Creative Writing 4

September 2, 2010 Leave a comment

This isn’t so much a story as it is a…well to be honest I’m not sure what I’d call it.

Story 4

There’s an episode of the U.S. version of The Office, where Michael Scott is shown at his improv group. Michael’s way of approaching improv is that the most outlandish scenario is always the funniest. In every skit he’s a part of he finds a way to make it so that he has a gun and is arresting everyone else, effectively ruining any and every sketch and anything his skit-mates may be trying to accomplish.

I’ve discovered that I have a similar approach to writing exercises.

I recently stumble’d across webook’s 911 Writer’s Block, which offers a number of writing exercise ideas in different categories, such as: settings, characters, dramatic entrances, dialogue, endings, and a couple others. After having a good time pushing the various buttons, I started doing some writing from them. Or, rather, I tried to do some writing from them.

I discovered that I couldn’t actually write anything based off of the exercises, but I did find new and unique ways to totally undermine the exercises. For my first bit of writing, I chose the settings option. Here is what I was given:

A wedding chapel in Las Vegas at 8 a.m. on a Sunday. An old man is asleep in the rear pew, a blood-soaked bandage on his left hand.

And here’s what I did with it:

The Owner of the chapel noticed the old man and approached him.

“Mister, you can’t sleep here. I’ve got a business to run,” the owner said, slightly shaking the old man. The old man started, then looked up at the owner. He smiled.

Gil Reznik was awakened by a nearby explosion. He tried shaking away the sleep by taking stock of his surroundings. He was still in the bunker and still had his platoon with him. He stood up and looked out into the blackness of the battlefield. Two hundred yards away, a twisted mass of steel jutted out of the soft ground. The damn Zaxnars where bombing again and sending out reconnaissance mines. He looked down at his protonics rifle, and made sure that it was fully charged. The swarm would be coming soon. He thought briefly about the dream he had just had. “What was that about?” he wondered aloud. No use making a big deal about it, though, he would forget about the whole thing soon enough.

You see what I did there? At the time I started seriously to question the validity of 911 writer’s block as a useful tool. What’s the point of using these writing exercises if I arrive at such a contrived and trite plot?

Despite my misgivings, I gave it another shot. I decided to go with dramatic entrances next.

An art opening at a lavish downtown gallery. A car crashes through the plate glass window. The driver’s door opens, and an eight-year-old girl steps out.

Here’s what I came up with.

The girl dazedly looked around at the destruction she had just caused. She opened her mouth-

Vic Slater turned off the T.V. This show was stupid, and besides, it was time to go to work.

“C’mon, man, we need to personify ourselves.” Vic threw his partner a tattered black suit coat.

“You got your claymore?” Andre asked, putting on the coat. Vic opened up his own black suit coat showing off his 9mm, the handgun of champions. They went out to the car, where some long-forgotten 70’s funk song blasted from the radio.

“Hey, man. Who’s hotter, Mary Jane or Gwen Stacy? Andre asked.

“Mary Jane, fo sho.”

“Whaaaa”

“Redheads, man, redheads are hot.” Vic licked his lips.

“You buggin’ out, man. You ever read the original comics? Mary Jane was all beatniky and shit. She was annoying as hell to have around. Gwen Stacy was a college girl, who was smart but not too smart.”

“Whatever, man. Anyways, we’re here. Let’s go in there and kill these guys, then we can go get some breakfast and talk about Gunsmoke or some shit and how it relates to our current lifestyle predicament.”

That one was even worse than the first. “We need to personify ourselves” Who the fuck talks like that? And hit men? How 1996.  Again, my attempt at writing a story based off of a concept from the website had utterly failed. This wasn’t going well.

I decided to put writing on hold for a day, and give it one more chance. I tried dramatic entrances again.

An attic room. A man sits at his desk, staring at a blank sheet of
paper. A red patent-leather stiletto flies through the open window and
lands on the floor with a thud.

Here’s what I came up with.

The man gets up from the desk and walks towards the stiletto. He stares down at it a moment before picking it up, a small smile slowly spreading across his face. He walks to the window and looks down. The dress was red, and way too short. It revealed long legs, and an occasional gust of wind would reveal even more. The lipstick matched the dress. A cross between the color of a ripe tomato and a firetruck. The hair was long and blond and blew playfully in the wind. The hair matched a thick handlebar mustache. She was by far, the prettiest cross dresser the man had ever seen.

