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Tale Of Two Relationships & Me

Along with being a very tiresome and emotionally draining week in terms of work, it’s been a week of ups & downs in terms of my personal relationships. Both situations happen to be with friends I thought I was really close with – both girls.

One is a woman who is a colleague but who is leaving the organization within the next 7 days. I became close with her a few months back and stupid me, I confided in her and opened up a lot of my inner-most feelings to her about my life, failures & stuff which I should not have. Although she came into my life with the full force of a hammer on nail, I now regret wasting my time talking to her all this while. I’ve never met her in person and it’s a good thing. She has turned out to be selfish, immature, petty and spiteful. Good riddance to bad rubbish. My final messages to her (I can’t be bothered to waste energy on a call) came last night after a exchange of smses and it’s over. Can’t wait for her to be a thing of the past!

The other is a friend who  has been one from 2005 or abouts. We became very close during 2006 when we worked out of the same office for the year and she is a very good friend and a special person. A few weeks ago a misunderstanding between us drove a wedge between me & her. Things were left unsaid and I choose to stop talking to her. After a couple of weeks she tried to reach out to me but it wasn’t working out. Yesterday afternoon she was on Gtalk and we chatted a bit. I told her about how what she did made me feel. She called me immediately and apologized and we talked about what happened. I found out why she had to do what she did and it’s perfectly understandable once all the points were on the table. Her fault – not letting me know the issues, my fault – not asking what the issues were or indeed if there was an issue.

Once I said that I was ok, tears filled my eyes and hers (I could tell and she admitted as such) and we were close friends again. Or did we ever stop? I told her how much I have missed her and even though I haven’t seen her in so long, those 4 weeks of not talking were the worst. She said so too and in view of our renewed friendship, I’m taking her out to lunch sometime next week. It will be good to see her and I’m looking forward to that.

One friendship (if I do call it that) lost, dead & buried and another one strengthened after getting bent! I’d say that it was an emotional week.

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The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown

After 2000’s Angels & Demons & the extremely successful Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown returns with another dazzlingly page turner in The Lost Symbol. This is the 3rd novel to feature Brown’s famous character Prof. Robert Langdon. This novel features the theme of god, freemasonry & the seeking of ancient knowledge & power. On its first day the book sold one million in hardcover and e-book versions in the U.S., the UK and Canada, making it the fastest selling adult novel in history.

This movie is set in Washington DC and throws Langdon into the world of freemasonry. Hoaxed into thinking that he is invited apparently from his mentor, a 33rd degreeMason named Peter Solomon, who is the head of the Smithsonian Institution. Solomon is actually abducted by the mysterious Mal’akh, a monster of a man who is obsessed with finding both the Mason’s Pyramid, which Masons believe is hidden somewhere underground in Washington D.C., and the Lost Word, lest Solomon be executed. He believes that Langdon can unlock the source of the power of the ancients.

The CIA & the local police are also involved in the investigation when Solomon’s severed right hand is found on the rotunda of the Capitol, a sign pointing the direction to Langdon. Solomon’s sister Katherine is also in the mix; her leading yet secretive research of Noetic Science is something that also attracts the attention of Mal’akh. Langdo & Katherine are soon captured by Mal’akh who places Robert in a tank of breathable oxygenated liquid, from where Langdon unlocks the code at the Pyramid’s base for Mal’akh, who then flees with Peter Solomon to the Temple Room of the Scottish Rite’s House of the Temple. Langdon and Katherine are eventually rescued by Sato and her staff, who race to the House of the Temple, where Mal’akh threatens to release a heavily edited video showing government officials performing secret Masonic rituals.

