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Feb
07

Genre: Horror

Publisher: Quick Books

Published: 2007

Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths

how-to-survive-a-horror-movie-by-seth-grahame-smith

 

How to Survive a Horror Movie, by Seth Grahame Smith is a comic, but practical, overview of how a person could survive if they found themselves trapped within the various sub-genres of horror. Seth gives tips to the potential victim which range from useful to humorous, to outright odd. If some of these things did happen to you, this book would help, although most of us will not find ourselves being chased by supernatural serial killers any time soon…we hope.

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After a general introduction, Smith breaks the horror genre into the following sub-sections: Slasher Survival School, Inanimate Evil, Crypt-ography, Fangs of Fury, and The Satanic “Versus.” Each of these chapters outlines how to persevere through these types of deadly threats. Again, comedy is mixed with advice which would aid an individual dealing with such horrid situations.

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The read is fun and smooth. This would be a good vacation book. I read the whole thing on a red-eye flight and I think it was a good call. Enjoyable, but not overly taxing. I think all lovers of horror movies would find something they would like here. The author obviously had done his research and put in his time getting ready for this guide. He finds the humor in the movie stereotypes and topples them on their ear, while also poking fun at some of them. He also reviews what you do not see in these movies and how that information could also help you escape the various evils. Things like escaping from the serial killer by using full frontal male nudity (Because there is never such a display in those movies) would bust you out of the film.

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Downsides could include, the book only focuses on film and ignores other expressions of horror. He also makes a few snap judgments or defensive choices with make it seem like anyone who has not thought of such things already is ignorant, including the writers or viewer of movies.

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As a huge horror movie fan (I own hundreds of films) I found this how to book very enjoyable. I believe other horror movies fans would as well. If you are not a big fan of horror, you might look elsewhere for your vacation reading.

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zombies-old

Jan
03

I sit for a moment in the airport. Big beer/Small Salad. Pausing, I try to think on what the New Year will bring. What will it mean for me and the rest of the people and animals wiping around the universe on this giant glowing ball of life.

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Sitting within such a crowded place teeming with people tends to make a person humanocentric. I think most of us tend to be this way more often than not. Whether for good or for ill, our lives circle around the importance of our own species. I suppose we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for this, since I’m sure bobcats mostly think about bobcat things, and sharks do their own dance through the depths.

Yet this type of thinking gets us into trouble. On the money-making side of the street…what do the homes of field mice and birds matter if I can convert this stretch of forest into an apartment complex and make 500 grand. “Hey, don’t come down on Mark Moneybags, he’s creating jobs too.”

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I also don’t intend to let liberals of the hook. They make layers and layers of rules and regulations in the hope of perfection through litigation. “Oh, we need to stop bullying and there was that extreme example of Blah so let’s rake everyone through system who does 5% of Blah. We created all these jobs to monitor Blah and even though it isn’t a problem most of the time and is happening less than ever through the entire history of humankind, they have to justify their salary somehow. Guess what, whether those kids were bullied in fourth grade or not, won’t really matter in sixty years when they’re rotting away.

Why search for perfection in a social environment? Because the population is growing so large we’ll all soon be sharing a bed? Why be so selfish your needs trump the needs of the environment and animals. I suppose we all do it, the animals do it too, they just aren’t as good a destroying the world as we are.

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Are you expecting an answer from me? There are a hundred, maybe a thousand answers. There is an issue though. We are all bombarded with all the things we can do to help ourselves and the world. Usually we pick the easiest thing for us and then harp over how big a difference we’re making.

I’m a vegan, so it is okay for me to commute 50 miles five days a week. I’m a bike commuter, so it’s okay for me to eat steak. My new 500,000$ home has an energy efficient dish washer. Well guess what, fuck you, if you even bother mentioning that to me. You can commute by bike to work, be a vegetarian and have a compost pile and still have a negative Earth Balance.

Hey wait, what, did MDG just make up his first new term of 2017? Well yes, I did.

Earth Balance: The balance between the positive impact and the negative damage one commits against the True Environment.