A gruff voice rang out from the crossdresser who was now minus a shoe, “Do you mind if I come up, or are you coming down?”

The man took one last long look at the cross dresser before she and the whole scene shimmered and vanished, replaced by grey walls.

“Captain! Captain!” an ensign rushed into the holodeck. “A Klingon ship is approaching and hailing us.”

Picard sighed, putting aside the memory of the cross dresser in red. “C’mon, Ricky. Let’s go fuck up some Klingons,” he said putting his arm around the ensign and walking out of the room.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, and I was thinking it too. Star Trek? Transvestites? I had hit pay dirt, baby!

From now on, I”m using 911 writers block all the time.

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Creative Writing 3

September 2, 2010 Leave a comment

This story came out of seeing the Watchmen trailer way too many fucking times. I started thinking about what a city would be like with super heroes and villains, then I imagined what would have happened if all the heroes were killed and the villains were the only ones left, competing to outdo each other.

Story 3

Atop a building that nearly touched the clouds, a lone caped figure stood watch. The city of Megopolis was his backdrop, and his foredrop was the Megopolis Savings and Loan.  The figure checked his watch. 03:59:45. Now would be the time when the entire city was asleep. That is, if the city ever slept. 04:00:00 It was time.

The figure leapt from the edge of the building. He began a dive into nothingness. His pool was the concrete sidewalk hurtling towards him at 9.8 meters per second squared. An accelerometer in his cap went into action and the cape took on the form of an airfoil, slowing his descent just enough to discern the different floors of the Savings and Loan as the flew upwards.  The unmasked portion of his face, of which there was little, still managed to get windburn. He fell past a gargoyle statue that he had been using as a reference point.  Sensors in his mask recognized the gargoyle and automatically began a timer.  In exactly 4.296 seconds a buzzer would go off in his cowl. It would work, he had gone over the calculations and then rechecked them.  He had eliminated any wild possibilities due to slight shifts in wind or barometric pressure.  His plan was fool proof.
BEEEEEEP!

He shifted his weight accordingly.  Instead of diving headfirst he was now rotating and curling his feet in front of him. His cape had automatically changed shaped when the timer was up, so instead of slowing his descent it was also angling him towards the bank.

KERRRASH!

He broke through a window.  Razors were raining down around him as he hit the ground and broke his fall by rolling forward.  An alarm started blaring through the building. He had two hours. He made his way to the bank vault. A mountainous steel wall loomed in front of him.  The vault door was ten feet in diameter and four feet thick. It would take him most of an hour to break through, then it would take him an extra twenty minutes to find the deposit box he was looking for. That left him plenty of time to make his harrowing escape, which basically consisted of walking out the front door. He unhooked a couple of tools from his utility belt and went to work.

Forty minutes later his progress was going better than he had planned.  He would be breaking through any minute now.
Any.
Minute.
SPLEDOINK

And he was in.  Things were going perfectly. Almost too perfect.

“That’s enough, White Wasp.”

The voice startled him.  He should’ve been the only one in the building. The White Wasp turned to find-

“The Chartreuse Swallow?”

“The only natural enemy of the wasp, and I’m taking over this heist.”

“Sorry Swallow, the Megopolis savings and loan is my turf. Why don’t you check out the Megopolis Loan and Savings?”

“I was just there,” the Chartreuse Swallow pouted while stamping his foot and folding his arms dejectedly.  “It was already being cased.”

“You mean-?”

“Yes, the Obsidian Ocelot was already robbing it.”

“Shucks, Swallow, I don’t know what to tell you.”

“It’s alright, let’s see if you fare any better than he did.”

There was an uncomfortable silence as the super villains sized each other up.  The Chartreuse Swallow was the first to break the tension.

“C’mon, man.  The police will be here in an hour.”

“Right!” The White Wasp sprang back into action.  He suddenly remembered that he was in the middle of robbing a bank and took a gleeful moment to laugh at the absolute evil that he was committing. Gleeful moment over, he went back to work. The Chartreuse Swallow helped, barely. Mostly he just handed the Wasp tools while idly chatting about the old days, when things were better. The fights they had fought, the jobs they had pulled, the heroes they had thwarted. The White Wasp tried to tune him out and concentrate on his work.