Mal’akh turns out to be Solomon’s son, Zachary, long thought to be dead in a Turkish prison and who resents his father for what he believes to be an unfair choice of wealth over wisdom. Zachary then orders Peter to sacrifice him, as he believes that it is his destiny to lead the forces of evil. Director Sato, however, arrives at the Temple in a helicopter, which smashes the Temple’s overhead glass panel, the shards of which fatally impale Zachary. The CIA then thwart Zachary’s plan to transmit the video to several leading media channels. Peter informs Langdon that the word Zachary tattooed on his head is not the Word. Deciding to take Langdon to the true secret behind the Word, Peter leads him to the room atop the Washington Monument, and tells him that the Word lies in the Monument’s cornerstone. Langdon realizes that the symbols that pointed spelled out the words Laus Deo which translate to Praise God, and which imprinted the small, aluminum capstone atop the Monument, which is the true Masonic Pyramid.

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The Zombies Are Here!

One of the scariest things to think about is if a dangerous & deadly plague hit the cities & the towns, turning the infected population into mindless zombies. You’ve seen it in the movies and probably read a few books too. The slow, sinister movement of the zombie may not be quick but when they catch up with you it sure is not a pretty sight. So what can you do to defend yourself when the zombie apocalypse happens?

Arm yourself with a baseball or cricket bat or maybe a hockey stick. Shoot hockey pucks at them faster than Mario Lemieux ever could. Get a sawed off shotgun and a large quantity of exploding bullets. Some grenades would be great and so will some landmines. Electric saws, swords, knives, spears, butcher knives, tasers, bazookas, AK47s, army tanks – you name it! I won’t go down without a fight. They won’t catch me alive. I’ll blow up the entire world before they bite into me!!

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Unwinding

This past week has been particularly hard on me. It’s been long, tough, mentally taxing and tiresome and the week has dragged by agonizingly slow.  Lots of pressure, tension and issues at the office and the idiots who revel in the misery of others are making things terrible for me. Now being the fact that they are clients and are taking full advantage of it, there’s only so much that I or anyone else can do. This leads to a lot of issues and sorting out of things on a daily basis and sometimes even more than once or twice in a day.

So after all that crap I needed some fun and drinks. So I joined a middle aged colleague of mine and a former colleague, for an evening of drinks and friendly chat. I’ve had drinks with the two of them during company parties but never just the three of us. So by 6 pm we left to join the former colleague in Palarivattom. Alapatt Regency was our venue and the 6th floor bar was a good choice – good food and the drinks kept on coming. I stayed with my usual vodka and 7up and they had brandy. We had beef, chicken & fish and chatted and joked for a long time. It was almost 10pm when I left from there. I took an auto home and reach here by about 10:20pm.

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One Way Trip To Mars

Well we have NASA has unveiled bold plans to send humans ‘one-way to Mars to colonise the  planet as part of ambitious investigations to permanently colonise other planets in space. The multi-billion pound mission, titled Hundred Years Starship, is being spearheaded by the Ames Research Centre, one of Nasa’s main research centres, based in Moffett Field, California. Officials from the Pentagon’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are also heavily involved in turning the science fiction idea into a reality. Early estimates put the cost of such a mission, which has “just started” at more than £7 billion and could be achieved by 2030.

Such a space journey would take up to nine months with volunteers embarking on the mission knowing they would never return to earth. This is because the cost of returning astronauts to earth would make the project prohibitively expensive. Supplies would be sent to make them self-sufficient. Such a mission would be gruelling for humans with forbidding conditions including sub-zero temperatures and a thin atmosphere. It comes as researchers claimed such a human mission was technologically feasible and was cheaper returning astronauts to earth. Their new study, in the Journal of Cosmology, found the costs of safely returning a crew would eat up the majority of such a mission’s budget.

Dirk Schulze-Makuch, from Washington State University and Paul Davies, from Arizona State University, said four volunteer astronauts could undertake the first mission to permanently colonise Mars.

Wow, could you imagine being one of the first humans to be born and raised on Mars?

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Sens Update, 29th Oct 2010

Well we have had quite a few games played since the last update. The Ottawa Senators finally won their first game of the season when on the 14th they won 3-2 against the Carolina Hurricanes. Mike Fisher scored his first 2 goals of the season. Brian Elliott made 19 saves after taking over early in the first for injured Ottawa starter Pascal Leclaire, who left with a lower-body injury. That win should have fueled them for facing local rivals Montreal 2 days later but the Canadiens won 4-3. Milan Michalek scored 2 goals in that game along with one from Erik Karlsson.

