Merlin

****spoilers all around****

Sword fights, magic spells, knights on horseback, and there be dragons. Friendships that grow in spite of class differences are explored as characters bond over quests and grow up together. I loved seeing the flashing amber eyes effect whenever magic was performed. As far as the finale, er, I guess we’re still waiting for a conclusion?

Merlin
Wizard angst here we go.  The scarf about his neck makes him look like a perpetual hipster street performer. Always messes up but goes above and beyond to save anyone in need. That scene where he struck Nimueh down was quite surprising because he was so much weaker than her and it was very dark for him to kill without hesitation.  His joy at finding his father and grief got to me. His inherited Dragon powers are easily the coolest concept of the show (Eragon eat your heart out). I wish he learned telepathy or at least a decent concealment spell. His finally ending Morgana up close and personally was sudden and satisfying.

Morgana
Extremely gorgeous character whose breaking bad transformation makes her a perpetual nuisance as the thing that just won’t die. Uther never dealt with advisors but was so tragically blinded by this daughter of evil. I was sick of her by the first season, I kept yelling for someone to cut her head off whenever she was knocked unconscious.

Arthur
The once and future king. Just, pure, and a loyal friend for all seasons, he is the epitome of honor. Quite a dish. I love it when he calls GuineVERE.

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The Great Dragon
Poor beast, chained up and having to use your infinite wisdom dealing with an emo teenager day in and day out. I wish he could have been used to wipe out Cenred’s army.

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So many hot guys in one show, unbelievable.  All skilled and loyal enough to take stand for his king to the point of death (and female disguises).

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What is love. Here today and gone tomorrow. Respect. That’s what lasts.
Thankfully no one is moony eyed or pining over each other while involved with someone else. Those who are in love have to deal with plenty of obstacles.  Nice that Arthur and Morgana were somewhat intended for one another but they act more like unimpressed siblings. Merlin was immune to most women on the show, hardly any of them turn his head.

Medieval phrases

– Lose some weight, fatty.
– I came back because you’re my only friend and I can’t afford to lose you.
– Some choices are easy. Some stay with you forever.
– All great struggles demand sacrifice.
– To be more powerful than any man and live like a shadow.
– Dollop head.
– Clot pole.
– You never know when you might need to kill someone.
– The future is as yet unshaped. It is we that shape it.
– Destiny and chicken. What a beautiful combination, eh?
– You are such a girl’s petticoat.
– Have you been on the cider?
– Will it be hot? Will it be cold? Will it be wet? Will it be dry?
– I believe in you. I always have.
– Patience is the key to wisdom.
– I swear I will protect you or die at your side.
– Are you threatening me with a spoon? (Offscreen smack) Ow!
– I am who I am and I am who I was and I will always be.
– I’m like a swan. On the surface it looks like there’s a lot going on underneath.

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  • Arthur asking Merlin if he should marry Princess Helena and the response given.
  • Merlin helping Arthur to express his feelings for Lady Vivian
  • Merlin applying the gaja berries on Arthur’s face.
  • Arthur’s exclaiming he is not fat when Merlin takes away his food.
  • Arthur binding Merlin’s wound.
  • Arthur punching Merlin fondly as they go out to face the dragon.
  • Arthur trains and fights with the inexperienced villagers of Ealdor because it is Merlin’s hometown.
  • Gwaine and Merlin cementing their friendship in the perilous lands.
  • Merlin waiting outside all night as Arthur bids farewell to his father.
  • Arthur giving Merlin a piggyback ride!
  • Merlin thrilled when Arthur proposes to Gwen, giving him a hard time about holding an unromantic tourney for her.
  • Arthur given a simpleton mind spell with his dopey expressions, going around in tight clothes and hugging trees
  • Hanging out in a giant net trap.
  • Just hold me.tumblr_mduz8qzNEd1rkarx5o1_500

