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Archive for the ‘Thursday’ Category

Alright. For whatever reason, many people have been expecting me to post about the newly signed bill about Health Care Reform (I’ve already written one, here: A Response. This past Tuesday, President Barack Obama signed a revolutionary health care bill into law. This bill would increase coverage to several million people and would force health care providers to adhere to various regulations as set by the 50 different markets that will be developed by this health care reform. Why we are walking backwards into a country that is no longer united, I do not know. Perhaps it is because the federal government is too terrified to make a solid decision on abortion (the Democratic party is united… united so long as no controversial topics come up). Perhaps it is because America is incapable of learning from past mistakes.

Other noteworthy comments about the bill:

  • No Republican voted for the bill (in either House or Congress)
  • The bill passed by 7 votes.
  • People who refuse Health Care or take health care that is not accepted will be fined.
  • Of all the bills that have been introduced to reform health care, this is the hardest one for me to find online. It took me 2 hours to simply find it. What the hell. The name (the actual name of the bill) has changed enough times that keeping track of it is nearly pointless.
  • Hopefully people who have been following the bill(s) now understands how a bill is passed. Perhaps the one good thing about this bill is that it encouraged people to understand how bills are passed into law (although I’m more convinced that people just gave up).

But what I really wanted to talk about was not the health care bill. Today, I want to talk about this ridiculous obsession about the health care reform bill. There are other bills out there that the Houses have to vote on and there is other news out there. Instead, we spent all our time concentrating on this one bill, which well all knew was going to pass whether we liked it or not because the Democrats have an obscene majority in the House and the Senate. Democrats who are touting it off as a new revolutionary bill that is the equivalent to the Social Security Act clearly have not seen how Social Security has been driving our financial standing into the ground and also clearly haven’t taken a serious look at the cost of the bill. (Either that, or they just simply believe every word that the Democratic Party says.) It’s also pretty ridiculous to claim that there have been immediate economic consequences (negative or positive) since it was signed into law on TUESDAY. Any change is simply a result of people’s reactions to the bill, not the bill itself.
Republicans who are too pigheaded to see that we need health care reform are equally ignorant. At least the Democratic party is making efforts to improve our health care situation. The Democratic Party at least made several attempts to include things that the Republican party wanted, while the Republican party has done nothing to try and create reform. The non-bipartisanship of this law is not the whole fault of the Democrats, who have made continual attempts to appease the Republicans.

And it’s this drama that keeps the Health Care Reform bill/law in the news. Rather than concentrating on things we can change and things that are equally important, we default back into Health Care Reform.

Below is a list of bills and laws that are equally important and are greatly ignored by mainstream America.

  • S.773 – Cybersecurity Act of 2009 – Creates a Cybersecurity Advisory Panel and allows the Department of Commerce to act as a Clearinghouse. There also a mention of a scholarship in there for students who are interested in going into cyber security, and ideas for competitions that students can enter.
  • H.R.2847 – Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE) – Signed into law on March 18, 2010. Reallocates money into House of Commerce and Transportation agencies. Also creates new incentives for hiring unemployed workers.
  • H.R.4213 – American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010 – Passed both the House and amended by the Senate (must be re-passed with the new changes by the House). It extends the current deadline to file for certain unemployment benefits. In total, the bill will cost $140 billion dollars, with NO plan to make up the money in any other way (at least the Health Care Bill[s] had various plans, although weak, to make up the lost revenue over a long period of time). [Credits to jmflora for catching my mistake]
  • H.R.3221 – Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 – Reallocates money from the Stafford loans and from programs that allow for government subsidies to support private company loans to put into the Pell Grant program. Increases money to advertising science, math and technology fields to Hispanics and Blacks (aka: more scholarship money for them).
  • S.1733 – Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (what is it with candidates for President who lost putting out bills on energy reform?) – Introduced by Senator John Kerry. Creates a nation-wide cap-and-trade program that would promote decreased greenhouse gas emissions.
  • H.R.1207 – Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009 – Introduced by Ron Paul (the only Republican who supports this bill, mind you). Overhauls the current relationship between the Federal Reserve and the US Congress/US Treasury. Gives control to the Comptroller General, who will audit the Federal Reserve
  • H.R.226 – Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2009 – Stops the FCC from reintroducing the Fairness Doctrine, which required news broadcasters to present opposing views on controversial issues (the Fairness Doctrine was abolished in 1987).
  • H.R.231 – The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009 – Creates new labels warning parents about the dangers of certain video games. The warning would read such (for games with a rating of above T): “WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior”
  • H.R.414 – Camera Phone Predator Alert Act – Requires that all phones with a camera make a sound (like a click-click camera sound) when taking a picture
  • .