On the 19th the Sens visited Pittsburgh and were convincingly beaten 5-2 by Sidney and his gang. Ottawa, a first-round playoff loser to Pittsburgh last season, is 1-4-1 — partly because of a power play that is only 2-of-24. That includes captain Daniel Alfredsson’s goal at 5:40 of the second period, his first this season. A 3 day rest proved to be good for the Sens as they traveled to Buffalo and Alfredsson had his eighth career hat trick and reached 1,000 career NHL points, and Elliott made 34 saves in the Senators’ 4-2 victory over the Sabres on Friday night.

The Senators then started a home stand the next day but promptly lost to Montreal, who are proving to be their boogey team this season. Carey Price made 19 saves for his first shutout in nearly two years and Andrei Kostitsyn scored twice in the Canadiens’ 3-0 victory over Senators on Saturday night. So what could the Phoenix Coyotes expect when they visited the Canadian capital? Unaware of his own record-breaking goal, Alex Kovalev was delighted to make Sergei Gonchar’s 1,000th game that much more memorable.Kovalev scored twice and added an assist, combining with Erik Karlsson for the fastest two goals in Ottawa history to lead the Senators past the Coyotes 5-2 on Tuesday night. Chris Kelly and Alfredsson also scored.

That brings us to last night where the Sens hosted the Florida Panther and got contributions from all over their lineup to light up what had been one of the NHL’s stingiest defenses. Michalek, Fisher and Alfredsson each had a goal and an assist to lead Ottawa to a 5-3 victory over the Panthers on Thursday night. Zack Smith and Kovalev also scored to help the Senators win consecutive games for the first time this season. Elliott stopped 28 shots in his sixth straight start for Ottawa (4-5-1).

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Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage

Rush, the ultimate power trio band and premier of all progressive rock bands. 3 gentlemen who are masters of their instruments and revered by musicians all over the world. A band who haven’t been given their due in terms of recognition and in some albums, record sales. Yet they play large stadiums and constantly sell out world tours. We have rock stars, past & present, who praise the band. We have fans who have grown with the band, bought every album, try to attend every show that is in their vicinity over the years & decades. And we have fans like me – converted into one when I was 16 and heard my first Rush album and 18 years later still a fanatic.

Rush have had a recent surge in popularity & acceptance fueled no doubt by their last 3 world tours, cameo & theme in the movie I Love You, Man and appearances on live tv. The time was ripe for a good documentary about the 3 men who form Rush and so rock & metal documentary filmmakers & fellow Canadians Scott McFayden & Sam Dunn decided to honour Rush and create Rush : Beyond The Lighted Stage. The film offers an in-depth look at the Canadian progressive rock band Rush, chronicling the band’s musical evolution from their progressive rock sound of the ’70s to their current heavy rock style. The film made its debut at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival, where it earned the 2010 Audience Award.

The rockumentary follows the lives of Lifeson, Lee & Peart from their childhood and there is an impressive amount of old footage from their kiddie days. Family videos and photographs and interviews with their parents. The balance of the talking and the music is just right, and I love how they would show some of the original lyric drafts during many of the songs. You have lots of live concert clips inter-spaced within the dialogues. What will stand out most was the genuine friendship and love these guys have for each other.  Also how willing they were to make fun of themselves – it was a very open, honest look inside.  The bad critical reviews, the horrible fashion sense, the (unfortunate?) synthesizer era, the geek/nerd perceptions were all there with no sense of defensiveness.

What most rock fans will also love is the very genuine & honest endorsement & what seemed to me to me as fan worship by celebrities & rock stars like Mike Petrucci (Dream Theatre), Sebastian Bach, Kirk Hammett (Metallica). Jimmy Chamberlin & Billy Corgan (the Smashing Pumpkins), Vinnie Paul (former Damage Plan & Pantera), Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Gene Simmons (Kiss), Les Claypool (Primus), Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) & actor musician Jack Black. These guys are really vocal about their praise & adoration for Rush. John Rutsey, the band’s original drummer, died in 2008; tape-recorded comments from him are incorporated into the film, which was cool & nice and also a tribute to him.

