Posts Tagged ‘comics bulletin’

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Newsletter Feed: One Bigass Sit. Rep! Two new podcasts, two new articles and a whole bunch of other stuff!

November 7, 2008
Whew!
 
    You’d think that being jobless would resemble some manner of paradise involving sitting on my ass, eating government cheese and doing absolutely nothing, right?  Wrong.  In the last month, I’ve put more time into my career (writing) now that I don’t have gainful employment than ever before.  I can honestly say that I’m going through one of those quantum leaps marketing-wise.  The kind I haven’t enjoyed since way back in 2001.  Most of my days have been spent schmoozing on the phone until the battery dies out on my portable, writing any number of different personal projects and assignments, blogging and working on my sites as well as those of others, and spending what little time is left in the evening taking care of things around the house and spending time with my wife while shoehorning research into other side projects. 
    Yesterday alone, I got up at eight in the morning, got a good running start at life and didn’t stop until around midnight.  Aside from a ten minute nap, I didn’t stop.  When I get a full-time job, it’s going to be a bit of a relief, because I’ll have the sort of structure again where I can allow myself to rest once in a while.  Even after getting a molar pulled last week and suffering from related migraines, I felt guilty taking a portion of two days in the last seven to relax and recuperate.  With as many hours in the day as I have at my disposal, I still feel as if there isn’t enough time to accomplish everything I’ve been setting out to do. 
    Bret Easton Ellis told me during our interview a few years back that he treated writing like a job, ‘clocking in’ at 9 a.m., breaking for lunch and then banging out of work around 5 p.m.  I wish I could stop that early.  While tiring, I realize how crucial the time I’ve been given is.  I’ve decided that I’ll be taking this holiday season away from the horrific nightmare that is retail to actually enjoy spending time with my family (new and old) for the first time in 16 years in addition to working on the multitude of projects that are currently under construction or already in progress.  As you may or may not know, the next two essay collections (Slapstick & Superego as well as Merry Prankster) are complete.  I haven’t penned a shred of new poetry for two weeks, but Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick (the next poetry collection) is well over 140 pages without even including the freaky 50 page project I worked on in July (‘Rock/Pop Goes The Weasel’).  And then there are the freelancing assignments….
    My beloved editor at Gusto (Brian Connelly) is apparently moving me up to the big leagues in terms of freelancing and I couldn’t be more grateful.  In addition to the Club Watch bar reviews, he’ll be phasing me into their ‘Tell Me’ section at the very FRONT of Gusto (page two after the front page), conducting interviews with artists, writers and musicians on the cusp of making their big break inside as well as outside of Buffalo.  In regards to that, I’m going to humbly request that if any of you know of an artist (preferably a musician or band) with an upcoming gig in November or December who doesn’t have a firmly established fan base and deserves a wider audience, please email me at once with biographical as well as contact information.  My musical tastes tend to run about twenty or thirty years behind, so I’m woefully ignorant where current up-and-comers are concerned. 
    ArtVoice has also given me the green light on one of two projects I hatched during the idea-storm I was besieged with on my honeymoon at Silvercreek in early October.  With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I’ll be writing a piece about the hot spots to hit on the day before Thanksgiving, which happens to be the biggest party night of the year, eclipsing even New Year’s Eve and/or St. Patrick’s Day.  Again, if you happen to be ‘in the know’ on a bar, club or pub that blows the doors off business wise before the turkey hits the table, drop me a line.  My deadline window is one week, and I NEVER miss deadline.  It’s one of the qualities that’s reinforced my reputation as a serious writer in Buffalo and I’m certainly not going to call that into question now. 
    Yesterday, I had the pleasure and privelage (sp?) of recording an hour long show plus with my podcasting hero Uncle Hal from the Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal show.  He was my first choice after being offered my own show at Think Twice and with zero notes, bullet points or questions, we managed to fill 70 minutes worth of the most offensive, irreverent comedy imaginable.  If Hal didn’t have an appointment, I seriously would have gone for two hour-long shows in a row.  I raced Episode XV out as soon as I could and my producer Richard Wicka at Think Twice uploaded it at once.  I strongly encourage you to listen at once over at:
 