I’m not asking for society to follow all the bills being passed in the US Government. Just please be aware that Health Care Reform is not the only be all end all of topics. It is certainly not the only one that is up for debate in the Houses.

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More writing!

On Thursday, Feb 18, the Federal Reserve announced that it intends to increase its Discount Rate. I found this to be interesting, because I spent the greater portion of my senior year working on the Fed Challenge, and we (as a group) determined we should increase interest rates (the Fed, however, ended up dropping them even more). However, I’m pretty sure most people don’t actually understand what this means for the economy, despite it actually having a lot of economic significance.

I noticed that a lot of people like to say they understand economic policy of the government, but have no idea about the uses of monetary policy, even though it makes up half of our economic policy. Dammit, most people don’t even know the relevance of the Federal Reserve.

And, yes, I am fully aware that I have talked about this before. If you want a real quick explanation, you can go back and read my previous blog posts about the Federal Reserve:
1)The Real Quick (and, now that I look back, poorly written) Blurb
2)A Post About Possibly Shifting More Power to Congress and Away from The Federal Reserve

But going back to the original topic, I think it’s fascinating that the Fed decided to increase the Discount Rate. It’s an action that I’ve been hoping they’d do for quite some time in an effort to move towards a normal economic system. Hopefully this is a sign that the Federal Reserve tends to put some value back into our dollar, instead of continually plummeting the interest rate to pump more money into the economy.

However, I am curious to see how soon it will be until the Federal Reserve decides to bump their Reserve Rate up. The Fed has stated that they want to keep their interest rates relatively low, so that banks can still borrow money (Congress, on the other hand, likes to pump money into the economy with no direction or goal of using it to put the economy back on track), but I’m not sure if this increase will be enough to encourage banks and investors that the economy is actually improving. I’ll be interested to see when the Federal Reserve decides to increase their Reserve Rate, because it’ll be a good gauge of how well they think our economy is coming out of the depression.

The situation is twice as interesting since Bernanke is up for reappointment by the president, and I wonder if this decision will help or hinder his reappointment. Despite him being an appointment made by Bush, Obama seems likely to reappoint Bernanke for a second term. I personally feel that Bernanke is far too fearful of making significant changes, and that the Federal Reserve dances around too much and allows the economy to grow too much (resulting in a bubble burst and a recession), but past Fed Chairmen (*cough* Alan Greenspan *cough*) have been equally terrible. Perhaps if they didn’t worry so much about being reappointed, they’d be capable of doing their job.

And yet we see the same problems in government politics. Elected (and appointed) officials are so damn terrified about not being reappointed that they do a poor job because they’re too afraid to do anything. And, as a result, the economy crumbles because politicians have to listen to American society, many of whom think that by simply making more money, we’ll be a richer country.

Perhaps if Americans could realize they’re not as smart in Economics and Policy Making as they claim to be, they’d be more willing to learn and understand, and politicians could actually do their job. It’s funny to think that politicians get voted in because they suck at policy making (as much as Americans suck at political science).


Post-writing apologizes: I realize that this has become more of a complaint about how American people don’t understand economics/political science rather than an analysis of what the Federal Reserve Discount Rate increase actually means. I’m glad the Federal Reserve Discount Rate has increased, because it’ll hopefully trick the economy into improving and jump start loaning again. But most people won’t see the relevance in it since most people, wrongly, think the government has complete control over the economy. Silly Americans.

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I know! I haven’t posted in a very long time. Things have been very busy for me. I ended up in the hospital about two weeks ago due to severe dehydration, mostly because I forgot that water is an essential part of the body! But, I do have a lot of things I want to talk about, and one of my meetings (Hall Council) was canceled, so I’ve suddenly found the time to rant a bit. I do have a lot of things I want to talk about, so hopefully I’ll be posting more, so I don’t keep forgetting to.