Finally, thankfully, the job was done.  The White Wasp extracted the deposit box he had been working on, took another moment to savor his victory, he opened the lid and found-

nothing.

“Whaaaaa?”  The sound that escaped from him was undeniably not a word, but it also undeniably represented untold confusion.

“Yeah, the Pink Panda robbed this place last week.”

The White Wasp’s anger was unmeasurable. “Well, why didn’t you say that?” For a moment his shriek perfectly matched the pitch of the alarm that still buzzed.

“I thought you knew.”

“I hate you so much.”

“The cops will be here in 20 minutes anyway. C’mon, I’ll buy you a beer.”

“Really?”

“Well, I’ll rob a liquor store.”

“Fair enough.  Say, Swallow, as much as we hated them, do you think things were more fun before we killed all the super heroes?”

“I do miss some things about them, but for a while I was getting tired of going to prison.  It seems like every other month I would get busted and have to go back.”

“Isn’t that were you picked out the name Chartreuse Swallow, though?”

“If you know what’s good for you, you’ll shut your mouth about that.”

White Wasp smiled to myself and said in an almost inaudible whisper, “yeah, I heard that was what your problem was.”

“What was that?”

“Huh? Nothing.  Still, don’t you wish that we had at least one of them that was still alive.”

“There’s always Mother-of-pearl Mouse.”

“He’s paralyzed.”

“Oh, right.”

And the two masked figures walked out of the cold brick bank into the warm light of the rising sun.

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Creative Writing 2

September 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Here’s the second “story” for you. Looking back on it, I have no idea what was up with the names of the characters. I’d like to say that I was making them as generically bad as possible, but that would be giving myself way too much credit.

Story 2

Through an ethereal haze comprised mainly of grog fumes and pipe-weed, Drimming heard a distant voice calling to him.

“I’m sorry. Yes, how can I help you?” is what he meant to say, but it came out more like, “Hmmmph, errgg *belch* phew.”

“Hey!” The voice was clearer now, the haze was thinning. “You’re not sullying my nice clean table with your vomit and drool, is ye?”

Drimming opened his eyes.  Despite a slight blurring of his vision and a not quite so slight doubling of his vision, he started staring at the table. Drimming wondered what the barkeeper’s definitions of “nice” and “clean” were. He ran his tongue around his mouth, it didn’t taste like he had vomited. He had a purpose for being here, but what was it? He swatted at his head, there was a fly buzzing around bothering him.

“I said you can’t sleep here, mate, if you want a room that’ll cost ya.” It wasn’t a fly bothering him, it was the barkeep again.

Things were coming back to him now.  “There was a women, where is she?”

“You leave that wench alone, she’s put up with you all night, and I think you should pay for what you’ve drunk before you drunk more.”

“No. No, there was another woman.”

The innkeeper’s eyes widened in sudden, shocked understanding, “Now I’ve no mind to tell you what to do with your own coin, but this is a clean establishment and I won’t be having any alley walkers dragging the good name of my inn through the mud.”

“No. No, she wasn’t a whore.”  Drimming was getting agitated and said the last word a bit louder than he should’ve.  He became dimly aware of a whole common room full of eyes staring at him. He pushed the embarrassment aside; judging from the taste in his mouth, he was about 3 flagons and two pipes past any hint of modesty.  Who was the women and why was she important? What was he even doing here?  The gears in his mind started grinding against each other, slowly sloughing off alcohol infused rust.

While Drimming’s thought process was trying to build speed, the innkeeper recovered from his shock.  He began to whisper quickly and feverishly, “Sir, I’m going to have to request you lower your voice before I have Tib throw you out to the elements.”

“Are you still babbling, leave me be!” Drimming turned his head away from the babbling fool while raising his fist to his temple to block out further interruptions from him.  He barely registered the artifact clenched between his fingers. The innkeeper, on the other hand, was much more perceptive. He stepped back aghast.