Rush’s defiance of norms and sticking to their guns approach also shines through. They never jumped on any bandwagon, choosing to create their own path. They sound like no other band, even though they have been very vocal about their influences. And no one sounds like them, even though many bands & musicians have been very vocal about being influenced by Rush! Non-musicians like Matt Stone (creator of South Park), former MuchMusic anchor & current CNN anchor J D Roberts also talk about the band that they have followed throughout the years. The interviews with Geddy’s mom & Alex’s mom is also touching, as well as seeing old home videos of the band and Alex telling his family that he wants to quit school to focus on the band full time.

We hear Neil talk about his introverted personality and not being able to handle the fame that goes along with being 1/3 of Rush and one of the most revered drummers of all time. We also see the more personal side of him that came along with the crisis – the major crisis, well-known to fans, almost ended Rush. Neil experienced devastating personal loss when his teenage daughter died in a car accident, followed not long after by his wife succumbing to cancer. When Peart talks about his ensuing sabbatical on the back of a motorcylce, it’s the most moving part of the picture and the only part of the film in which he seems to open up. But we also see how Alex & Geddy waited & welcomed him back and then moved on. That warm human element is what stands out the most.

Exit the warrior, enjoy the video.

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My Dating Deal Breakers

Showing up late without a valid reason
If I can make the effort and reach on time, so can you. Set your alarm, get your clothes ready and leave in such a way that you reach the venue atleast with 15 minutes to spare. I’m worth the effort darling. So make sure that you are on time.

Farting and/or body odour
Ok, I’m not a bed of roses so I use enough deo to make you believe that I am in fact a rose garden! All I am asking is that you mask that stench and take a good, long bath with soap & shampoo and be presentable. And change your underwear woman!

Talking about religion
Religion is like shit! Bring it out into the open and it starts stinking up the entire fucking place. And the stench remains. Topic to be avoided.

Talking all day about your little neice & nephews
If you are interested in discussing children with me, 30 minutes is my limit. Any longer and I’m only interested if you are planning to have children with me! And let’s set about practicing the manufacturing process for a few months!!

Bollywood movies, songs & cricket
Almost unpardonable sin in my mind. I can’t believe that drivel is being paraded as entertainment. I have better things to do. Not worth the pain!

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Halloween – India Is Missing Out

It’s a fun holiday and an excuse to party and dress up more than anything else, even if it did have a different agenda when it was first celebrated. However, giving away free candy, dressing up and going to parties, meeting lots of people – great holiday festival! No wonder it is not celebrated in India!

Yes, Halloween and Thanksgiving are the two holidays that is celebrated in countries like the US & Canada and so fascinates me. I would really enjoy myself on Halloween as all things ghosts, goblins and scary stuff interests me and I would have a ball. This holiday is so good that there is a movie franchise named after it.

I can’t remember how many sitcoms, drama shows and stuff all have a Halloween theme atleast once during their run and connect the holiday into the storyline of that episode. It’s so much fun, these guys really know how to enjoy themselves. I am jealous. Anyways, the reason I don’t celebrate it is because I live in India and this festival/holiday is not recognized with the exception of some international companies based in India. But I would love it if it could be part of our culture as well.

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The Sony Walkman Walks No More

After retiring the floppy disk in March, Sony has halted the manufacture and distribution of another now-obsolete technology: the cassette Walkman, the first low-cost, portable music player. The final batch was shipped to Japanese retailers in April, once these units are sold, new cassette Walkmans will no longer be available through the manufacturer.

The first generation Walkman (which was called the Soundabout in the U.S., and the Stowaway in the UK) was released on July 1, 1979 in Japan. Although it later became a huge success, it only sold 3,000 units in its first month. Sony managed to sell some 200 million iterations of the cassette Walkman over the product line’s 30-year career.

