.

How wonderful. I have to go now. Goodbye. -scurries off-

Um, bye.

Timeless Thoughts: I swear I’m not eating healthier. I’m just trying to please my parents.

This post is a part of Timeless Thoughts, a monthly link-up hosted by Georgie and Tara where bloggers share something they’ve missed from their past. OK. OK. That’s basically my entire blog, but I’m doing this anyway. Sue me.

Chinese takeout. It’s the two words every health nut run away screaming from. There’s just no way of trying to be healthy when walking into a Chinese takeout restaurant. When you’re going in, you know you’re committing multiple sins, gaining twenty pounds and possibly sacrificing your future child.

There was a time not so long ago where I would have absolutely no remorse going to a Chinese takeout place. I always get the same thing: sesame chicken, roast pork fried rice and two egg rolls. Extremely decadent, full of calories but it was a guilty pleasure I didn’t feel so guilty about. I know. I know. You’re hungry and you’re going to blame me for calling for Chinese takeout and basically ruining your life. You’re welcome.

I have always had certain health issues and, for the longest time, I didn’t take care of myself in terms of diet. You don’t want to know the number of nights I ate take out and never looked back. Heck, even when I started to take care of my health issues, I still ate takeout like there was no tomorrow. I like to both thank and blame my father for this sudden change. He happens to be a cook at a Chinese takeout place. I know. What a coincidence. It’s also horrible.

There was a time in my life back when I was eating sesame chicken on a regular basis where we would have the same old conversation over and over. It went something more or less like this:

“Ah-yah, Kenny. You need to stop eating sesame chicken. It’s so sweet.”

“But I like it.”

“The sauce has too much sugar. It’s bad for your health.”

“Ugh.” -sighs-

I did eventually stop because it just wasn’t worth it to have my father look at my in disgust every time he would see an empty takeout container in my trash and shame his head in disappointment. . Of course, my father does work at a Chinese takeout place, so it’s difficult to avoid eating Chinese takeout all together. When I do have it, I usually get Beef and broccoli lo mein, which my father approves. Ugh. I’m such a good son. I know.

Oh, look, I’m sitting on a tower of unfinished books and crying. Again.

Yes, the metaphorical crying is starting again.

I am going to step out of the shadowy depths of mediocrity and procrastination I’ve been hiding in for quite some time now to reveal that, yes, I haven’t finished a single book this year. Call the cops, alert the media, and send in the angry mobs with torches demanding that I finish Gone Girl.

Up until the end of 2014, I didn’t even start reading on a regular basis as an adult. I read here and there but for the most part, there was a whole lot of wanting to read and ultimately not reading in the end. I know it’s a sad revelation coming from a person who calls himself a writer. I am also a human though. Thank goodness I am not a turtle, or I wouldn’t have an excuse.

From September 20014 to May 2015, I read roughly 25 to 30 books. Although I did start reading on my own accord for some unknown miraculous reason, most of my reading came from doing The Book Riot 2015 Reader Harder Challenge. After May, however, I returned to the land of wanting to read, but for whatever reason unable to read a book for more than five seconds.

As noted in this post, I was planning on doing The Book Riot 2016 Reader Harder Challenge. I had even compiled a complete list of books to read for the challenge even before the start of the new year. Needless to say, it hasn’t worked out. I know. I know. What a surprise.

I had checked out seven of the books from the list from my local library. At first, I was optimistic because I knew I could renew the books a maximum of three times. This mean I could have them for up to three months. That’s plenty of time, I thought, to read seven books. This is especially because I chose mostly books I thought I could finish in a short period of time. Yeah… I was wrong.

For weeks, the books just sat there and as usual, I just stared at them knowing that I should read them, but ended up doing nothing. Eventually, I did read approximately. 40 pages of Stacy Pershall’s Loud in the House of Myself. I guess I should give myself a pat in the back and cry at the same time.

After five months or so of not doing much reading, I looked at the list of books again, and I came to the conclusion that for some of the categories, I’m going to have to choose another book. I just don’t feel comfortable with some of the selection I made several months earlier. I, of course, knew that I might do this later on, but I looked at the list and I thought, “Ugh, I think I’m going to change half of the list.” I’m impossible, I know.

