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I am the son of an engineer who was the son of an engineer, and I approve of this message:

... found via [lj user="gardenfey"] ...
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My mom's dad used to like to mis-read cards. Drove my grandmother nuts when he would read a Father's Day card as "Happy Fathead's Day"... and, of course, it set us grandkids to giggling. Grandma was even less impressed when he'd try to help her read her "Happy Meathead's Day" cards, of course... =)

I miss both of my grandfathers, but the loss of my dad a few years back changes the mood a bit. Not all that much, because Father's Day is really more about the children than the father himself.

Mr. B and Rachel are off in the wilds of western Massachusetts today, so I do miss entertaining them with all the talk of being a Fathead, but I did talk to them on the phone earlier. They authorized [profile] aequitaslevitas to hand out the loot, and so in a little bit we're going to listen to Dream Theater's Systematic Chaos and watch Ian Anderson Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull.

[profile] aequitaslevitas ran out this morning to pick up bagels and cream cheese (nearest deli that knows what bagels are is about an hour round trip, not counting time to stand in line...) so all is well on that front...
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When I was just a wee little lad, I spent my spare time designing houses.

These were houses in the way that, say, a mansion of the rich and infamous that sprawls over Hollywood Hills might be called a utility shed.

I liked wings. Lots of them. And different levels. Not to mention waterfalls, pools, recording studios, movie theaters, gardens, grist mills, libraries, gaming rooms, and all kinds of other things - and that's just within the walls of the house itself.

This resulted in Rooflines. Many, and of various angles. Still with something of a Classical or at least Gothic architecture.

I would show them to [livejournal.com profile] patrixa, and she would smile and nod, or maybe ask where I would put storage closets or something useful I had forgotten.

I would show them to my dad, and he would say: do you know how many places that roof will leak? The water will pool up here and there and everywhere...

~ ~ ~

My mom pointed out an article on the almost Suessian1 Stata Center building at MIT. Now, I remember discussing the building with my dad while they were still building it, and we both made jokes about how much it will leak, not to mention other design aspects. Clown College, he called it, as did other MIT faculty.

Apparently, surprise surprise (not at all, really), it leaks.

1: Almost Suessian - too many sharp edges. Suess rounded things, generally, and left them with a more organic look.

On 38

Jun. 4th, 2007 09:29 am
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I think I finally figured out why I would always think of my dad as being 38.

If someone asked my dad's age - which many did around and after January 2006 - my first thought was "Oh, he's 38." Of course, once he got into the 50's and 60's that thought didn't usually come out verbally, it remained unspoken as I shifted gears and tried to come up with an accurate number.

I would have been 10 or so when he actually was 38, and I just couldn't figure out why I would take that one year's result as his age no matter what it might have been at the time.

I finally realized why on the ride into work this morning: his office and lab at MIT was in building 38 for quite a while.

Anyway, associating that age with my mind's idea of an archetype age of fatherhood comes with feelings that I'm changing - more of an adult, I suppose - having reached it.

Of course, I felt something similar last year, the first birthday (his and mine) and father's day without my dad, and I wonder if I will ponder along these lines every year at this time, from here on out. If so, it's not a bad memorial.
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A few days ago, some family members stopped by for a visit.

Both of my grandfathers were there - I'm sure of it - although they weren't part of the focus, indeed I didn't actually see them.

[livejournal.com profile] patrixa's mom was there, looking as I remember her being for most of my life, with a tiny hint of her last few years, and a slightly larger but still small impression of her from some pictures I've seen of her when she was much younger. She was smiling, not talking, always facing me, and always remaining a few feet away - I'd say "hovering" but I mean that in the sense of feet-on-the-ground, as one might do at a party.

My father was much closer, with an arm around me, and he was happy. Whenever I moved around, he stayed with me. He was the only one who spoke, although he only did so once.

There were other people in the dream as well, from work, other friends, all milling about talking about a variety of things.