The chances are…you, everyone you know, and possibility everyone you will ever meet will have a negative Earth Balance. It might be possible to have a positive Earth Balance, but even that could be nebulous. How many whales would you have to save to cancel out 10,000 miles of car exhaust? Such things might be a subjective and difficult thing to measure. Perhaps and activist who saves 200,000 acres of forest in Alaska could sit on their laurels and make it to the grave in the positives, but let’s face it, the vast majority of all people in every country take far more than they give.

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An interesting side note, on an individual basis, usually the less money you have the less you pollute.

  1. More vehicles = more CO2
  2. Buying more food (And Meat) = more waste.
  3. More vacations = larger carbon footprint.
  4. Better jobs/better housing = Longer Commute
  5. More machines = less things done by person/animal power.

Face it, those folks washing their clothes in the stream are kicking your ass.

So how can you increase you positive Earth Balance in the New Year? Is it even really possible? Well first off, of course it is. You could sell everything and start growing crops. You could donate money to the nature conservatory. I’m not telling you to do that, but if you aren’t bed ridden, we all CAN make changes, but if you have a good job and three kids, we need to be realistic, right? No…Yes. Do we?

Remember I’m not trying to tell you I’m perfect, but I am willing to think outside of the death machine. Together it is possible. What we think is impossible can be the possible. What will be your first step to help our wild?

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For a while I’ll remain a very hard man to track down.

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Light at the end

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sweet-dreams

Dec
30

I sit alone within a darkened house. Outside the rain washes over the deep green moss which appears to cover most of the exposed stone one sees in Seattle. I am back from a city hike. I return damp and revived. Like a forest within a city, I sit for a moment alone and dry within a city of unknowns.

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Fitting I should end the year exploring and enjoying a city new to me as I live one more week of WildernessPunk, urban style, in 2016.

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I could review the concepts I brought up over the last four months or I could wax on about the promise of a new year, but I don’t feel the need to trail down tired roads. Besides as far as I’m concerned, the New Year started on the Solstice and we’re already a good week into 2017.

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One thing I will bring up is a few numerological aspects of this New Year. 2017. For me it will be the only year ending in 17 which is the day of the month both me and my lovely daughter were born on. 2 + 0 + 1 + 7 = 10, which it the number of Hecate the Goddess of the Crossroads, Choice. She is also the Goddess of Law, Will, Economic Plotting, Magick, Royalty, Witches, and Charisma.

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I have a few ideas and projects I’m ready to evoke during this upcoming year as well as a ‘To Do List as long as the arm of Titan.

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Funny how we can’t help but conceptualize the New Year as a new chapter. A fresh chance to make changes or different choices about our lives. Things we want to do and habits we no longer wish to indulge in occupy our minds. A time to start and yet a time to finish. Often, they quickly become empty words, but many of us try again and again.

Does the Maid, Matron, and Crone offer any guidance for you? Can you hear the words of the eternal Goddess or is that your cell phone beeping?

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How about WildernessPunk? What aspects of l

iving closer to the earth can you embrace this upcoming year? How close to True Environment can you get? What could you do to help the Earth or at least minimize your part of tipping her into oblivion. Is creating 60% as much trash as the average person instead of 80% really going to cut it? Is that good enough for me? Is that good enough for you?

Are you wondering what my goals could be? I guess this is my blog and you managed to get through a page of this action…

I have a 1000 goals. This is a bit foolish, but exciting as well. Turn in to see which 100 I’m able to pull off.

And what are you going to do?

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For a while I’ll remain a very hard man to track down.

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teminator

Dec
26

Published by Titan in 2012

Genre: Science Fiction

Stars: 5

martianwarbykevinjanderson

 

Martian War, by Kevin J. Anderson proved to be a great way to end my year in reading. Okay, I might sneak in another book or two, but this was a fine climax to a wonderful year of books for me. Again, Titan has picked a novelist who exceeds the genre and Anderson does a wonderful job giving his novel an old Victorian feel, both in subject and style as well as setting the scenes for the reader.