http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html
 
    I had some issues finding the new episode with more luck refreshing on Internet Explorer, so if you don’t see Episode XV (and the subsequent ‘Bonus Round’), click Refresh and cross your fingers.  I’m not sure if the site is experiencing technical difficulties, but I’ll be getting to the bottom of it over the weekend.
    In addition to the Big Words One Man Mobile Unit, the Monsters Of Verse are full steam ahead.  I returned to Clarence High School on Tuesday to teach my first workshop on the mechanics of poetry as well as writing in general to Ms. Foster’s Poetry Club while recording the event.  That episode (#3, for those keeping track) can be heard over at:
 
http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/monsters/monsters.html
    
    Once again, I experienced issues finding the newest episode of each show on AOL, so if you have Internet Explorer, you’re better off visiting the site from there. 
    And last night, the Monsters Of Verse launched their second official reading at Talking Leaves on Main St. in Amherst.  JR Finlayson, Carrie Gardner and myself kicked off the evening in alphabetical order with fifteen minute sets of amusing, insightful and philosophical poems that the crowd really seemed to respond well to.  Due to a small snafu regarding our start time (I forgot that we started at 6 p.m. instead of 7), we read for an additional forty minutes for the sake of entertaining those who showed at or shortly after 7 o’clock.  Twenty minutes of the second set were lost from the digital recorder, so if you weren’t there, you won’t get to hear it once the non-stop rock block of genius goes up online.  Depending on where my day (and my weekend) take me, Episode IV of the Monsters Of Verse should be up on the web by Sunday afternoon at the latest.  I’ll shoot you all an email when I’m positive that it’s up. 
    I’ve had a lot of time to think in the last four weeks.  One of the things I was turning around in my head yesterday was just how…overjoyed I am to have two like-minded creative maniacs to tour Buffalo and beyond with for the next six months.  With Jeff Finlayson and Carrie Gardner on deck, I honestly couldn’t ask for two other people I’d rather be out and about reading with.  Aside from sustaining, supporting and inspiring each other, they remain my dear friends and I’m not so much surprised with how well our collective dynamic is growing and improving so much as I’m pleased with the results.  Maybe we’ll hate each other come the beginning of May, but I doubt it.  Their talent, professionalism and their knockout prognostication skills continue to sustain and inform my burgeoning poetry skills.  At the risk of getting gooey, thank you, Jeff and Carrie.  Our events (and this project) are a feather in our cap that I’m very, very proud of.  I realize that putting up with my thousand event-related emails, phone calls and frequent tantrums is far from fun to deal with (just ask my wife), and your respective patience and professionalism is slowly molding me into a better team player.  You two are the best.
    Our next stop on the quest for global spoken word domination hits next Thursday (the 13th) at Spot Coffee on Delaware and Chippewa from 7-9 p.m.  Three days later, we’ll be at my favorite bar, Desiderio’s on Broadway on Sunday the 16th at 7 p.m. with special musical guest Shaky Stage.  Attendance so far has been admirable, but where the hell have you guys been?  Carrie has brought the majority of our audience and I’m embarrassed to say that most of the Big Words army have been missing in action.  PLEASE make the time to show your face for one (if not both) of the next two events.  I’m disappointed in the total lack of support in terms of these promotions where you’re all concerned, and it would be nice to see some if not all of you out during this new experiment in our collective creative careers.  While I realize that our performances are not at the top of your list, you’re missing out.  We’ve had a great big barrel of fun so far and it’s only going to get better as we continue to sharpen our skill set on the road.  Forget everything you know about poetry and give us a try.  I promise that we won’t let you down, and the after-parties thus far have been phenomenal.  I’ll leave it at that.
    And, on a final note, two new articles popped up online this week.  This month’s issue of Acid Logic is rolling out hot at 15 mph with ‘Sawed Off Sam Walton’, a strangely topical essay about spending half of my life in the hell known as retail.  Read all about it over at:
 