After giving me a quick hug, my dad said, in a very reassuring manner: "Why don't you let us dead folks stick around, okay?"
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It's been almost a year since I first noticed my father's health might be not so good. We took a short hike along [livejournal.com profile] thetrail. He mentioned that he had always wanted to walk on the AT - and had been in and around it, but never on it. He didn't feel so good - just tired - and we almost didn't go, but I insisted, and we went, and got a couple of pictures of him on the trail, with the white blaze just over his head.

By mid November, the vague "eh" feeling had definite symptoms - blood clots in his legs - but no definite reasons. Cancer was ruled out through a series of tests and scans. Nothing definite showed up anywhere. Mid-December - the 15th - it was determined that he had some kind of cancer. On December 23, it was confirmed as gall bladder cancer. On January 26, he died.

~ ~ ~

During the entire course - from the vague nothingness to the clotting to the lying in a hospital bed plugged in to this, that, and everything else - when asked how he was doing, he would answer "okay" and then immediately turn around and ask, "And how are you doing?"

It was kind of maddening when you're trying to keep an eye on his health and want to find out exactly what his state-of-being was, but he was more interested in finding out what your state-of-being was - he wasn't sidestepping the issue, it was important to him to know how you were doing.

That he was dying, he was well aware... but how were you doing? He wanted to know.

~ ~ ~

I've been thinking about this a lot over the last six months or so. There is really nothing more important, although it may seem like it at times. How we act to others defines who we actually are. How we treat others when things aren't going well for us - even when we're almost dying, up until we are about to die (which happens only once, and can excuse certain behavior) - is far more telling than how we treat others when we're on top of the world, happy as a lark, with nothing but blue skies from now on.

So, how are you doing?
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The great thing about genealogy, is that you wind up making contact with distant - and not-so-distant - relatives that you had no idea even existed.

Case in point, after a few hours of work, I now have 2065 people in my family tree - and I still have several other branches of the Ingoldsby/Ingalsbe/Ingalsby/Engalsby lines to go, all because a relative in the Ingalsbe line saw my earlier post and made contact (Thanks Duffy!) I've been entering in data from 90-something pages of information, going all the way back to 1230 AD and Sir Roger Ingoldsby, Lord of the Manor Skynand and the Manor of Ingoldesby, England.

Regicides, Vikings, and Other Ramblings )

Still much more work to do - to get the rest of the Ingoldsby lines recorded, and to continue through the cubic foot or so of paperwork my dad left me. There's also a lot of interesting little bits of legend, story, and history around the ancestors in the Ingoldsby document and in my father's material - but that will be a second or third pass through the materials before I assimilate all of it into one place. As I said, much more work to do.

Oh, and [livejournal.com profile] snowy_owlet? I've got that Sons of the American Revolution thing down and documented in a dozen or so places, if I want it. Now, do I actually want to go there? =)
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Turns out Sir Richard Ingoldsby wasn't in the Wight line - nope, my 10(Great) Grandfather Ingoldsby had a 5(Great) Granddaughter Inglesbe who married my Thrice Great Grandfather Warren. It remains to be seen whether Sir Richard is the Sir Richard of The Ingoldsby Legends fame. Certainly, Thomas Ingoldsby, the writer of said poetry, is of no relation to anyone except Sudy Nimh. Well, that and the Barham clan, but if they're in my tree, I haven't found it yet. Of course, Sir Richard might also be *that* Sir Richard Ingoldsby, but I don't know - and at 1617-1685 that would put him at 4 years old when my 9(Great) Grandfather John Ingoldsby was born. The dates could be wonky, or, more likely, they're different Sir Richards.

Also turns out that there were three Inglesbe generations - the first of which was an Ebenezer - and there were three generations of Ebenezer Ingoldsbys preceeding him. In between the last Ebenezer and Sarah, there's an Elijah so they kept up with that theme.

Philip Ghost McFadden (1833-1919) was the inspiration for Brandon's middle name, although I knew nothing about Rachel Bates White and Rachael Kendal Bailey when we named Rachel - her 7(Great) and 4(Great) Grandmothers.