 

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Alright, I might as well just come out and say this. The book has the astronomer Lowell in it. I live in Flagstaff where Lowell set up his observatory. This was where he viewed the ‘canals’ on Mars. I have been to the observatory several times and to have this character, or should I say historic figure, be part of the novel was just plane awesome for me. Also, not to ruin the story, but they show up in Flagstaff later. Yeah, I was a little giddy.

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Lowell is teamed with…wait for it…Doctor Monroe as in The Island of Dr. Monroe. Monroe is an evil but logical fellow and most of their team comes from his POV.

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HG Wells is a character, as is his famous professor Huxley and the woman, Jane, HG Wells fell in love with. Just delightful to see these real people come to life. Such extensive research and so nicely done.

 

Both teams learn Mars is about to invade Earth in a manner which could see our planet losing the war. Both teams struggle to learn what they can and proceed to take a more active role in making sure this does not come to pass.

 

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I must stop here because this novel is just so good, I would not want to ruin any of the surprises for you because you should read this book.

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Downsides? Unless you just do not like classic and steampunk style fiction then not much mud to throw here. Some of their acts are pretty extraordinary, but not overly so.

 

So, if you like the classics, science fiction, and/or steampunk, this book is just a must read. Check it out.

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Dec
08

Published by ChiZine Publications in 2012

Genre: Fantasy

Stars: 3.5

 

The Inner City by Karen Heular is a short story anthology covering an exploration into the odd and fantastic. It might be heard to pin down these tales and place them in any standard category. I had not read a Chi-Zine Publication for a long while and they have always been one of my favorite contemporary publishers.

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I had been saving this and read a few stories over the recent holiday. I bounced around between two books and came back to this one. Upon returning to Arizona. I started in on the rest of the anthology. I found the stories inventive and unique. If you could place the stories in a theme, it could be they tended toward internal tales dealing with more mind than body. Self-inspection over acting out eternally.

 

The first tale grabbing me was The Inner City in which Lena looks for a job by following hunches and leads instead the typical paths. As she moved deeper into the cooperation, she will discover they could give her an offer she can’t refuse.

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The Large People proved to be quite strange. Patricia finds a group tall office workers growing in the earth. Once they are fully grown, they march into town with interesting results.

 

Another I liked was Creating Cow. This is a Horror story with a bit of misplaced comedy as well. More action in this one and some twists. A young vegetarian tries to create a cow with slabs of steak and hamburger. When it works, she finds it an almost impossible task to keep it hidden. When it begins to kill, she does not how to proceed.

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Heuler put a lot of thought into her short creations. Possible issues with this might be how odd these stories are. If you are looking for more action packed traditional fantasy or urban fantasy, this is not your standard fair. In a few places, I lost the thread of the story, but could be drawn back in.

 

If you like original stories that help you question reality, you will get some kicks out of this one. This mind candy worked well on my vacation and is a nice addition to my Chi-Zine collection.

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skinjumpers

Nov
29

Published by Xlibris in 2016

Genre: Fantasy

Stars: 3

 

The Dark Matter by DM Flexer is a fantasy novel more than anything else, although there are some odd dashes of science fiction thrown in. It takes place on Atlantis, which is a progressive city wise before its time and led by president Seneca.

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The readers are quickly introduced to the leaders of this impressive island as well as their Amazon enemies. After this brief stage setting the Amazons attack. The warrior women are mighty and the island is hard pressed to defend itself as are its leaders. The women proceed to rape many of Atlantis’ leaders including a rather long scene where Seneca is beat up and then molested.

 

The Amazons are beaten back, but they leave the island in a state of horror and death and this all happens before you are halfway through this short novel. The terror of war is laid at the reader’s feet, and Seneca escapes from the Amazons only to discover his wife is dying, but then at the last moment aliens arrive and save her with a healing potion.

 

The aliens offer to remove the remaining citizens because the island will soon go under the waves and/or be revisited by the Amazons. Soon the choice has to be made whether these people will move from earth to a planet where the new sun’s rays will transform them into animals.

 

I have to say the author fits a lot of plot twists and varied action in such a short novel and appears to have set it up for a sequel. The character development is done well, but we are still rushed through intense situations very quickly. I am not sure what the point of making helpless men get raped so often, but perhaps he is trying to get a message across about how awful it is for anyone.