This was my childhood’s equivalent of the ipod. The idea of carrying music around with you and listening to it was not practical at that time, until Sony showed the way. I remember that I must have owned around 10 of these gadgets at different times from the age of 8 till around the age of 27. I must have carried one for each long trip that I made during those years. I go through a tough year living in a hostel in Bangalore with the help of my walkman and the many rock albums that I owned. I listened to it constantly while I spent the 12-15 hours that it took me to travel via bus or train from Cochin to Bangalore. I listened to my walkman a whole lot while living alone in a lodge in Calicut for the most part of 8 months. It was a constant companion for many years.

I’m sad to see it being discontinued but it’s become almost obsolete with ipods and mp3 portable players becoming so affordable and increasingly larger capacities.

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Arsenal 3 Manchester City 0

Last night Arsenal took advantage of an early dismissal for their opponents and took charge of the game. Manchester City’s Dedryck Boyata fouled Marouane Chamakh when he was the last defender five minutes in  and was promptly shown the red card by the ref. Arsenal then went ahead as Samir Nasri exchanged passes with Andrey Arshavin and fired home, before Cesc Fabregas had a penalty saved by Joe Hart. In the second half Alex Song curled home to double the lead and substitute Nicklas Bendtner slotted in a third.

The result sees Arsene Wenger’s men leapfrog West Brom, Tottenham, City and Manchester United into second, five points adrift of Premier League leaders Chelsea. Arsenal were undoubtedly helped by Boyata’s fifth-minute dismissal but the manner in which they went on to dispatch a side who spent £100m on new signings last summer was to be admired. Their display gave credence to Wenger’s insistence that you do not necessarily need to spend heavily to succeed. And while City will be left to ponder their heaviest home defeat since losing 3-0 to Blackburn in January 2007, the Gunners can go away with renewed belief in their title chances.

Strangely former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor, who warmed up for the visit of his old club with a Europa League hat-trick against Lech Poznan in midweek, was relegated to the substitutes bench.

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Gunless

Gunless is a satirical comedy western made on a budget of $10 million and starring one of my favourite actors of all time, Paul Gross. Here in this movie he plays The Montana Kid, a hardened outlaw gunslinger from America who finds himself in a small town in Alberta, Canada while on the run from bounty hunters south of the border. It’s a cultural look at the differences between Americans & Canadians. He tries to recuperate but soon finds himself ready for a fight. Covered in muck & mud, he takes sourly to the fact that the local blacksmith Jack Smith (Tyler Mane in a very subdued & timid role, totally unlike the giant that he is) fixed his horse’s shoes without asking him. Furthermore it looks like Smith wants to keep the horse. The Kid challenges the blacksmith to a drawl but there is a problem!

Although the town’s store has bullets no one in the rural town keeps gun. Itching to satisfy his trigger happy self, The Kid strikes a deal with local spitfire Jane (Sienna Guillory) for doing odd jobs & help with some manual labour in exchange for the use of her broken-down pistol. The replacement trigger for the broken gun will take a couple of weeks to arrive so the Kid settles down in the town. He also gets a few fans among the townsfolk who have shotguns but don’t use pistols.

And then there is the local mountie! If you all remember, Paul Gross played the world’s most famous & beloved mountie (the wrestler Jacques Rougeau, Jr. & Duddley Do Right non-withstanding) in the hit series Due South. So it’s a bit odd to see another person play the mountie in the movie. But Corporal Johnathan Kent (played by Dustin Milligan and not Superman’s adopted father) offers little in terms of depth to the movie; initially smitten by Jane he seems to have relented his interests as the Kid seems more of a match for her. He then is seen at the end to be seen as the object of another girl’s affection.

Callum Keith Rennie, appearing as the Montana Kid’s bounty-hunter nemesis, emerges as a welcome villain. When Rennie’s character strides onscreen in his big black hat and announces, “I’ll bleed this town,” the actor exudes enough raw charisma to jolt the movie to life. The arrival of this Western baddie enables Gunless to get at the Western recipes that we all known — the standoffs, the guns blazin’, the Clint Eastwood “This is my path, I am what I do” speeches. In the end the townfolk side with the Kid and get rid of the bounty hunters with the help of the local mounties, who chase them back across the border.