Although we have a lot of variety - and oddities - in the Riddle line, I haven't come across a Tom. Yet. Of course, I've got a whole subsection of them that I haven't linked in to the tree yet. They're technically unrelated until I figure out where they get plugged in. Anyway, as a catalogue of names that just might have once been in fashion I give you:

Great Grandmother Alcy Mae Riddle McFadden
As-yet-Unrelated Benonia Grant Riddle and his wife Mary Jane Poingle
Ditto for Damie Anne Riddle Phipps
Alcy Mae's sister, Edna Elvena Riddle Moyer
Another unrelated-at-the-moment Erastus Leyburn Riddle
Twice Great Grandfather George Washington Riddle
-and my favorite-
Twin Boy to Earl Riddle (who is not, at the present time, related)

Of course, there's also a boatload of Franks, Harrys, Josephs, Ralphs, Roberts, Matthews, Marys, Sarahs, and John Alphonse Riddles mixed in there.

George Allen Sr, with a birthyear of 1568 ties generationally with Sir Richard, but he's the only one with a date on him. Curiously, both his wife and his son also have good birthdates, and I was warned that Katherine was 37 years younger than Sr. and of the ripe old age of 14 when Jr. was born. I think they had different rules for that sort of thing back in the 1500s.

That said, there's probably a missing spouse and a first marriage in the one we found who appeared to give birth to her daughter at 8 - and that's just a wee bit young. Most likely an error in the records.

Oh, another correction from yesterday, possibly: Yorkshire, England, not York.

Anywho, 353 relations, currently, and we're only half-way through the one document we're working on, and still have quite a few folders, each with quite a few documents, remaining.
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Well, Tom Riddle is, anyway.

Or, at least, I expect there's at least one Thomas in the pages o' Riddles.

I've looked in exactly four folders out of many that my dad had collected, and I've really only made a half-way thorough pass through one of them. There are now 250 relations in my family tree. Justin read them off, helped me sift through, and document everything, starting with the Warren folder.

We have lots of letters to read in-depth - I know some of them contain information that is pertinent, along with a dose of interesting happenings. Scanning some of that material, we discovered that the Genesee Mill in Michigan (likely Hillsdale, but I don't recall) was built by thrice-Great Grandfather, John Morris Warren I. I have two grandmothers (so far) named Rachel - to be fair, one is Rachael. They are twice and thrice great, if memory is to be trusted. Then again, my memory makes swiss cheese look secular, it's so holey.

There's a whole flock of Ebenezers... Wight, White, Inglesbe, Ingoldsby, Allen )

Down the Irish line of McFadden... Riddle, Ghost - Germany, Ireland, York )

I did get all the way back to Obidiah, sort of... Warren, Blood - pirates! )

Warren - Revolutionary War, Mayflower )

Not there yet, but I'm working on it.
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My dad will be published in a medical journal... Dr. Zhu called my mom earlier today to ask for permission.

The rareness of the type of cancer and the speed at which it moved make it article-worthy, as there are lessons to be learned and so forth.

Not quite consolation for the first Father's Day without my father, but a nice gift nonetheless.

~ ~ ~

In other news, [livejournal.com profile] patrixa continues to be frustrated with her Macintosh, and is moving to a Dell/Windows system, because she thinks they are friendlier, easier to use, less likely to be hacked, and less likely to crash. :: thunk ::

Yes, I have explained to her that is not the case, but there you have it. On the plus-side of it, I'll get the G6.
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Thirty and Seven
by Everett A Warren

June 3, 2006

Perhaps it is inevitable
I find now that my father's gone
That I'm more and more the adult
I was supposed to be
Perhaps it is only me
But I find echoes of him
In my decisions
Once they're made
Perhaps it is something
That was always there
That I only notice now
After he's gone
Perhaps since I can no longer see him
I seek him in me
I see where he shaped me
Where he created me
Perhaps it is time
That has helped me to learn
More of myself
More of the world