 

This book was alright, but did not really thrill me. I liked Seneca, although some of his inner turmoil seems a bit silly. Rape is never fun, but I doubt think I would be having nightmares about a dead woman who forced a kiss on me. Men just do not react the same way to such things. Hell, I’ve had that happen to me a few times myself and never lost sleep over it. I might read the next one if I got it for free, but I would not be rushing to do so.

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aportal

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skinjumpers

Nov
27

Published by Wolfsinger Publications in 2011

Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by Michael D. Griffiths

Stars: 4

 

Claire by Kelly Kuntz is a science fiction novel. In the far-flung future a group of rough necks space fighters create a new field of employment revolving around protecting freighters from space pirates. It is an exciting and dangerous job, but the people are very loyal to each other. This is why it is so tragic when a miscalculation forces Claire to have to quit being a captain.

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The brother of the woman Claire accidentally killed comes to visit the outpost in the hopes of exposing these protectors and giving them bad press. Instead he finds Claire broken and suicidal. Against all forms of good judgement, save his own feeling of what is right, he decides to dedicate his life to helping the crushed young woman.

 

Although there is a strong element of science fiction here as well as some space battle action, much of the novel becomes a mix of learning more about these people’s way of life and trying to pierce Claire’s crippling depression.

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This book is more psychological than action packed. If you are looking for a new Star Wars this is not it. If you like exploring how new worlds could create new mental challenges for humanity, then this might be more your speed. It is a short novel, not much more than a novella, but it tells the story it sets out to do. Also, perhaps in this future humanity has evolved to a more enlightened state, but most of the people in the novel are very kind, which could be considered unrealistic, but hey, maybe the future is a better place.

 

This novel is well thought out and I found the mental health aspects realistic, which is something so many authors do not portray well. This is more of an introverted thinking novel, but if you enjoy such things, as I often do, you will find pleasure in seeing Claire’s struggle to reclaim her shattered life in this distant world

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cybergirl

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skinjumpers

Nov
20

Published by New Falcon Publications in 1977

Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by Michael D. Griffiths

Stars: 4.5

 

Cosmic Trigger by Robert Anton Wilson is an exploration in 20th century understanding of the supernatural, spirituality, technology, and extra-terrestrial intelligence. Using research, interviews, and personal experience, Wilson attempts to make sense of what could be considered part of the mystery of the Illuminati and does a fine job of it I might add.

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The book covers everything from Timothy Leary’s experiments with LSD to Crowley’s Book of the Law. However, certain themes emerge as the book progresses. One of the primary items is the theory humans are being contacted, through telepathy, by ETs from the Sirius system.

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Wilson discovers many threads which reinforce this idea. Everything from modern data, to Egyptian deities, to mentions by Crowley. He formulates these beings appear to humans in a manner they will accept. For ancient peoples, they would be deities. During medieval times, they might appear to us as angels, which he believes happened to John Dee. In more modern times they have chosen to manifest as aliens.

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As stated above, these beings often appeared to prefer to communicate telepathically with humans as opposed to physically travel to Earth. Wilson and others believe these communications as often confused with supernatural experiences. They also conject these ETs’ share wisdom, which can be attributed to inspiring individuals, such as Crowley and larger organizations such as the Illuminati.

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If you enjoy this sort of intellectual exploration of the mysterious of the Multiverse than this would be a great book for you. However, it is a very dense book. No light reading involved here. Also, Wilson tends to assume certain things and then move on while using the unproven concept as a building block to make further assumptions. Lastly and somewhat sadly, he makes dozens of predictions, most of which were supposed to have happened long before the year we currently live in, which have not come to pass.

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Overall this is a must read for all students of The Great Work. I would recommend a reader to do research before picking this one up or you might feel a little lost. Also, unlike other mystic books this one tends to organize things a bit and could prejudice a reader toward a certain paradigm if it was not taken with a large grain of salt. It certainly leaves me with wanting to seek out more of Wilson’s work.