“Thief!” The innkeeper cried pointing at Drimming. That managed to get his attention. Drimming turned his head to look at his accuser and noticed the amulet he held.  The previously mysterious events of the night came back to him in a flash.  He had come to this town to beg for help from the local cleric, Lelidra.  Kefka, the elven rogue from his group had tried to rob from the wizard, Zhim.  Zhim caught Kefka and punished him by transforming him into a crystal tree. The party managed to surprise Zhim as he was finishing the spell and slayed him at the moment the spell took effect.  The group decided that Lelidra was the only one near that even had a chance to return Kefka to his normal state, and Drimming was volunteered to request her help.  He had met her at the bar and she gave him her holy symbol along with the necessary prayers to reverse the spell.  Drimming had already drunk a few flagons waiting for her, and after she left, he had decided to reward his job well done with another flagon.  One flagon turned into five, five turned into five more, and those five more had turned into a number that was too high for Drimming to count to, even if he wasn’t drunk.  And now the innkeeper recognized the amulet.  Drimming snapped back to the present.

“Hey, hold on a minute.”  But it was too late.  The innkeeper was already by the door blocking his escape. Or waiting for something. Drimming checked his surroundings.  Most of the patrons of the bar were just that, they would flee from any fight. The only danger they posed him was getting in the way.  He had not gotten a good look of Tib, and now he was probably fetching the town’s guard, so he wasn’t sure what he would be up against when they got back.

He tried getting up.  It was much easier said then done.  Drimming was wearing quite a bit of armor, and he had had quite a bit of alcohol.  He tried once and failed.  He realized that he had the sudden urge to urinate, and the excess physical exertion was not helping things.  He waited for the feeling to subside and catch his breath a little.  He tried a second time, and managed to get up right as some of the guard was rushing through the  door.  The innkeeper was starting to explain the situation and had his back turned to Drimming.  Drimming stepped forward and his massive frame accidentally knocked the table over.  The noise was atrocious, and beyond that, the guards needed no further explaining.  They advanced towards Drimming, swords drawn.  He reached for his own sword and found it missing.  He lost the battle of wills with his bladder the moment he remembered that he had removed it while talking to Lelidra; she would not speak to anyone who was armed, or otherwise ready to do violence. The guards didn’t look like they were in the mood for negotiations, the grins on their faces suggested as much, their raised swords suggested even more.

The team would not be happy about this.

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Creative writing

September 2, 2010 Leave a comment

People are always telling me, “D.J., you’re so funny,” and I’m always like, “Shut up, baby, I know it.” Then they tell me that I should write some fictional stories, to which I reply, “eh, nah.” What I can do, however, is to post a couple of stories that I’ve already written. Sure, some of you may have already read them, but there are some who haven’t, so for those people it’s like new content.

That’s right, you’re getting old material, but it’s packaged in a new way. And you get this nifty intro. And it’s in HD. And 3D. BooYa!

Alright, you’re all smart enough to realize that this is basically just a double-dip version of a blog post. Well, just be thankful you’re getting an update at all, you little vultures.

Story 1

…and then he was struck in the face by a fish.

While this may seem like an odd way to begin a story, it’s actually remarkably fitting.  William, or, as his friends called him if he had any that is, William, he hated being called Will or Bill or Billy and especially Willy, had led up until this point and with one extremely major exception, a unremarkably usual life.  His was actually only remarkable in how usual it was.  So usual that it was downright boring, or was considered boring by most normal folk, who by comparison, lead ironically unusual lives.  William worked as a tax accountant.  Around tax season he was confined to a faux cubicle hastily assembled in the check out area of a grocery/convenience superplex.  He was one of those people that you see and feel abject pity for because they have to put up with the constant ringing of the cash registers. Beep.

It’s one thing to work as a cashier and have to put up with it. Beep boop. At least then you are taking an active part in the process and are more readily able to tune out the constant ringing. Beep.  But to be a passive listener.  Beep beep boop. One who is confined all day every day.  Beep.  It must be truly maddening.  Boop.

Besides the ringing, there is the fact that you never happen to see the accountant with any actual customers.  Usually you catch them playing solitaire or pacing back in forth in their cubicage with looks on their faces that suggest that their are contemplating the most effective way to off themselves, and whether or not they should take a couple of cashiers down in the process.