http://www.acidlogic.com/retail_sucks.htm
 
    And after a month long unintentional hiatus from comic book reviews, I put my nose back to the grind and started pumping a few new graphic novel critiques and sending them off to my new editor at Comics Bulletin.  You can catch them every Wednesday on www.comicsbulletin.com.  Top Shelf Comics has been kind enough to send me more than my share of advance copies, review copies and entire libraries for research purposes having to do with the radio show, and one of the books they sent me stood head and shoulders above anything I’ve read this year.  Despite what you might think, I actually do read comics that don’t have Batman in the title.  This previous Wednesday, I gave Nate Powell’s Swallow Me Whole the credit it truly deserved.  Check that review out over at:
 
http://www.comicsbulletin.com/reviews/
 
    You may have to scroll down a tad as my show-notes inform me that it is no longer Wednesday and there isn’t a direct link to each review.  Since the Swallow Me Whole review, I’ve been hard at work building up a stockpile of other new reviews so that there aren’t any gaps on that site.  I’m neurotic about taking advantage of each and every site and publication I write for and I hate to be tardy to the party with any of them unless it’s absolutely unavoidable.  Writing comic reviews is a labor of love and it doesn’t even feel like work to fire off 5 or 600 words about every book I shovel into my brain.  Excelsior!
    That should be all the news that’s fit to print for the time being.  Thanks are in order to: JR Finlayson, Carrie Gardner, Richard Wicka, Greg Sterlace (farewell and good luck, new friend!), Jonathan at Talking Leaves, Josh Smith, Uncle Hal, Wil Forbis, Thom Young and last but not least, my wife.  Lindsay has had to endure hell and back and back around again in the last four months.  This wrongful termination from Gamestop was another curveball that we didn’t deserve or anticipate.  She’s a real trooper, and without her love, support and reliability, I’d be well past the point of sanity by now.  I love you, chipmunk! 
    Oof.  One final word.  Now that Hal has popped onto my show, I’ll be doing a walk-on over on his.  We’ll be recording Episode 61 (or is it 62?) next week and you know I’ll give you the head’s up once it’s online.  The two of us are the politically correct equivalent of a keg full of dynamite strapped to a minivan doused in nitroglycerin whenever we get near a microphone.  The Big Words episode was brutal, but now that we’re back in the groove, our show on his site will be worse.  You have been officially warned.  Have a great weekend,

 
Tom Waters
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Monday Big Words Update! Week 101 on stands/CHS Workshop Tomorrow/Talking Leaves THIS Thursday!

November 4, 2008

So…..

The Monsters Of Verse are full steam ahead and this crazy rig isn’t going to let up until at least the beginning of May.  Once the calendar year closes, we’ll be investing a great deal of time and energy into booking additional events, new venues and bigger appearances from February through May.  For now, though, we’ve got plenty to keep our hands full with the events we’ve got and new engagements keep popping up without us even trying!

Moving on, Night Life magazine assaults the Buffalo/Toronto market today with a Big Words edition of ‘Unenjoyment’, a stoical look at how my life would play out after Gamestop wrongfully terminated me so that they could promote a total incompetent racist drug addict into one of their new stores in the Buffalo market.  Scoop up a copy while it’s hot!  If you were on the free newsletter list (which you can subscribe to by emailing bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com with ‘subscribe’ in the subject heading), you got to see it first over three weeks ago.  If not, now’s your chance to read it in Night Life.  With 70,000 copies rolling off the presses every single week all over the Greater Buffalo/Niagara area, there are plenty of bars, restaurants and pizzerias where you can read all about it!

Tomorrow, I’ll be making a return trip to the hallowed halls of Clarence Central High School to teach my first writing workshop to the kids in the Poetry Club, the staff at Chrysalis, the on-site literary magazine (which has grown by leaps and bounds since I graduated in ’93), and a few other stragglers who got the exclusive invite from Ms. Foster and Kevin Starr.  You can hear the entire event some time later this week when it pops up on Think Twice Radio’s Monsters Of Verse site. 

This Thursday, the Monsters Of Verse kick off their second scheduled appearance/reading/signing at Talking Leaves on Main St. (near Bailey) at 6 p.m.   Jonathan (the owner proprietor of both locations) has been extremely supportive and helpful with all of my books for the last seven years, so bringing the crew out for another hoorah was a no brainer.  You can check out his listing/brief synopsis of the book over on Talking Leaves’ official site at:

http://www.tleavesbooks.com/watersplus.htm

Jr Finlayson, Carrie Gardner and myself will be reading selections from our newest poetry collections in fifteen minute blocks (so we have time to schmooze/hawk some books before the store closes at 8 pm sharp).  I don’t like to hold up employees at the locations where we have events scheduled near close, so please show up on time, bring plenty of friends (and cold hard cash!) and feel free to join us out afterwards!

