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Rich George's WWYD Journal

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This is Rich_George's WWYD Journal for Ed Bellis's What Would You Do contest. It chronicles a week in the life of Rich_George.

March 13, 2008Edit

I didn’t do much today, which is not a surprise to me. Since the weekend, I’ve been alone in the apartment with no classes (spring break) and no responsibilities. I’ve rediscovered how much I love that. I occasionally used to have that when I still lived at home when my parents would go away for a couple days or what not. It feels so wonderful to be completely alone, in my own quiet, timeless universe. But I’m supposed to be talking about what I specifically did today, I guess. Well, I can’t exactly fill 4 096 characters with what I did, since that would be practically nothing. I hope my thoughts of the day count as being “about my day.”

My Wii came in the mail yesterday. I really only needed two things to convince me to buy one: backwards compatibility and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Like yesterday, today I played a lot of Brawl. I’m absolutely loving it, although right now I’m wondering if there are only 20 events, because I can’t seem to figure out how to unlock more. What the heck? Melee had 52! Not that I’m complaining or anything. Today the replay sent out by Nintendo was Sonic on a target test level. When I started watching it, I thought, “Oh yeah! Sonic’s in this!” On top of all the amazingness the game already offers you, there’s a bounty of wonder to unlock. The gameplay is amazing. I like the new air-dodge system, but I cannot conceive of why the hell they took out L-canceling; I just hope that there are other methods to maintain the speed of gameplay and usability of aerial moves. p.s. Wario’s fully charged fart does 40 damage?! WTF?! I’m pretty sure that’s more powerful than any single move in Melee. Hmmm, Ganon’s up-tilt, maybe? I forget. Lots of cool new items. Love the assist trophies. (Tingle, did you seriously just rain a dozen hammers down on the playing field? Really? Oh, Tingle.) Love the Smash Ball, especially the tension in considering whether or not to try attacking it right away since you might just be softening it up for the next guy; and most (but not all…) final smashes are actually nowhere near insta-kills, so it doesn’t feel unfair. Don’t like the Dragoon pieces. (Who intially picks them up is mostly decided by who is randomly nearest, and stealing them from the other player only invloves attacking them, which you would be doing anyway. Thus all it does is push the winning player further ahead.) Love the pitfall. (Trying to recover, are we? Eat pit!) Really don’t think the golden hammer was necessary; the game has enough absurd randomness already. Speaking of which, who’s pathetic idea was it to put in the mechanic that occasionally makes you slip and fall when you try to run?! This is the one thing in the game that upsets me, because you can’t turn it off. To me it’s a big F-you to all the serious Smash players. “Oh, so you want to make everything so academic,” Nintendo says, “turning off all items and banning half the stages we make? Well how would you like a nice random stun! You like that? Yeah, I thought so.” Dedede is hilarious and awesome and bubbly, but what’s up with Diddy Kong? Diddy seems really bad… maybe I just need to figure him out.

Hmm, what else did I do? I made myself some pasta and ate it. The sauce was “tomato and basil” which when I looked at that reminded me that I have spices that my mom gave me as a gift and I could be using them on stuff I make. So I put some extra basil on my pasta… yeah, exciting day today… Then I got a shower and came into my room to check WWYD, which I read and became annoyed that it was yet another challenge that assumed you were going to read it within 24 hours… ugh. Seriously, if “Ed Bellis” made a challenge that was “reply to this topic within an hour of my posting it,” I would lose and everyone else would easily win. At least that’s how it feels. With this week’s challenge being so time-consuming, I’m hoping the whole WWYD thing doesn’t become like so many other things I do for fun in life, taking up much too much of my time until I realize I’m wasting my life away on meaninglessness. That happened to me with the Neopets website once. Then again, writing a mini-diary isn’t meaningless; it’s helping me think about some things (that I won’t write here). Anyway, I met the word requirement; I think I’ll go listen to Mme Sarkozy me dire que ma vie ne vaut pas grand-chose (elle à la place de moi maintenant).

March 14, 2008Edit

Today was another day of lazing around, playing Smash, etc. I didn’t unlock any new characters today; I’m getting anxious! And I’m consciously not looking up online how to unlock them, because I like the surprise of getting the “Challenger approaches” screen. When that screen for Marth came up; I got so excited. And that’s for a character that I’ve already payed in Melee! Anyway, I’ll probably leap up and down giddily when I finally face Snake or Sonic, at which point I’ll probably get so flustered making sure I beat them that I’ll make some dumb mistake like attacking a bomb.