If you do happen to catch these accountants with a client, they’re generally little old women, carrying in shoe-boxes filled with receipts talking his ear off about how she considers her cat a business partner and wants to write off his food purchases as a business expense.  The tragedy was that William enjoyed his job.  Well, enjoyed it as much as William enjoyed anything.  Which is to say that he didn’t hate it.

William, for a short time, was a remarkably intelligent and inventive young boy.  He was considered by all of his teachers to be the brightest boy they ever taught, and, had he grown up in a more nurturing environment, could have gone on to do remarkable things.  However, his imagination and inventiveness was snuffed out, as it must be for all young children.  Unfortunately for William, his was snuffed at such a young age and so thoroughly, that not even a spark remained which could later be rekindled.

Of William’s pastimes, of which he had only one, he most enjoyed making model airplanes. The intricacies which it took to build them put him at ease, and took his mind off of the absolute nothingness that utterly surrounded the rest of his life.  The finished models would’ve also made a nice conversation piece for his apartment, which was utterly bereft of any kind of decoration beyond some simple furniture.  Unfortunately, William took absolutely no joy in his finished creations and would throw them away as soon as they were finshed.  Not that he would ever have anyone in his apartment (friends or otherwise) to converse with about his model planes. In fact, if directly questioned about it, William would be hard pressed to explain exactly why he made model airplanes, it was just something he did.

Fortunately, William’s meager possesions adequetely fit into a nice apartment which anyone else (meaning any normal person) would describe as cramped but William saw as being roomy.  The delicious irony being that William lived in the hustling, bustling, alive city and commuted out to the cookie-cutter, doldrum, same-old same-old suburbs. It was from one of these suburban gorcery/convenience superplexes that William was desperately hurrying home from, not that he had any reason to hurry; there was nothing at home to hurry to and there was nothing that he dreaded so much about work that he had to hurry away from.  Regardless, he was hurrying and walking in his usual fashion, head down, only looking up far enough to make sure he wouldn’t run into anyone.  For some odd reason, something caught his attention long enough for him to raise his head up to a normal eye-level height, and if truth be known it was actually a degree or two above that,

…and then he was struck in the face by a fish.

Thus begins a story which I never quite figured out how to end.  It would’ve gone on to explain how he got struck in the face by a fish and what it was that so irrecoverably squelched William’s ingenuity, but where that story led was entirely uninteresting to me, however, I did like the opening enough to jot it down here. Consider yourself lucky.

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Brooks beats Sumner

August 31, 2010 Leave a comment

If you think that politics are brutal now, you have to realize that most senators now are giant pussies. Sure they’re a bunch of blow hards that talk the talk, but none of them are up to the task to walk the walk. At least not like they did back in the day. And by back in the day, I mean some nebulous time that I’m not really sure on the details of. It was definitely after the founding of the country and before 1990. For sure it was in the 1850s, because that’s when Preston “Hard as Fuck” Brooks beat the everloving shit out of Charles “Meatbag” Sumner.

Sumner wasn’t afraid to talk shit, and made a fair amount of enemies in the senate. He was a staunch abolitionist, which in the 1850s didn’t buy many friends from the southern states, and called for the Fugitive Slave Act to be repealed. In a speech that lasted three hours. After making me listen to a speech for three hours, even if I agreed with everything he was saying, I would probably be ready to beat him too. Seriously, I get bored watching most television shows, and those are only an hour long.

When Kansas was first being settled and was about to make the jump from territory to state, there were a number of uprisings between southern racist bastards and good-hearted slightly-less-racist-than-southerners-but-still-opposed-to-slavery-northerners. Otherwise known as border ruffians and free-staters respectively. With all of these goings on, Sumner made a new speech condemning Kansas-Nebraska act and the authors of it. And by condemning I mean he ripped them some new assholes. While doing this, he poked fun at Andrew Butler’s physical appearance and way of speaking. This was no doubt hilarious out of context, but it became less so if you knew that the reason for Butler’s unique appearance and speech was that the had suffered a stroke a few years before.

Well, Preston Brooks, who was Butler’s nephew, didn’t like that. Not. One. Bit. So, he takes a walking stick, comes up to Sumner a few days later and proceeded to beat Sumner mercilessly. “You want to front mutherfucka, and diss my peeps. I’m as hard as fuck, muthafucka and you’d best stop talkin’ shit before you git got! South side represent.” Is what Brooks should have said during the altercation, instead he simply took Sumner, “Mr. Sumner, I have read your speech twice over carefully. It is a libel on South Carolina, and Mr. Butler, who is a relative of mine.”