It’s a welcome thing to see both Gross & Rennie reunite on the big screen after those two seasons on Due South. I especially liked seeing Tyler Mane, who up until now was best known for playing serial killer Michael Myers in Rob Zombie’s Halloween I & II remakes and as Sabretooth in X-Men and rarely had any speaking roles. Don’t expect much from this film, there’s little character building and the plot & storyline is predictable, and you can still enjoy it. 6 outta 10  but a 10 for M/s Paul Gross & Callum Keith Rennnie.

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What’s Good To Watch On The Laptop

This post is being typed in cafe Coffee Day’s Shenoy’s junction branch but I can’t post it live from there as the cafe doesn’t have a wifi connectivity nor do I have a 2G or 3G USB stick with me.

It seemed like such a bright but not too hot day and with such beautiful sunshine after all that rain in the last few days it seemed like such a shame to spend all of it indoors. Funnily enough, although I had spent all of yesterday inside the apartment and throughout the day the only strenuous thing I did was to go and make a couple of cups of coffee and maybe a cold drink of Tang late in the evening. I had realized that I hadn’t kept up to date with the start of the second season of Stargate : Universe and a quick check let me know that they were 4 episodes into the season. 4 episodes! Yikes, I soon searched for torrent files of the new episodes and started downloading them immediately. This is a really good season and I am obsessed with it, as you can tell with me posting a detailed look at each of the 20 episodes of the 1st season. This along with a few others are the only good ones that I like amongst the latest tv series.

Then there was the 11th & 12th episodes of Caprica. This is a weird format that they are following for their show, much like the creators of the new V reboot series. I don’t know about you but showing 10 episodes, followed by a break of a few months and then the remaining 10 is not my idea of keeping your audience happy. And as in the case of V, 4 episodes, a big break and then the rest. Also why can’t the minimum number of episodes of any good scifi series be 20? I love the Star Trek franchise with their 25-27 episodes per season. So much to look forward to and to share. The Stargate franchise has kept each of their series to 20 per season but that leaves a lot of gap for us fans to wait for. Atlantis was a prime example; although this series was cancelled towards the end of the 5th season, meaning that they had to wrap up the storyline and give the series a conclusion all too quickly.

I loved this series but only came to start watching it as the series was ending. I happened to find the first 3 seasons of the show in a dvd store and bought them on impulse (having never watched the parent series SG 1 but being a big fan of the movie Stargate which I also own on dvd). Within the first episode I fell in love with the show and the characters and the actors who portray them. I did impatiently download the 4th & 5th seasons via Torrent. It was a series which I felt didn’t get it’s due and had a lot of promise. With 20 episodes in each of their 5 seasons of existence, it’s just 100 episodes long. Now compared that to SG1 which had 10 years and twice as many episodes. Now I have only watched the 1st season and about 6 episodes of the second season of SG1 but I prefer Atlantis a whole lot more. Don’t get me wrong, SG1 is an excellent show – it’s just that I love Atlantis a whole lot more.

So it’s much later in the evening now, about 6:30 pm, and I’ve finished watching episodes 12 of Caprica‘s season 1 and episode 2 of Stargate Universe‘s second season. Tonight I will watch episodes 3 & 4. Who needs tv & cable? All I really need is a fast broadband connection and good people around the world who record and upload latest episodes of the best tv series.

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What I’d Do With a Million Dollars

If I had A $1,000,000….I’d be rich! I’m not sure if I’d do all the things that the Barenaked Ladies say that they would do in that much beloved song, but I’d love to get a million.

First thing I’d do is buy a big house or a really big apartment. With plenty of rooms. And a big car, large flat screen tv and better cable. With a pool table and a pool. A couple of big laptops and a desktop. I’d buy some cool electric guitar and hire an instructor to teach me how to play. I’ve always wanted to learn how to speak French, so maybe a hot French or French-Canadian female model to teach me the language. I’m always a cunning linguist!

Some new clothes, new shoes, some decorative pieces and stuff. I dunno, that’s probably what I’d buy. What would you guys buy for a million dollars?

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