But I am not him
And it's not his path that I walk
It is my own, guided by my own star
Perhaps it is best that way

Copyright (c) 2006 Everett Ambrose Warren

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Gentleman Farmer
by Everett A Warren

May 26, 2006
…a birthday present for my Dad,
who always told me that this was what he wanted to be when he grew up…

As its told in the lore
The rooster crows early in the morn'
And the sun goes and crawls right out of bed
It stretches way up high
Nearly reaches the sky
And it looks out over the field

But about an hour before
While rooster dreams of chicks and corn
And is still tucked away snug in his bed
The farmer is awake
And settin' down his rake
As he calculates the crops and their yield

He's a gentleman farmer
Sippin' ice tea as hired hands work his lands
'Cause a gentleman farmer
Wields executive powers and works them banker's hours
And a gentleman farmer
Sits right back and lives the good life

While you and I snore
Bright and early before the day is born
And we're curled up warm in our bed
He's settin' on his rear
And steerin' a John Deere
As he tills yet another field

Yeah, he may say
He's taking it easy
Watchin' all them other feller's work
But if I know him
He's keepin' hisself busy
And those guys he hires are flat out of work

He's a gentleman farmer
Sippin' ice tea as hired hands work his lands
'Cause a gentleman farmer
Wields executive powers and works them banker's hours
And a gentleman farmer
Sits right back and lives the good life

Copyright (c) 2006 Everett Ambrose Warren


May. 27th, 2006 09:43 am
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Hmmm... might make frasadillas for the cookout on Monday... have to taste test the sassafras leaves first and make sure they're ready.

A few odd dreams, one might have a story in it. Strange off-beat stuff.

The bear (one of, rather) walked up to the back of the house, nearly to the deck, and then right under the family room window, about three feet from the house. It was Justin's first sighting. One of the smaller ones - only about two hundred pounds. From discussion with my neighbor, there are at least one of about twice that size. Another neighbor sighted a mom with four young 'uns crossing the street down by the old mill stream (at the end of the block and around the corner.)

Deb reported that after the bear went around the corner, it seemed to have been spooked by something and took off across the the neighbors yard. Maybe Tanis or Tika chased it off?

Wrote a birthday present for my dad last night - it's on the other laptop. He always said that when things go really bad, at least it helps me write some really good stuff - well, in this case, it's not really good stuff, but silly and whimsical, a look on what might have happened if he was able to become what he called a Gentleman Farmer (owned the farm, didn't have to do the work.) I'm willing to bet if that had ever happened, you wouldn't be able to stop him from working the fields, especially if he had a tractor. I'm still considering holding off on posting it until his actual birthday - most of you know this will be the first where he's not in attendance, but if anyone wants to catch up on the backstory it started here and is summed up here - but he either already read it or isn't ever going to, depending on how that stuff pans out...
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Which is mostly because I personally moved half a brazillion wrenches, screwdrivers, sockets, drill bits, dies, taps, vice grips, pliers, micrometers, metal rules, c-clamps, left handed spanning wrenches, and other assorted oil-coated and cured mechanisms, gizmos, gee-haws, gadgets, and tools.

My mother screamed in horror when, in Mirrormask, Helena and Valentine first found the key, and again when they entered the room with the pillar of locks.

In which keys are counted with accuracy, and sometimes wielded with same, and in which large heavy objects are moved from here to there, and in which the Police fail to appear when called, and other assorted adventures... )


Apr. 25th, 2006 09:04 am
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Well, I made it to the end.

The last of the discs I inherited from my dad is in the player. I have listened to nothing else since I returned with them from Massachusetts back in January. Each disc was played once during the workday, one after the other, whenever I was not on the phone (not something I do all that often) or in a meeting (a couple hours a week on average.) All single discs then went into the car (or a pile to get into the car) and were cycled through there - still have about ten or so to go on that account, but that's less of a milestone, as all the 2-4 disc operas and box sets of symphonies and DG Trio sets of quintets and Phillips 2CD sets are too awkward and dangerous to open and access in the car.