Magical moments

  • Merlin giving the Fisher King the Phoenix bracelet.
  • Merlin being an insulting punk to everyone under mind control and being thwarted in his attempts to kill Arthur, very Joxer-like.
  • Running joke about Merlin’s disappearances to the tavern.
  • Gaius and Merlin’s mealtime conferences, especially when they eating beetles.
  • Guinevere and Arthur’s epic kiss.
  • Lancelot leaving Guinevere for Arthur’s sake.
  • Merlin administering poison and setting the dragon free. Pathos!
  • Uther rushes to the front of enemy lines to defend Camelot from Cenred’s army.
  • Uther expressing his gratitude to Arthur for throwing the fight, he not only shows his attention to Arthur’s skills but also recognizes his motive to honor him.
  • Bar fight with dreamy Gwaine!
  • Guinevere reprimanding the council for shutting out people looking for shelter.
  • Gwaine sticking his hand in the trunk for honey.
  • Gaius stepping in and knocking down Morgause.
  • Merlin aiding the knights in stealing a chicken from the kitchen.
  • Arthur rejecting George, the efficient manservant replacement, because he’s not as fun.
  • Morgause and Cenred’s exchange.
  • Uther bewitched and enamored with his troll bride.
  • Throwdown between Morgana and old disguised Merlin.
  • Gaius slapping Uther’s bald head around.
  • Merlin and aging spell, that was pure genius! His crotchety snarling is top notch.
  • Sir Leon lives!
  • Gwaine winning battles to earn food under Morgana’s rule.
  • The hot pirate couple Tristan and Isolde, their transitioning respect won by Arthur and tragic devotion.
  • Merlin setting up the people of Camelot and sword in the stone to lift Arthur from doubt of his abilities.
  • Queen Guinevere taking care of business as she roots out the traitor Sefa and sentences her to death. And all of it was a gambit to catch her father!
  • Nemeton is Stonehenge! And the land of the dead has so many lens flares!
  • Knights hazing Mordred.
  • Female sorceress Merlin and all her mannerisms!!! Solid.
  • Balinor giving Merlin hope in the crystal caves
  • Biblically epic lightning entrance in the battle!

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Long live the legend of Camelot.

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Edsession

This will be a dull year for me as Ed Sheeran decided to rest and stay off social media.  Being a celebrity is a lot of noise and a lot more nonsense, so I would understand avoiding the public eye, but withdrawing from such a glorious product is somewhat depressing.  However, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the break will make the reunion that much sweeter when he returns this fall.

Been listening to his old works from the 5 albums he released before he got mainstream (‘Lately’ is a sick tune you need to check out). As per usual thinking of him since really, he is a spectacular human being.

Disagreements
1) True love isn’t blind.  I have to acknowledge that his hedonistic views on life aren’t compatible with mine.  His liberal philosophies are none too wise, but everyone has room for improvement, eh?
2) He also does his best to be nice to all his fans because the way celebrities treat people create lasting impressions.  He claims anyone should be able to turn off aggression or negative feelings when meeting crowds.  It’s only been a few years of stardom my dear, wait for a decade and see where you land, because paparazzi and fans can be unbelievably rude and annoying!
3) I appreciate the looping and unique energy of his faster songs, therefore I’m not into Thinking Out Loud or Photograph.  Brilliantly written lyrics, yet the music and style were kind of lame compared to his other works.  The music videos, on the other hand, are stunning works of art!
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The + girl
Most people would love to be immortalized in a song or movie, but if it’s based on intimate moments, might be strange.  I wonder what she’s like, the one that inspired all the words and am thankful for her existence because without her, we wouldn’t have the honest experiences of love that he shared with the world.
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Ed-volution
Seeing him develop and step up his gear over time is so gratifying, life is good when you get to upgrade.

Self haircut →  salon most likely
Ratty guitars → custom ‘X’ guitar sets
Homeless → Tennessee mansion
Random picks → custom ‘X’ picks
Store loop pedal → custom model
Acoustic scene → large screens
Of course, he always adds on his tattoos, for better or worse.
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Concert style
Loop boss puts it down, the twists and turns and extensions of his songs are nothing like what you hear on the radio.  He wrenches your heart as you get lost in his ballads then forces adrenaline when he rocks out to his fast beats.  The way he handles the timing by himself onstage is incredible, working like a maniac the whole time.  And the way he grasps the mic and pours out his feelings, you just feel jealous of the mic.
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Award shows
He’s off when he wins, maybe a little antagonistic and condescending saying that such ceremonies are all decided upon by big wigs that dictate trends without knowing what talent, skill, or sacrifice mean, but we all knew it’s politics and show.  Much to the delight of Sheerios all over da world, our darling just won his first Grammy!  Cue sighs and tears of joy.
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Fantasies
– Ed Sheeran appearing on my birthday and singing to me
– Touching his hair and making him laugh
– Chaining him in my basement so he can only write and sing for me when I demand it
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Happy birthday, my ginga ninja! You shine and make me thankful to be alive!

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Romance as Told by Movies

It’s just, people have these romantic projections they put on everything. That’s not based on any kind of reality.
– Before Sunrise

Love is tricky to define.  There’s the calm respectful type displaying logic and stability.  Alternately there are insanely passionate affairs involving extreme jealousy and control.  Or one can find a smoothie blend of something in between.  Mmm, smoothie…huh, where was I?  Oh yeah, every relationship has their own unique dynamic and cost.