Today I unlocked the French version of that Japanese Pikmin song; that was cool, since I didn’t know there were any French songs in this game. I learned a new word from it—veiller—which I now know means to be vigilant in the sense of staying awake or of watching over someone. (The last line of the song is “Nous veillons sur vous comme des anges.”) I promptly memorized the lyrics so as to sing along whenever it comes up in the game (probably soon to the great annoyance of my apartment-mate). Of course, now it’s stuck in my head.

Anyway, today I tried getting more familiar with Meta Knight and the Pokémon trainer. Meta Knight is a tough nut to crack since his moves do very little damage and have weak knockback. One neat advantage he has is that his up-B is actually usable in normal combat since it doesn’t incapacitate him but rather sends him into flight. His other special moves seem kind of weak and useless though, especially the side-B, but I have an inkling that his teleport could prove deadly if mastered.

The Pokémon trainer is very fun to play, with all three pokémon being decent fighters, with the possible exception of Squirtle, who has a couple water moves that only push the opponent back rather than doing damage. Ivysaur is quite hilarious, especially his neutral-B move which fairly reliably does an easy 20 or 30 damage to a level-9 AI, simply by holding down the B button while near the enemy.

Speaking of incompetent AI, I’m sorry to conclude that Brawl still has it. Some of the inexplicable idiocy of the AI in Melee has been fixed. Enemies actually pick up and use items (although unfortunately I’ve still seen a couple instances of the AI inexplicably not picking up a dragoon piece right next to them), and they no longer walk into your charged attacks. However, I still find it incredibly easy to defeat any single level-9 AI opponent, even with a character I’m unfamiliar with. I saved a reply today of me playing as Mario against Peach on Onett, doing nothing but firing about 30 fireballs in a row at her as she helplessly struggled to recover from my, er, impenetrable assault. It’s too bad, because without a legitimate 1-on-1 challenge, it doesn’t really feel like a fighting game to me. It doesn’t bother me all that much, since it’s still one heck of a fighter against a real life person. Now, however, having said all that, there is a twist—occasionally the AI will suddenly become godlike and pummel me mercilessly! I played one match on the Melee Starfox stage today against Wario, and he was ridiculous! He hyper-aggressively attacked me at every chance, skillfully countering my advances and never letting up for a second. He KO’d me 6 times in 4 minutes! Man, that felt good to finally face a challenge. I’m just wondering what magic I can whip up to make the AI always that good.

Other than play Brawl, today I browsed the internet a bit as usual, and I talked online a little to a couple of my French pen pals. I continue to hope and pray with tentative optimism that my application to go teach English in France next year will be accepted. It’ll be a big blow to my psyche if I’m not accepted, although saying that makes me think that perhaps I should prepare myself so that it isn’t. Eh, I’ve got other things to worry about for now. Things that I can actually control.

…like school this semester. Ugh. I wasted spring break by not getting caught up with any of the work I’ve fallen behind in. Come on, self, this is the last semester of this bullcrap college you’ll ever have to go through; just get it over with already!

March 15, 2008Edit

Nothing interesting happened today. I don’t mean that in a bad way, though. I watched a Swedish short film called Lucky Blue about about the beginning of a relationship between two boys who live in a trailer park and who are considerably more attractive than you would generally expect trailer park boys to be. Then again, it’s in Sweden, where trailer park lives in you. Wait, no, that’s Soviet Russia. The film was actually pretty good. I expected it to neatly solve all the conflicts and end with an embrace; instead it ended with a quiet conversation and a moment of contemplation that subtly suggested (to me, who sees symbolism in everything) what might follow in their lives.

Played more Brawl, duh. Didn’t unlock any new stages or characters, but I’ve been enjoying making ridiculous new stages with the level editor, including one which consists of nothing but the large version of the mushroom tile, with floor underneath—it actually plays surprisingly well!