I also pounded out two new graphic novel reviews for my editor Thom Young over at www.comicsbulletin.com.  One of the two should be going up this Wednesday, when they premiere their graphic novel reviews on the site.  I’ve been pretty negligent with them lately and I get neurotic when I’m not taking full advantage of every media stream I’m plugged into, so I’ll be focusing my creative efforts (with what diminishing free time I have) on getting a few more reviews backlogged for Mr. Young.

I’m not sure if there will be a new Big Words One Man Mobile Unit episodes this week, but we’ll see what happens.  This week is pretty hectic and I’m still reeling from my molar extraction.  I feel guilty for loafing even for a day or two, but some bed/couch rest wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.  We’ll see what happens.  If Uncle Hal stiffs again (which is becoming an increasingly more common occurance lately), maybe I’ll set something up on Wednesday with somebody else. 

And DON’T FORGET TO VOTE MCCAIN/PALIN ON ELECTION DAY, Tuesday, November 4th!  The Republican party needs all the support we can muster, so make the time, hit the polls and make your voice heard!  Our nations economy and global stance for the next four years depend upon it.  Don’t let the Spendocrats win this one, even if our last contender turned into a bumbling moron.  Who knows, maybe W. can find gainful seasonal employment with the soulless jackasses currently running Gamestop into the ground?  He’s got half a brain, and that appears to be qualification enough lately….

Have a great week and see you out, about and in print in Buffalo!

Vote Republican!,

Tom Waters

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Clarence High School Aftermath/Jeff Brown on deck for Big Words Radio

October 29, 2008

Yesterday morning, I had forty minutes with a group of students from Clarence High School’s poetry club, as well as a representative from their literary magazine, Chrysalis.  I spent the majority of my time reading pre-screened poems from Breathing Room Vol. I and II. and fielded questions from the kids while discussing the mechanics of style, form and creativity.  After being inspired in the eighth grade to journal thanks to a guest speaker in my Science class, I feel compelled to give back and hit area schools in an attempt to do the same.  It went very well.  I’ll be returning next Tuesday to teach a workshop on poetry to the same cross section of Clarence youths.  A big thanks is due to Anne Foster as well as Kevin Starr for making the in-school appearance possible.  Yesterday’s session was recorded and should be up online by about eleven pm tonight under the Monsters Of Verse banner at Think Twice radio at the following link:

http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/monsters/monsters.html

And after a month out of the studio doing Big Words One Man Mobile Units, I’ll be returning to record Episode XIV with guest artist Jeff Brown (Every Girl Is The End Of The World For Me, AEIOU, Clumsy, Unlikely) from Top Shelf Comics along with co-host SoCo Mike. 

I’m hoping that Jeff Brown is more of a good sport about things than Alex Robinson (Episode III) was after the show.  Odds are in my favor as Brown (Incredible Change-Bots) not only seems to have a finely tuned sense of humor but also happens to be the exact same age as yours truly.  Brown is one of the few writer/artists that Lindsay took a shine to, which is saying quite a bit. 

Top Shelf has been outlandishly good to me in the previous four or five months, sending review copies, advance copies and publicity materials for a lot of their best and brightest creators.  While I haven’t had a hell of a lot of time to write any reviews, I’m planning on dropping some new critiques into Comics Bulletin’s lap in the coming weeks.  The title at the top of my list right now is Swallow Me Whole from writer/artist Nate Powell.  I was so bowled over by the book (along with the staff at Don’s Atomic Comics) that I feel obligated to shower it with praise and get some work back in to Comics Bulletin at the same time.

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‘Fun Home’ review hits Comics Bulletin, CFI aftermath

September 4, 2008

I’ve just had two days off and I could use two more. 