This was not the usual way of doing things amongst gentlemen of the era. Usually there was a duel. However, when Brooks proposed the idea of a duel to one of his friends, Laurence Keitt, Keitt told Brooks that duels were for men of equal stature in society, and suggested that Sumner was somewhat lower than a gentleman, falling more in line with a drunkard. As bum wars have proven time and again beating drunks is hilarious so Brooks decided to go with the walking stick approach.

After the attack, a bunch of idiots decided to send Brooks a whole slew of walking sticks, often with suggestions as to whom he should beat next. Instead of being sent to jail for beating the shit out of a fellow senator, Sumner wasn’t even arrested. Well, if he wasn’t arrested he surely would’ve been kicked out of the senate, right? I mean, he nearly killed someone on the senate floor. Nope. He narrowly survived a vote to kick him out of the senate. Instead of staying on, though,  he choose to resign. Classy move on his part.

As for Sumner, it took him three years before he was able to return to work at the senate. Of course, in the 1800s people, when not being hard as fuck, were pretty lame. I mean, have you ever read any books written in the era? Those mother fuckers passed out at the drop of a hat. Seriously, I’m sure if you look hard enough you would find a case where some guy dropped his hat and went, “By Jove, I believe I feel a bit of the brain fever coming on.” Even after Sumner came back to the senate he suffered from severe migraines and from what is now known to be post traumatic stress disorder. In other words, Brooks done fucked his shit up proper.

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WAAAAAaaahhhhhhOOOOOOOOAAAaahhhhhh

August 29, 2010 2 comments

Lately, the last thing that I feel like doing is updating my blog. I can’t explain the reasoning behind this. I can comfortably blame it on laziness. I am a tremendously lazy person. I’ve made it a kind of Zen thing. More likely than the laziness is that I’ve lost a bit of the fascination wonder I had when I started this project. So, you know, that sucks.

Instead of not blogging, I’m forcing myself into it. Like pity sex, but for my blog. It’ll be fun. For you. The viewers. You voyeuristic bastards.

One of my fears of being a father is that my daughter will start asking me questions that I don’t know the answers to. I’ve toyed with the idea that everything is either the result of magic, a miracle, or the work of the devil. Generally, most of these explanations will involve a bizarre story involving some adorable woodland creature whose soul gets devoured in order to make whatever she’s asking about possible.

The reason I know that my daughter will ask me these sorts of questions is because her mother already does. Just the other day Samantha asked me why power lines make that annoying noise. After a long story involving a prairie dog that sacrifices its soul to Satan in order to travel at light speed, my wife called me on my bullshit and told me to google the real reason.

It turns out the reason that power lines make noise, besides Satan, is because of corona discharge, which will henceforth be what I call that little pfft that occurs when you mix up a Corona after putting lime in the bottle.

Well…good post, huh? Alright, see you later.

For those of you who (or is that whom? (no, no I’m pretty sure it’s who)) feel the insatiable need to know more, corona discharge is created by electric fields ionizing the air surrounding electric lines. The electricity traveling through the lines has enough energy to create a powerful enough electric field that the nitrogen and oxygen in the air start absorbing some of that energy and shooting off electrons. Now you’ve got  lot of  electrons and positive ions shooting around and bumping into neutral oxygen and nitrogen, this creates more electrons and positive ions, something called an electron avalanche.  Once you’ve got a bunch of free electrons and ions, you’ve got yourself a plasma.

The current going through the power lines gets transferred to the plasma surrounding it, which causes the plasma to vibrate at 60 hz, and makes an audible buzz. Beyond the buzz, corona discharge can also create a purplish glow, though not usually in power lines. This glow is the cause for the eerie St. Elmo’s fire (the phenomenon, not the crappy Schumacher movie) and is theorized to be one of the causes of Will-O’-the-wisps.

Blood! A mild rant.

August 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Hey! Where’d this post go?

I can assure you that this post is still around somewhere. I just decided for securities sake to take it down for a bit. If you’d like a copy of it, feel free to email me at david.j.bigalke@gmail.com and I’d be happy to send you a copy.

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