I was going to really try getting back into my responsibilities today. I did the dishes until the dry rack was full, but so far I haven’t gotten around to putting them away and washing the rest. I should really keep a clock next to me while I play Brawl so I can be aware (be AWEH-ERRRR, Ritziiiiieeeee) of the time. Hmm… more comments on Brawl… the downloadable submitted custom stage today was utter crap (just a giant column with ladders running up both sides). You’d think they’d be getting so many submissions now that they could easily be releasing out a fun, clever stage each day. The photo today wasn’t really anything either; just Yoshi standing in front of some character, possibly from adventure mode. Seriously, Nintendo, aren’t you putting in at least, say, half a man-hour per day on choosing this stuff? The shots in that dojo post were pure gold. Robot Wario? Pure genius. OH. I just remembered. The “Devil” assist character. What. The. F. Bad idea. Bad, bad idea. I was always annoyed in Melee by being unable to see your character on the edges of the stage, especially since the AI seemed to be able to magically see on the edges anyway. And now we have a trophy that actually encourages, nay, mandates this poppyc***? (avoiding auto-flagging there) Seriously, between this, the Nintendog, the Animal Crossing trophy, the stopwatch item and the random slips, I think Nintendo is actually convinced that it’s fun to be unable to control the game. Hey, I have an idea for an assist trophy. When you pick it up, everyone is controlled by level one AI for the rest of the match. You didn’t really like using your controller anyway, did you? It was too difficult. You appreciate the break. You. Appreciate. It. P.S. Careful, sometimes the trophy only affects you!

Ike is an interesting character, because at first glance he seems unfairly overpowered. His regular attacks have about as much knockback as most characters’ smash attacks, and his smash attacks seem to hit like the baseball bat. Many characters need to be learned to play effectively with. Ike needs to be learned to play effectively against. His obvious flaw is that most of his attacks, especially his smash attacks, have long startup time, so you should usually be able to evade or counterattack easily. Thing is, some of his attacks are quick, like his neutral A and up-tilt, both of which have huge knockback (or, er, knockup, as the case is for the latter). Time will tell if he truly is one of the most powerful characters in the game or if there are more easily exploitable weaknesses that I have yet to disocover.

Well, tomorrow’s Sunday, the last day off before classes start again. I’m finally going to have to face the consequences of having put off all my work of the semester up until now. It’s kind overwhelming how much is on my plate now, but I think the best thing to think about the motivate me is that this is my last semester. If I can just plow through this crap, I’ll never have to do it ever again. My undergrad career will be over. I’ll never have to go back to school again if I don’t want. Just. Get. It. Over. With. Yes, I think that will help. I always find that I am more motivated to work if I see an eventual purpose in it, or a goal that I am actually accomplishing aside from the general assumption that it is bad to fail stuff. All right. I’m determined to make this happen. I can and I will.

March 17, 2008Edit

Monday

Wow, I really don’t feel like writing this right now. I’d much rather be going to bed. But I’m not going to drop out of this contest unless I make the conscious decision to do so. So I might as well just write this as fast as I can and get it over with. Let’s see how long it takes me; it’s 1:30 AM right now…

Today I had to take part in a group presentation on the British colonialization of South Africa. I had off-and-on forgotten about it over spring break, and in the end the entirety of my contribution was completed in a little over half an hour just before class started. I got to class late, and my group didn’t know what I was doing my part on, so I just went after everyone else was done talking, breaking the flow of the presentation with a dumb little overview of a serious topic (concentration camps) that deserved much more respect than I gave it with my last-minute rush job. I felt guilty; as I was waiting for my turn to speak, I even debated just deciding not to take part in the presentation at all; but I knew that would lead to extreme difficulties in passing the course, so I had to just look at things in the long run, bite the bullet, and do it. I hate when that happens. I hate when, in life, I come to a point where I have to do something completely crappy and half-***ed because of my recent failings. What a horrible situation to be in. But I am all too familiar with them.

On a better note, some cool new progress on Brawl is being made. Bellis and I are playing through the Subspace Emissary on co-op (hard mode), which is very fun, mostly due to the movies and the fact that I’m playing with a friend. I kind of wish that the adventure mode played around more with the mechanic of sending your enemy of the stage. Instead most enemies simply have a life bar which you must deplete to kill them. But the characters were clearly designed with brawls in mind, not depleting the life bars of enemies. There’s that, and the platforming is a bit awkward (though not as bad as I was worrying) when you have characters with fighting-game controls. Anyway, the level design is okay (not great), but everything but the between-level movies has a very perfunctory feel. (My favorite part was when you had to figure out what to do with the key sitting in front of the locked door…)

I got Patapon for PSP in the mail today from Goozex. (am in love with that site…) I was pretty much sold by the screenshots and the promise of a real-time strategy-rhythm game. I just wonder if it has real time weapon change.