Also to state the obvious: there is no such thing as “the one” person that’s right for you. There are various compatible options while we’re single and that shifts as we transform into different stages. Why stress out on whether or not you “missed” out on someone? The notion is absurd.

Movies will try to sell you on a lot of nonsense when it comes to love. But we can always take away a lesson from each couple’s example for better or for worse.

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In classic Animaniacs fashion, here’s a list of examples we have in media:

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Good idea: I cheered in the theater when Edward held off on sleeping together until they were married. Take that, society!
Bad idea: Bella fell apart when Edward left her and kept trying to risk her life in order to hallucinate that he was there.

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Good idea: Kitty and Levin did it right, timing is everything.
Bad idea: Anna and Vronsky ruined their lives and families because they couldn’t help but to put themselves first.

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Good idea: File not found
Bad idea: Rushing into love at first sight, secret marriage, then double suicide?! Fools at their finest.

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Good idea: Picture your life with someone in the long run before making a decision. Don’t take the easy way out by being with someone you think everyone wants you to marry. Also, get in the water!
Bad idea: How about let’s not cheat on your fiance with your first love that you never got closure from?

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Good idea:  Find someone who understands and is wholly devoted to you.
Bad idea: See previous entry, “It doesn’t make any sense. That’s why I trust it.”

Love-Actually
Good idea: Love should not be selfish. Take risks but don’t get too carried away.
Bad idea: That means you, stop dodging airport security you bad bad kid!

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Good idea: The other person should bring out the best in you.
Bad idea: Choosing someone only for their status is unwise.

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Good idea: Gentlemen, keep your word and make sure not to lead a woman on when you have someone already.
Bad idea: Ladies, you’re in danger investing emotionally in a man without verbal confirmation and approval from friends and family.

Love is a choice, not merely a feeling.


New is Not Always Better

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.
– Ephesians 4:14

A few semesters ago I had the privilege of taking a Critical Thinking class.  Any kind of thinking, whether based in logic or emotion, is a type of philosophy.  And everyone is involved with philosophy every minute we’re awake.  For those who claim not to be for such lofty scholarly matters, mind if I take your keys and wallet after punching you in the face?

For those in pursuit of accuracy and consistency in life, sound philosophical arguments are beneficial because it doesn’t just take the what is given at the moment.  Most people develop their opinions over the years due to influences like family, culture, school, Scripture, etc.  Either they sort through what they hear over the years after objective consideration or they take it all in like a garbage chute.  But faith must overcome challenges, otherwise it is weak and worthless.  Unfortunately, we all follow of a series of confirmation biases and we are left with illogical conclusions made from faulty premises.  This severe lack of examination of our thoughts is due to a combination of our ignorance and laziness.  Having to stop and doubt what seems to be agreeable requires a lot of labor that we simply don’t want to deal with.  So we tend to just shrug and keep going along the DeNile River.

Today’s spotlight has to do with something that is cited by many seemingly respectable characters in my life and frankly I’m appalled by it.

csExamples
– Men shouldn’t be the only ones to ask women out, it’s the 21st century!
– Religion has no place in the postmodern era.
– It’s 2016, why do I have to provide for my kids again?
– Murder is more acceptable at 2pm rather than noon.
– If that’s a new product, it must be the best!

It’s amazing to me how people keep up this consumerist attitude with confidence.  I can say with certainty that I’ve never used this as an argument in my life nor did it ever occur to me to think this way.  Yet it’s whipped out constantly by my family and media like a pair of sunglasses.  Be straight, is this one of those common sense conspiracies? As if each divergent concept automatically merits positive change. Wake up, people! Disregarding the past on a generalized basis is quite juvenile and narrow minded, which ironically stands in the way of progress.   Sorry guys, this means you actually need to dig and get into the how and whys of the matter, instead of lazily dismissing ideas on the grounds of a clock.

So let it be known here and now that I’d have more respect for someone who says we’d be better off because of a claim they personally live out rather than attempting to validate a statement on air.  At least be up front about flaunting your own authority.

Much as we all love our own opinions, we need to keep a lid on dispensing unsolicited addages.  Otherwise if we go around making comments without facts or experts to support us, we’re left with useless conclusions best given to the fire.  We all have our strengths and experience and they are necessary at the table – given appropriate times.   There’s a sea of voices out there to coerce you and ultimately you’re responsible for which ones you follow, so choose wisely my friends!