Wednesday is apparently the day that graphic novel reviews go live up on comicsbulletin.com.  Thom Young (my editor over there) and I had a good long discussion yesterday morning and in the midst of it he let me know that my review on Allison Bechdel’s Fun Home had been posted.  On the re-read, I was all over the place, sounding off on homosexuality, political correctness, Elton John, David Foster Wallace, etc.  Read for yourself over at:

http://www.comicsbulletin.com/reviews/

And speaking of Elton John, the Night Life Big Words column this week is an excerpt from my 30 page monstrosity of an exposition on the complete discography (and then some) on Elton John that’s going to be in Slapstick & Superego.  The abridged essay covers only Elton’s last three studio albums, which I feel are as perfect a swan song for such an acclaimed career as any fanatic could ask for.  The essay is titled ‘The Divine Pop Comedy’.  I’m really proud of the excerpted edit as well as the complete piece.  Scoop it up on stands this week.

And finally, I did recording duty last night at the Center For Inquiry for Perry Nicholas’ brilliant Literary Cafe.  JR Finlayson was kind enough to read two of my poems for one of the open reader slots and read one of his own from his chap book Gypsy Stance Blues.  It was a diverse night full of quite a few talented local writers including Loren Keller, Martha Deed, John Marvin, Cory Neil and many others.  Think Twice should have it up on the CFI’s banner by week’s end at the latest.

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Rooftop Poetry Club Aftermath/Hellblazer: Joyride Review Up on Comics Bulletin

August 28, 2008

Long day…

Got up at four am and kept going.  Worked for quite a bit and then embarked on a trip to Buffalo State (my alma mater) to see Lisa Forrest and throw my hat in the ring for the Rooftop Poetry Club open reading.  I was going to make a podcast out of it (which I was on the fence about doing), but Lisa decided not to make it an official event and restricted podcasting and/or professional photography.  We had a phenomenal time in spite of the media coverage (or perhaps because of the lack of it).

     I read three poems and the other six or seven people out of twelve read two or three as well.  It was just good therapy.  I’m not good with the sad stuff or the romantic stuff, but I read it anyway and it went well.  At the close of the event at the E.H. Butler Library, Lisa announced that there wouldn’t be another open reading for poets until November.  Doesn’t that just figure that once I get back on the horse, Buff State is stupid enough to start phasing out one of the best ideas they’ve had in a century.  There ought to be a petition to keep it monthly.  I’m talking to you, Just Buffalo.  If it’s a matter of funding, someone should throw some money Lisa’s way.  It’s a brilliant concept with a large umbrella of talented writers and it would be a genuine shame to see such a wonderful venue go under because of funding, grants, exposure and so on and so forth.  This isn’t my fight, so I’m begging anyone else to take up the cause.  Good luck.  I started a battle with Buff State over their decision to pull funding for freelance writers at The Buffalo State Record when I went to school there back in 1995-1998 and lost that battle.  As a result, I left campus and became a professional writer, so perhaps everything does work out in the end.  Yet I digress…

     In other news, one of my new editors (Thom Young at Comics Bulletin online) and I have come to the decision that we’re going to run the graphic novel reviews every Wednesday up online.  If you like John Constantine: Hellblazer, then this is your week.  I’ve got a review up right this instant for Andy Diggle’s phenomenal new vision/reboot/horrifying entrance into the series with ‘Hellblazer: Joyride’.  Check it out by clicking over to:

http://www.comicsbulletin.com/reviews/121986238229540.htm

-And then rush out to your nearest graphic novel retailer (preferably Don’s Atomic Comics in Depew) and buy the goddamned book! 

That’s all I’ve got for today.  Long live Vertigo.  And would somebody for the love of god rescue the Rooftop Poetry Club.  I’m looking squarely at you, Just Buffalo Literary Center.  Food for thought.  There are so few decent open readings in this town and Lisa Forrest’s brainchild on the campus of Buffalo State is one of them.  Somebody save them.  That’s all I’ve got for today.

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‘Escape From Bizarro World’ Lances Its Way Onto Comics Bulletin

August 21, 2008

Yeah!