I bought another four gallons of milk at the grocery store today. My rate of milk consumption just keeps increasing. Although I realized about an hour ago that at this rate I’m spending almost 50 dollars a month on milk, which is kind of crazy. On the other hand, milk is very healthy for you (protein!), and my mom always taught me that food is always worth buying as long as (a) it’s healthy, (b) you eat it, and (c) it’s not pre-prepared, like that pre-sliced fruit they try to sell you. (Seriously, how lazy are people anymore anyway? We can’t cut our own fruit now?) I agree with that. I also think that money is unimportant (as long as you have it, which I do), and you should do what you think is good and right for you without worrying about it being “too expensive.” It all depends on what it’s personally worth to you.

Wow, I’ve already spend twenty minutes on writing to where I am now. I didn’t realize this took up so much time. I should just do these in the evenings, maybe around 5 or 6. That way it won’t mess up my night routine.

My room has gotten abhorrently messy. Not only is the entire floor covered—mostly with dirty clothes—but things are actually piled up in at least two or three layers. !! Fun Fact !! There is so much crap in my room, that if you lined it all up end to end, it would cross the Atlantic Ocean 7.8 times!

Snake is amazing in Brawl. Just before I started writing this, I practiced with him a bit in training mode to figure out his moves. I unlocked him earlier today, but both Bellis and I found him strange and difficult to not suck with. But seriously, his moves are great, especially his aerials, which all do at least 12 damage. His side smash is slow, yes, but I can see that that’s actually a highly situational move (one of the main reasons he seems so strange at first). If you’re facing the enemy, the up-smash works quite well as a fill-in forward smash. (His up-smash is probably one of the only smashes in the game that doesn’t deal more damage the more you charge it up.) And with all his mines and explosives flying about, I can see becoming able to really overwhelm your opponent by attacking in multiple ways at once.

Wow, so this took almost half an hour in all. Sheesh…

March 18, 2008Edit

Bah. I’m doing that thing I do sometimes when my life is stressful and I’m nervous about facing the next day; I stay up late because I don’t want to go to sleep, knowing what I will have to wake up to. And now this stupid diary thing is making me stay up even later… grr. Well, it’s not the diary thing that’s stupid. C’est moi, of course.

Today went by extremely quickly. I woke up late and pretty much just sat in the living room all day playing Brawl with Bellis. I frickin’ love that game. We unlocked Ganon(dorf) today via the adventure mode. Yaaaay, Ganandorf. He’s so imposing and evil and awesome; it’s a shame he’s just a clone of Captain Falcon. It really doesn’t feel right to have a character as prominent as he is not have his own moveset. Ooh well.

So the only characters left to unlock are Jigglypuff, Toon Link, and Wolf. I’m curious about them, but since I’ve essentially already played all of them, I’m not that excited. I think my favorite new character is Snake. He’s so versatile and strange yet powerful. Very strange. I mean, really, his down-smash isn’t even an attack, per se. But he has so many options. He can plant mines (two types), shoot projectiles (three types), or perform a huge range of melee attacks. For example, if your enemy is in front of you, you can do a standard combo for a quick attack, or a forward tilt for more power, or an up-smash to send them upward, or a side-smash for a slow, uber-powerful attack. Also, his mines and thrown explosives give him a spacial flexibility that no other character can replicate without items. Toss some explosives or plant some mines and then attack from another direction, and suddenly your opponent has to worry about two things at once. Anyway, I’m glad Nintendo made Sonic and Snake actually good instead of being afraid of putting the spotlight too much on the non-Nintendo characters. It will never get old watching Snake slit Mario’s throat. Rich_George | Posted 3/19/2008 3:24:53 AM | message detail | #016 I’m enjoying playing the Subspace Emissary, but I have to admit it’s underwhelming. The same freaking enemies keep coming back. Seriously, wouldn’t the enemies in the subspace be different than the ones in the regular world? It’s very disheartening to enter a strange new level only to find that you’re just fighting the same old enemies over again. The best the mode has to offer are the movies and the boss fights. The movies are extremely well done, if a bit inexplicable at times. The boss fights are very exciting, and they are challenging without ever being cheap. The mode mainly works because the levels are kept very short, so you never go very long without a nice movie or boss fight. Unfortunately today we got to a part that seems to break that trend. For reasons that I’m fairly certain the game did not explain at all story-wise, we now have to wander around a giant maze with a Metroidvania-style map, fighting dark versions of (all?) playable characters from the game. Which means probably a few hours with no real bosses and no movies. Great! (“I’ll grab my stuff!”) Oh, also—“Tabuu”? What? Where did he come from? He looks like such a generic “cosmic being” type, and has such a dumb name, that I’m sad that he might be the super villain. Seriously, what’s with the name? I can only assume it’s meant to be pronounced like “taboo,” which just sounds like a strange, foreign attempt to produce something like “The Forbidden,” or I guess I should say, “The Phorebiddin.” Maybe his name is like Voldemort and it must not be spoken. Imagine the hilarity.