Karl Barth and C.S. Lewis on the Birth of ‘Chronological Snobbery’

Side note: I would also discourage the opposite side of this fallacy line, appeal to tradition, which is also common.  Old things work fine, yes, but there should be room to grow as well. I wouldn’t want to be one of those who are stuck behind because of pride refusing to learn the new technology (even though I am overly resistant to adaptation).


Love Notion #7: The Parameters of Rejection

There’s a part of me hoping
There’s a chance
That you’ll look in these eyes
And hold these hands

– Nothing Without You

Each person may have this scenario at least once in their lifetime:

A surprising declaration that reveals the earnest hopes of a friend…
…the suspense that hinges on a groundbreaking response…
….that leads to an irretrievable answer that would change the course of both lives…

…oh bother what a headache.

I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying this over again.  Guys have it rough. They lay down their ego on the line to risk an epic strike out. They are told it’s fine to be their weird selves because women outwardly say they appreciate genuine and responsible men who listen.  That’s all hogwash of course. We are so much more demanding when evaluating the men around us.

What lofty illusions are males up against?  Not much, they just need:

– The body of Thor
– James McAvoy’s dazzling eyes
– Intellect of Sherlock Holmes
– Rugged charm of Hugh Jackson
– Mixed with Benedict Cumberbatch’s accent

Yum, heck yes. I mean, how dare we ask for that much?!

Then the minefield of dealbreakers. Not reasonable ones that help us to avoid druggies or manipulators. It’s the norm nowadays for women to condescendingly dismiss potential suitors on a superficial basis while failing to acknowledge their own issues. Character traits like loyalty and kindness count for little when focusing on minor infractions of status, style, or social aptitude.

Screws up the entire game, innit?

It’s a baffling world to the sincerely nice guys. They won’t be given the time of day because they don’t measure up to the charming swagger of every rom com star. An uphill battle if there ever was one, I don’t envy men at all for their situation. Walls are necessary but mocking attitudes of superiority are not. If I could, I’d apologize to the men dealing with that and say free will is a witch.

Mythical lists aside, how does a girl soberly gauge whether a guy is a good match?

Very high on my list of determining compatibility: conversation.  When they are on the same page on a lot issues (not necessarily hobbies), and can keep up with your meaning, and vice versa, like every good friend dynamic – PRICELESS.  We all should be looking for this kind of connection, because without it you have only a monochrome relationship.  A guy who speaks well still adds up to zero when you’re not interested in what he contributes.  They don’t necessarily need to say the right things at the right time but at least has observations that aren’t mundane.  This is quite an art to pair up individuals who can do this, because you can take one subject, such as movies, and have completely different discussions based on what they appreciate/hate/ get nothing from it.

Also, I factor in emotions as sensibly as I can. It sounds shallow to say I want them to make me feel a certain way; agitated, ecstatic, more safe, less alone. You know how the hormone roller coaster goes. Thinking they’re so impressive they might as well have placed the sun and moon in the sky. Replaying past conversations with them and conducting imaginary ones. Desperately devoted and haunted until there is room in your heart for nothing else. Not unlike how soda gets a hold of me, come to think of it…  But I have to always tell myself as Richelle Mead aptly puts it:

Love fades.

There are many kinds of affection. Take the infamous agonizing pain that consumes and drowns you in sweeping waves, for one. But there is an understated value in the comfortable joy that grows with a person who knows and accepts you flaws and all. Feelings will always come and go with the tide. How we are supposed to tell what amount of fondness is “enough” vs “settling” is beyond me. I personally can’t justify being with someone that raises lukewarm esteem, but I wouldn’t label it as wrong in general since we all have our own modus operandi.

That is not to say I’m without temptation to relax my stance so I can alleviate my boredom. The dark side of me tells me to give into the cruel pleasure of playing with the feelings of those who show interest. If I weren’t conscientious of decency I’d be conducting sadistic projects using one’s weakness my advantage to flatter my vanity in true Scarlet O’Hara fashion. It would at least be diverting to have a chauffeur who pays for my meals and deflects unwanted admirers. Who am I to refuse if they want to give me attention, complying with my every request like a sycophantic butler…but such an uneven partnership wears out quickly and wastes time. In theory. Anyway, that’s another topic for another time.