Below is the original list of books I chose, along with any changes I have made.

Read a horror book – Forever Odd by Dean Koontz (Novel in a Series)

Read a nonfiction book about science – That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles: 62 All-New Commentaries on the Fascinating Chemistry of Everyday Life by Joe Schwarcz (Nonfiction) Changed this to Stiff by Mary Roach

Read a collection of essays – Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan (Collection of Essays) I am the fence with this one because I am currently in the middle of it, but I would honestly want to choose something else

Read a book out loud to someone else – I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak and Caroline Jayne Church (Picture Book)

Read a middle grade novel – The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dave Pilkey (Juvenile Novel) Would most likely change this to something else.

Read a Biography – The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan (Biography) Would most likely change this to something else.

Read a dystopian of post-apocalyptic novel – Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguo (Novel) Might change this to something else.

Read a book originally published in the year you were born – Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (Novel) Might change this to something else.

Listen to an audiobook that has won an Audie Award – Yes Please by Amy Poehler (Collection of Essays)

Read a book over 500 pages long – The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Novel) Might change this to something else.

Read a book under 100 pages – Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron (Memoir)

Read a book by or about someone who identifies as transgendered – She’s Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan (Memoir)

Read a book that’s set in the Middle East – Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour (Memoir)

Read a book that is by an author from Southeast Asia – First They Killed My Father: A Daughter From Cambodia Remembers by Luong Ung (Memoir)

Read a book of historical fiction set before 1900 – The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman (Novel) Might change this to something else.

Read the first book in a series by someone of color – Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older (Novel in a Series)

Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years – A Silent Voice Vol. 1 by Yoshitoki Oima (Manga)

Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie. Debate which is better – The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (Novel)

Read a nonfiction book that about feminism or deals with feminist themes – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (Memoir) Would most likely change this to something else.

Read a book about religion – O Me of Little Faith by Jason Boyett (Memoir)

Read a book about politics, in your country or another – Me the People: One Man’s Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States by Kevin Bleyer (Nonfiction)

Read a Food Memoir – Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn’t Make From Scratch (Memoir/Cookbook)

Read a play – Proof by David Auburn (Play) Would most likely change this to something else.

Read a book that has a main character that has a mental illness – Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl by Stacy Pershall (Memoir)

OK, so I really only made one change but, yeah, it is clear that more changes will need to be made. Particularly, I don’t know, actually reading and finishing them.

Revealing my deep dark secrets through my DVD collection

When it comes to technology, I’ve always been a few steps behind. I’ve never owned an Ipod or mp3 player. I still have a pay-as-you-go phone. I barely use Facebook or Twitter. The one thing I have done is rely on streaming services and the like for my media needs. Oh no, I’ve become the worst thing possible: a millennial. Quick, someone, save me from this horrible fate.

I collect pretty much everything. Although I have a decent DVD collection, it is nowhere near as large as I would want. I know. I know. It’s starting to becoming outdated to own a DVD collection now, but I do like having DVDs on hand. It takes me a while to finish a series. Heck, I’m still on season 3 of Breaking Bad. It’s also nice to have them on hand when the Internet connection is down. Here is what I currently have on my DVD shelf. On top of this, I have dozens of DVDs hidden in the depths of storage.

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I’m more of a fan of TV shows than movies but because of Netflix and other streaming services, I pared down my collection mostly TV shows that are unavailable online. Yes, among the pile of forgotten DVDs are various seasons of Friends. I know at least one of you is crying right now.

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I also have quite a few animated and anime TV shows. Although most of them can be watched online, with these particular shows, I like having DVD copies of them to preserve my nostalgia and memory of them. I’m such a sentmentalist, I know. That’s what you get from a person who has a nostalgia blog though.

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I’ve found it to be extremely difficult for me to find movies that interest me. With that said, as you can see, I like pretty much everything except for horror movies. If I wanted to be scared, I’d watch House of Cards. But, of course…

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I think I’ve lost all credibility since I happen to have this.

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Yeah, don’t ask.