Snake: Who are we fighting again? Zelda: His name is Tabuu. Snake: His name is taboo? Zelda: Shh! Snake: What? Zelda: His name must not be spoken. Snake: I know, I know, it’s taboo! Zelda: What did I just tell you? It’s bad enough I said it. Snake: Said what? Zelda: His name. Snake: What’s his name? Zelda: It’s Tabuu!!! Snake: Can you just whisper it to me? Zelda: Why, was I shouting too loud? Snake: No, I just want to know his name. Zelda: You know his name! Snake: All I know is it’s taboo. Zelda: Right, so what’s there left to know? Snake: Oh, so it’s gonna be like that, is it? Zelda: You’re just being difficult. Forget it; I’m not playing your games. Snake: …Whatever you say. Zelda: Hmph. Snake: …[grumble]

March 19, 2008Edit

suppose it may be an alliance of necessity versus Tabuu, whatever the heck he is.) And then… you are plunked into a huge 3-hour-or-so story-less maze for some reason where you have to go around and fight dark purply versions of every character for some reason and re-fight all the bosses from the game for some reason, at which point you can enter a portal in the middle of the maze for some reason and fight Tabuu for some reason. After killing Tabuu, all the giant purple spheres that had been left behind in various locations go away. THE END. What?! Excuse me? What the hell? Did the game really just solve its conflict by going, “Oh hey there’s an evil guy. Let’s kill him. Oh, I guess that rid the world of evil? Great!” We do not even see the reactions to this wondrous cleansing of any of the heroes—or any sentient beings whatsoever. Maybe Miyamoto has a kindergarten-age nephew who wrote the story, so Miyamoto insisted that the boy’s story be made into an adventure mode in Brawl, so as to display the bountiful beauty of youthful innocence. Then again, even most children would think to write “and they lived happily ever after” at the end, which isn’t indicated one way or the other by the Subspace Emissary’s ending.

Well, enough ranting about that. The best part of any Smash Bros game will always be the standard brawl. There is so much extra crap that I haven’t even taken the time to try to really master any particular character yet, and I’ve racked up about 15 hours of play time already, I think. What I most look forward to is the point in the future when I’ve gotten familiar with all the characters, stages and items (and decided which ones to turn off—e.g. probably Dragoon pieces, timer, spicy curry, smoke ball and others), and there’s nothing left but pure gaming bliss.

I’m really not sure what else to write about for today. I made some potatoes in the oven today, didn’t hear the timer go off and burnt them, filling the living room with smoke and setting off the smoke alarm in my room twice. Half of the potatoes were still edible, though. Bellis said he would eat whatever I didn’t want, but he changed his mind when he saw just how charred they were. Mmmm, charcatoes.