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alex-bone

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Nov
15

Hello again, surprised to hear from me? I know I’ve happily spilled all sorts of jargon about the integrity of WildernessPunk and I still believe in what I have said, unlike the vast majority of our current politicians. But if there is anything I learned from this last election, truth, decency, and consistency are not considered important to most people living in the USA. Hell, if Trump can lie through his pouty lips and still get elected, why shouldn’t I be able to write about WildernessPunk from this rat room which keeps a ceiling over my head for another two days?

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First off, let me piss off, well almost everyone. In some respects, I’m happy Trump won. No hate mail yet, hear my out. I always knew this country had a slimy underbelly of horrid people and it took an ass-clown like Trump to help us determine how bad it really is.

Trump is like a bug exterminator who, instead of bringing poison, covers himself in dead meat and candy. All the human cockroaches filled with racism, entitlement, and hate rushed out of their dark corners and latched onto him. Trump didn’t create these people, he gave them an avenue where they no longer felt they had to hide their true selves and let’s face it, their true selves suck.

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Of course, not every Trump supporter is an evil, bigoted a-hole, some may have voted for him for reasons other than an agenda of hate, yet we still have to come to grips with the fact millions of people voted for a person who has no one’s interest in his heart other than his own.

Still, let’s back up a little. Oh yee of the left. Did you think there would be no consequences to your ever-constricting noose of political correctness? Did your concept of urban intellectual superiority and your removal from the people who struggle in the earth for a living work out well for you? All of you thought Hillary would win, didn’t you? Because you live in your own circles of self-indulgent rhetoric. You see things improving…getting better, but then you kept pushing, every increasingly obscure scrap of ‘God is Dead’ let’s replace his books with what we feel is correct and if you don’t like it, you’re a backward primitive.

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Guess what, the ‘backward primitives’ won. You pissed them off for so long they all poured out to vote for this one. Finally, a man for the people who hates the people.

But again, the veil is down. We elected a fascist. Mostly politicians try to hide their fascist leanings, but Trump just came out with the ‘why bother’ technique. He took a gamble. He believed there were enough people full of hate for their fellow humans he could just come out and be honest about his evil tendencies and policies and win. Hey look, he was right.  

So, what does this mean? Are we all just puppets to the wealthiest one percent? Well yeah. Money runs things and the amount of money and power some people possess now is truly sickening. Everything else is just a joke. Issues are used to distract or fulfill an agenda. We are all so polarized we don’t notice the world creeping towards its doom while we scream at each other. And as we workers do this, the elite sits back and laughs and laughs.

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Despite his endless lies, in many ways Trump may be the most honest man we have elected. It’s all out on his 10,000$ sleeve. He’ll send drones to blow up families with a heart full of glee and then brag about it. He’ll remove children from their parents and have people tortured and make no excuses. Laws and decency mean nothing to him. He is the pure id of the 1% exposed.

So, I ask you one last thing. If he feels safe showing this country his true self, what does this say about the rest of us?

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I’ll make sure I’ll remain a very hard man to track down.

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skinjumpers

Nov
08

This impressive book of art based on the new remakes of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was put out by one of my favorite publishers, Titan.

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It is a truly impressive volume that has artwork to boggle the mind. I tell you one thing, I don’t remember them having artwork like this when I was a kid and in love with The Planet of the Apes series.

Not only is this artwork intense, but it is also expansive. Many subjects and scenes are covered here. This book would be a must for any serious fan of this series. I am no art critic, but I think most science fiction fans could get something out of this as well.

This is a pretty straight forward book and probably falls into the category of either you like it or you don’t.  If fantastic art is something you love, then you will get something out of this. If leafing through a volume of art is not your cup of tea, then you already know this.

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Downsides are, it is a little pricy at 26.24, but if you love this art it is worth it. Also, and it is not their fault, but the whole remake thing slows me down and I wish the same amount of energy could have been put into something new. Or a new Planet of the Apes series that took off where the last series ended and did not just remake it.

What you see is what you get here… literally. But if you love Planet of the Apes or just great science fiction art in general, you might consider grabbing this giant volume.

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