This disc - specifically Deutsche Grammophon 435 074-2 GGA2 "Antonin Dvorak: Ouverturen - Symphonische Dichtungen - Symponsche Variationen" performed by the Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks conducted by Rafael Kubelik - was one I had searched long and hard for. I finally managed to get it at a now-out-of-business classical disc shop in Wayland, MA, despite the fact that it had gone out of print. I'm a fan of symphonic poems, and, as some of you may have guessed, of fantasy and myth and so forth. Perusing a copy of Opus, many moons ago, how could I not be attracted to a recording that has a series of symphonic poems with evocative titles such as Der Wassermann, op.107; Die Mittagshexe, op.108; Das goldene Spinnrad, op.109; or Die Waldtaube, op.110? (That would be, respectively, The Water Goblin, The Noonday Witch, The Golden Spinning Wheel, and The Wood Dove. Among the overtures in the collection is Othello op.93 - and, in addition to symphonic poems, I tend to collect anything I can find influenced by good ol' Billy Boy - and In der Natur, op.91 (which doesn't really need translating...)

As I've mentioned here before, my dad also happened to really like symphonic poems, Dvorak, and, even more particularly, the kind of music on this disc. A gem, he described this recording as. He listened to it whenever he could - during our visits we often found time to listen to new stuff without interruption as the wimminfolk went out for one reason or another. He would request this disc almost every time, until I finally gave it to him for a birthday present. From his reaction, I'm pretty sure he felt it was the best gift I had ever given him.

I missed the disc for the 5 years or so since I gave it to him, but now I have it back, and I miss having my dad around to listen to it with me.
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I'm listening to one of my dad's discs - Dmitri Shostakovich's cello concertos, played by Heinrich Schiff and conducted by Maxim Shostakovich - and I'm remembering a visit from my dad a year or more ago.

We found ourselves at Borders, just browsing, allegedly (or maybe going for something specific, I don't recall.) Well, we have had a good source of prog and metal discs here in the valley, but for classical, pickings are slim and Borders has the best selection, so we decided to browse through there.

My dad stopped at a particular recording - an old album brought into the digital age - and he turned to me and said "Buy this. If you don't like it, I'll buy it from you, but you will like it." Now my dad tended to be very strict on spending money, and tended to advise saving it over spending it. I don't think I ever remember him being so adamant on me buying something. The closest might be my first razor, but that doesn't quite count, because he actually went out and selected one for me as a gift.

I picked the disc up and we rushed home and listened to it, and I kept it. I think he was halfway hoping I wouldn't, even though he knew I would like it. The recording was Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1, performed by its dedicatee, Mistislav Rostropovich.

And now that I've just finished listening to Schiff's performance of Concerto No. 1 - which was excellent - I must say that it pales in comparison to the Rostropovich.
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I'll be heading up to MA this weekend. The core purpose of the trip will be to ferry Justin up there so he can go see Les Miserables with [livejournal.com profile] patrixa. The secondary purpose - and my involvement, instead of some other arrangement was for me to get to spend some time with my dad.

That, of course, won't exactly be happening. Besides, he stopped by Tuesday night for a visit:

In a somewhat similar - although far less ominous - situation as Dickens employees as his opening for The Christmas Carol, the dream had a handful or three of co-workers taking a course of some sort at some location in Technology Square, and I was discussing with them how strange it was to be near MIT and to not drop by and visit my dad who, as in reality, had passed away. At lunch, I was going to head over to a (quite fictional) place in Central Square with a co-worker. We hopped on the bus, allegedly on Mass Ave although it looked more like Mt. Auburn or somewhere even more thickly tree lined. I dropped some stuff and, while picking it up, I stopped to check on my dad, who was sitting several seats in front of us. He was fairly still and quiet and looked much as he did in the last week, except without the jaundice. He started coughing, and I tried to make him comfortable in the bus seat, and then I finished gathering what I had dropped and stood back by my original seat, commenting that I was worried because his cough sounded similar to the way it did before he died.