     That’s right, my sphere of influence continues to spread like an open sore.  My new beloved editor at Comics Bulletin and myself have agreed to throw my graphic novel reviews up once a week until further notice.  I coudn’t think of a better venue for comic book opinions, and honestly, it’s refreshing to find an online site that’s more than ready and willing to take my reviews ‘as is’ without frequent retooling (lke Buffalo Rising, for example).  Check out the ‘Escape From Bizarro World’ review over at:

http://www.comicsbulletin.com/reviews/

     And speaking of Buffalo Rising, ain’t it sad how few comments they’ve gotten in the last two, three and four weeks?  How very pathetic.  Either no one is reading or their own contributors aren’t signing in under their psuedonyms to chime in on their own work.  Boo hoo.  What is it going to take to have Elena Buscarino’s job, I wonder?  I’m not sure, so I’m just going to keep at it.  Now that we’ve learned that Newell is no longer in charge and that so and so and what’s his face are emptying their pockets trying to keep the ship afloat, I guess we’ll just have to dig deep and try harder, won’t we?  Or failing that, destroy someone else’s life with a minimum of effort.  It’s getting SO much easier, and it’s always been ever so much FUN!

     I just talked to my beloved editor (Ed Honeck) at Night Life today along with my longstanding contact at ArtVoice (Geoff Kelly) and all is right with the world.  It’s incredible just how much mud you can sling about one person behind the scenes as well as in front of.  It helps to have contacts, networking partners and so forth.  That’s neither here nor there, though.  I’ll just say that you can’t buy a stellar sphere of influence for destroying people, now can you?

     My Deepthroat connection is mute this week.  Perhaps he’s occupied, run out of good muck to rake, or just bored.  Time will tell.  I’m sure there are other platforms and crusades I can move on to, but I’m still waiting for word from Buffalo Rising that Elena Buscarino is dead/fired/insane/committed.  If anyone else has any good scoop, I’m all ears. 

    Keep me posted,

     Tom Waters

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Big Words Radio Episode 6: ‘The Monsters Of Verse’ Saddle Up!

August 14, 2008

     Believe it or not, once I got my hands on Think Twice’s Marantz portable digital recorder, I had to do another episode!  Jeff Finlayson, Carrie Gardner and myself have been discussing the concept of doing a few rehearsals so that we can work on our timing, our intonation, our delivery and our familiarity with our poems leading up to the paying gigs booked from October through May for our ‘Monsters Of Verse’ Algonquian thinktank promoting poetry, our books and the general belief that no one person should be more important than anyone else. 

     We’re really psyched about this ‘tour’, as it were, with a Screening Room gig in December, a Center For Inquiry Gig in May and a bunch of other spots I’d have to check my calendar to go over.   You’ll know more about it as the dates approach.  So last week, I approached a friend of mine about doing a series of secret shows at their restaurant on Tuesday nights when it was quiet.  Since he cancelled the notion after this first podcasted concert, I guess I can give up the ghost: it was Desiderio’s.  This saddens me, but if you listen to the show, you’ll find that it was a bit…intimate for a mass audience that wasn’t primed for the experience.  Carrie came down with a sore throat yesterday and couldn’t make it, so JR Finlayson and myself took to the stage along with Lindsay (who has volunteered as a backup reader in the event that depression takes me during the slated bookings). 

     I’m really proud of the show.  After the previous two, it’s inarguable that I was capable of pushing the envelope any further (comedically), so I decided to go in a different direction.  Think of this as a ‘very special’ episode of Big Words.  I’ve still got a few more plans in the works, but get yourself up to date over at:

http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html

     I just might have one more episode up my sleeve at week’s end but we’ll see where the week takes us.  I’m also very proud to announce that my entire SLATE of graphic novel reviews (the handful that Elena Buscarino at Buffalo Rising was too half-witted to publish on faith) have been gladly accepted over at Comicsbulletin.com.  You can read the latest post (‘Country Nurse’ by Jeff Lemire) at:

http://www.comicsbulletin.com/reviews/121864989018626.htm

    Busy busy.  By most reports from friends and loved ones lately, I need to slow down anyway, and to be honest, I hit the glass ceiling some time earlier this week and I’m starting to embark on a slow descent.  Everyone needs a rest some time, don’t they?  Whelp, it should be a nice downhill slide.

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