I feel sorry for those testing the waters trying to get anywhere with me.  I’m signal illiterate but invariably freeze up with anyone getting close due to my guy phobia. If they pass the one year familiarity mark they get my default bossy and insulting self. My sharp demeanor is essentially the same to all men I friendzone or have a deep attachment to because I need my space. The cards are nowhere near the table. They are stacked haphazardly in the box and thrown into the house of the abyss slammed shut with a triple locked door. Better to be guarded than to look foolish because opening your heart letting someone in is giving them power over you. The possibility of undergoing the devastating hurt of losing the one you love is terrifying. All for a flimsy chance at lasting contentment.

We are each allotted a finite amount of chances. But I don’t fear saying no to a man if I’m not fully certain about committing to.  Why?

Just because he is a great guy does not mean he’s the right one for me.

It’s always been clear who I fall for by picturing him out of my life or with someone else. If there is no rioting tumult of panic then obviously they are not an important person I want near. Even though I follow the credence people change and no opinion is set forever I recommend refusing now and avoid any muddled consequences later.  Then the lucky dude can do us both a favor and move on.

Honestly I can afford to be picky and hold onto the unattainable prize who won’t give me the time of day because I get treated so well by my community. That and I’m gifted with awareness when it comes my heart much like Fanny in Mansfield Park stubbornly deciding on Edmund over all others even when her love was unrequited. I was never afraid of being alone because I lack a tendency to focus on my single status. There is no void that causes me to struggle with reaching for the nearest available guy most days since I’m well aware of the stress a boyfriend can cause.  I’m sure I’ll revise my conditions of tolerance as I grow older.  Meanwhile I’ll be enjoying my life of freely checking out all the attractive celebrities.

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Christmas in LA

A trip to Los Angeles involves a ton of driving and walking, something to which I’m disinclined.  Once a year, I guess I can handle it.

Pershing Square
The main reason for our visit was to have a go on the ice rink. They have a tiny one so they sell tickets at hour slots. They get really busy in the afternoons so like any attraction, best to go in as early as possible. I especially liked the beginner props, kids were having a blast with those.

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After lunch at the historic Engine Co 28 (meatloaf) we headed down 5th street so I could check out the grand public library.

Central Library
A rather imposing building built in 1872. They have a little park and upscale dining in Cafe Pinot. I spent an hour reading The One and Only Ivan, a simple and sorrowful story of a silverback gorilla and other animals whose fates lie in the hands of unpredictable humans.
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City National Plaza, all decked out across the street, I see ya.  Next time I will explore and partake of your restaurants.

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Last Bookstore
Every hipster bookworm’s dream! Known for their Labyrinth displays upstairs in the fantasy section. They also sell rare books and vinyl records.

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Making my way downtown surprisingly reminded me of Paris with it’s tall buildings and riffraff people. Urban cities are definitely amazing but I can only appreciate them in small doses.

Sunset, time to check out of our overpriced parking garage. So long, until we meet again, DTLA!

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Tribute to Jane Austen

It is only a novel… or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language

Today we take our hats off to the English authoress Jane Austen born 240 years ago this day. She set the standard for storytelling and went down a lonely road for future female writers like J.K. Rowling, Margaret Mitchell, and Suzanne Collins to follow after. Her classics works inspired countless sequels and have been adapted into films such as Clueless, Bridget Jones’ Diary, and an upcoming movie featuring zombies!

Instead of marrying and raising children like a typical woman of Georgian society, she chose to remain close with her family and pursue her literary career. She wrote 6 incredible novels, the most well-known being Pride & Prejudice.  In that story we have two characters who judged each other solely on first impressions and later see that they were wrong their assumptions.  It reflects how people should not be rejected for shallow reasons and would be better off taking time to understand each other.

Her work is timeless because she features people we have all met. The annoying know-it-all aunt. That creepy neighbor. A silly sister. Those loyal friends who will always be there when you need them.  And she sagely portrays how everyone always turn out to be so much more or less than we originally expected.

There is no one who matches her romantic settings.  Readers appreciate looking into a world where candles and lamps lit the nights, horses were the main form of transportation, and letters were handwritten with quills. Many generations of women all around the world dream of meeting a handsome gentleman with good manners and education as featured in her novels.  Jane shows us the charm of living in times uninterrupted by war, before commercialism and moral decay was prevalent in culture.

Jane was clever, sassy, and defiant of tradition.  She made the most of her short years by portraying the rich/poor, wise/foolish, as well as gave insight into high society interactions.  We can learn quite a few lessons from her literature.  First, marriage can either lead to the greatest joy or the longest suffering.  Second, it is very important to keep close to your family and you can go farther in life with their love and support.  Lastly, keeping or breaking promises defines you as a person – your words are gold or worthless based on your record.

Let us raise our books to a woman who continues to guide us to follow both our sense and sensibility!

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