~ ~ ~

Well, I'd much rather hope he's not spending an afterlife endlessly riding the MBTA - I think he'd be much happier even if he was biking those same routes everyday...

Sounds simple there, but that took me a few days before I could write about it. Anywho.

Back to this weekend: [livejournal.com profile] rowancat (and others in the area), I'll have some free time on Sunday, around 2:30-3:00ish pm - maybe get together for a late lunch/early dinner in Harvard Square or some other nearby location? I'll be dropping my mom and son off downtown and picking them up when the show's over - and then heading back down to PA.
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Why are pianists included in an animal piece?
Because, like peacocks, they often look better than they sound;
Because, like hermit crabs, they'd really rather play by themselves;
And because, like snakes, they depend on scales to get around.
Camille Saint-Saëns - Carnival of the Animals;
Pianists - alternate text and title by Peter Schickele

In which I ramble at great length about pianos, pianists, and other somewhat related themes... )
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"For know you, that your gold and marble city of wonder is only the sum of what you have seen and loved in youth."
H.P. Lovecraft - The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath

Funny, sometimes, how much importance is placed on destinations - places to go, places to be; things to see, things to do. Funny, really, how sometimes the journey itself is what proves memorable so many years later, the destination half-remembered at best, lost beyond even the trivial realm, where all the random useless facts live out their random useless lives.

The destination and the journey... )

But everyone remembered that it was my dad that brought us in safely.

"It is the glory of Boston's hillside roofs and western windows aflame with sunset, of the flower-fragrant Common and the great dome on the hill and the tangle of gables and chimneys in the violet valley where the many-bridged Charles flows drowsily."
H.P. Lovecraft - The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath


Feb. 5th, 2006 02:58 pm
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So, yesterday, while heading south on the New York Thruway (or Throughway, or however they spell it,) I started feeling a little sleepy. And then I see the sign for the next exit: RIP VAN WINKLE BR and that explained a lot.

Then I started paying attention to signs (after consuming a highly caffeinated beverage,) and I started wondering the kind of things you start to wonder 170 miles into a 330 mile solo road trip. Like CATSKILL CREEK. Did they kill a lot of cats? Did a roving pride of cats kill a lot of something else? Or do they have one of those vocational schools that teach you things like how to land on your feet, eat small rodents like ding-dongs, and have a complete focus on something while feigning total disinterest?

The last was really ruled out as a valid interpretation when I went across the WALLKILL, but that still leaves you with violence against or perpetrated by walls.

Of course, if you really wanted to go out on a limb, you could think of the Dutch influence in the area, and you could propose that "kill" is just Dutch for "creek," but that would be silly, because than the state would have signs that read, in translation, "CATS CREEK CREEK." That's almost as absurd as if somebody called their chai "Chai Tea" which translates to "Tea Tea." Silly, silly, silly. Preposterous, even.

Anyway, I'm home, and my mind may or may not be intact. I did go around a corner near Springfield, MA and could suddenly hear out of my left ear. Still stuffed, though, so it's nowhere near 100% normal.

I stocked my cd collection with the ones I inherited from my dad - almost doubling the classical section - and as I'm putting them on the shelf I think to myself: "Wow, dad will really be impressed with this collection when he comes down next time. I bet there's a lot here he'd like to listen to." I suppose it would make a good "People Unclear on the Concept" cartoon (Mr. Boffo, I think?)

One of the discs is a two-cd set of Dvorak's symphonic poems - all folklore and faerie tales - that I bought about 12-15 years ago. My dad didn't discover I had it until I had moved down to PA, and he really liked it, always wanting to listen to it, so I gave it to him for a birthday or Christmas 7-9 years ago, and he was thrilled. We joked about me getting it back as part of my inheritance, so it was really more of a loan. Wasn't supposed to get it back so soon.

In other news, Justin decided to break his own nose, smacking himself right in the safety glasses with a crowbar. He's got two or three bloody marks, and it's starting to swell.


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