I really wish I were asleep right now. I’ve been staying up much too late and being unable to wake up in the morning. Seriously, if I don’t get my act together right now, I’m going to really screw myself with school. The possibility of not getting everything taken care of and being able to put college behind me is horrifying. I just want to get out of this horrid place. I just want to leave and do something real with my life. I feel like I’m just mired in a disgusting, old, abandoned swamp here. I’m almost through to the other side, but I’m so used to being stuck it all just feels so pointless anyway. I wouldn’t even know what to do with freedom, or at least it doesn’t even feel real and attainable. I think what I’ll do is tomorrow after my morning class, I’ll come home, rest up with a nap, then lay out all the responsibilities I have remaining for the semester and look at what I have to do right now and what I have to do later. Part of the problem is I don’t really know exactly what’s on my plate; it all just seems like a big ugly mess that I don’t want to deal with. So I just need to break it down and realize that each individual part isn’t really all that difficult. Anyway, all I really need are C’s…

March 20, 2008Edit

Wow my stomach is bursting. I think I accidentally just drank like three or more tall glasses of milk with my pasta-roni. Anyway, on to my final diary entry for the week. Today was okay. I woke up late, at almost noon, skipping the same class I skipped on Tuesday. Oh well. I think I got myself to the point today where school seems doable for the rest of the semester. I’m definitely playing catch-up, but we’ll see… I asked to meet tomorrow with one of my professors so I can see if I can make sure I’m not going to fail his class. Seriously, I do NOT want to have to worry about school ever again. There was a 5-page paper due on Wednesday in one my math classes, which only one person actually had ready to turn in on time, so I didn’t feel too alone there. But it involves writing a reaction to the first 100 or so pages of a book that I don’t have. Hopefully I can borrow it from someone and do it over the weekend. I went to both textbook stores on campus today and neither had the book. I just hope there’s someone who’s actually finished the paper and willing to lend me their book. I also ran into a professor from another class on the street; boy that was fun. I missed my individual meeting I was supposed to have with him today to talk about my idea for a topic for the paper. “What happened?” he asked me from across the street, at which point I waited awkwardly while the endless parade of cars passed between us until I could finally cross the street and talk to him. Boy, if I had a nickel for every time a teacher has stared at me in bewilderment and asked “what happened?” I would be a rich man. (and not just a rich George) He asked me if I had a topic, I said no… there were blank looks exchanged…I don’t remember exactly how it went, but at one point I think he said something like “there must be something in that head of yours.” And I do respect the man; he’s a great musician and composer.

Well, anyway. I also talked for a while today with one of my online buddies from France. Windows messenger has a neat feature (probably all messaging programs have it now, but this is the one I know about) that lets you quickly send a vocal message to the other person (as long as you have a mic on your computer) without going into full-out voice chat mode. I love finding new native French people to speak with. It’s one thing to communicate in writing on message boards and chat rooms and what not; it’s another thing entirely to actually speak to someone and hear their voice. I love hearing how each French person I meet has their own little quirks in speech habits. I mean, obviously everybody in any country has their own way of speaking, but for me I’m stilling learning what’s normal in French, so I don’t completely know when I hear someone talk what aspects of their speech are unique to them, which are somewhat unusual, which are common, which are universal, etc. Also, it’s a great feeling to hear someone say something in a way you’ve never heard exactly before but still understand what they’re saying. For me learning a language takes a lot of hard work and endurance of frustration, but the big payoff is when I realize how much I understand now that would have seemed like gibberish a few months ago. Of course, I still immensely enjoy the learning process (for the most part), but nothing can compare to those moments of revelation when you’re finally able to apply what you’ve learned in a practical setting.

I’m glad I remembered to write this thing today at a reasonable hour. It’s almost 10pm now, so I should be able to go to bed soon. I think I’ll go to bed early tonight. It’s time I started waking up ready to start my day rather than cursing my morning alarm as I struggle to open my eyes.

Bah, all I can think about now is school and everything I need to take care of. See, that’s the main problem when I let this sort of thing happen. It consumes my life so that I can’t actually focus on what’s important and what I actually care about in life. It reminds me of a principle of language learning that I’ve discovered. Even when you think you’re learned something (how to conjugate a verb, how to make gender agreement, etc.), it’s always good to practice it over and over so that you can get closer to the point of not having to think about it anymore. Because once something is automatic you can spend the time you would have spent thinking about that thinking about other, more difficult things. And of course the ultimate goal is to master the language to the point when you no longer have to think about it whatsoever and you can simply think about the concepts being discussed. Me getting my day-to-day life together is like the language. The more I can make that automatic, the more time I have to actually think about my real life, the meaning of my life. And on that note, I say good night to you, week-diary.

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