A week ago, my friend Bill and I decided to go to Wendy’s to pick up some baconators (yes, I can finish a baconator, but only if its a single). While we were there, we got into talking about American privileges, most of which are defined within our Bill of Rights (but we talked about other things, like American passports and such). I stated that most Americans generally undervalue their rights, while immigrants tend to cling onto them more because they may not have had them in their country of origin.

In any case, the conversation moved into several other topics (such as Final Fantasy). But, as we were talking about something totally different, the woman who sat across from us decided to stand up and face me. After overhearing our conversation, this is what she had to say (I wrote it down right after she left):

“I’m proud to be an American. I know my rights. You foreigners think they can just come in here and get all the privileges we Americans have.”

She then proceeded to say something about foreigners not understanding America and then proceeded to leave. Her husband (who didn’t say anything) hung around a little, went to the bathroom and left.

The statement itself was rather shocking, but highlights how ignorant people can be (and I’m not talking about her use of “you” and “them” in the same sentence) about their culture, privileges and political structure.

For one, she automatically assumed I was a foreigner. She did not make any contact with my friend, who was a white male, but proceeded to complain to me directly, because I was a foreigner who clearly did not understand America. For all she knows, I could have been a fifth generation Asian-American with a father who worked in county politics (which I’m not). But all of this would have been inconsequential, because I looked like a foreigner. This was more of a racial-generalization problem that I found personally aggravating because I happen not consider myself a foreigner.

My two major gripes with her statement were that:

1) She argues that foreigners take away American rights, because foreigners inherently need to be separated from the true Americans (perhaps she should look into being part of the Aryan brotherhood). Therefore, foreigners are inherently separated from the American culture and adding more foreigners takes away from the “true” American, as if there were people who were “truly American.” It makes me curious to see what she thinks about African-Americans. Are they “foreigners” or are they Americans? What about Hispanics? Or is she picking on Asians because we have small eyes?

Going further than that, it makes me wonder what she feels foreigners do deserve. Does she want to ship us all back and make America a 100% white, protestant country? What do “Americans” deserve? What does it mean to be “American” and does it have to do with race? If she wants to be really technical and go back to outdated times, many of our founding fathers wouldn’t have considered her an American, because she was a woman.

2) She clearly didn’t understand what American privileges I was talking about, because you can’t quite split up “Freedom of Speech” and other things. If another person enters a country, American does not take away another person’s freedom of speech and hand it to the new immigrant. In a monetary sense, then I suppose adding more people takes government money away from others, but she doesn’t have much of a right to talk, since I’m pretty sure she takes social security checks (and, judging from her age, Medicare) and probably gets more money from the government than a Fresh Off the Boat (FOB) 30 year old Asian man.

I wanted to ask her how much she really knew about American privileges. Does she know that 5 adults pay for every person on Social Security? Is she aware of how Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid were developed? Does she know how our welfare state is organized?

Her comment really drove home the idea that Americans undervalue and disregard our privileges as, well, privileges. Because it is so ingrained that these “privileges” are human necessities, she and others like her forget that there are countries such as China, where free speech is just about non-existent, and France, where the burka may be banned because it poses a threat to their secular state. We often take for granted our freedom to speak out against the government and practice our religion. Often, we even take for granted our freedom to work hard so we can rise in economic status (because, yes, that is a freedom that some other states do not give to their citizens). Even I know that, in many situations, I undervalue the privileges I would not have in many other countries.

While I decided not to verbally fight against her, what she said to me was both hilarious and depressing in its sheer ignorance. Although I would like to think that there are not many others like her, it’s this lack of intelligence and humility that drove me to make my comment in the first place.

I wonder if she would have thought differently had she known I was a political science major.

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Hello blogosphere!

I have been having a very busy week (and yet I still find time to write, how blessed you all must be؟) so I am going to preemptively apologize for the poor quality of this post. If anyone has been following the news, there has been a lot of interesting events that are occurring. For one, geocities is closing down, which is pretty spectacular. The internet, and its members, have been celebrating geocities’ demise (xkcd has been particularly awesome about this).

Senator Harry Reid has also announced a change in a health care reform bill to include an “opt out plan.” How this will work, it doesn’t say, but it certainly will be interesting to see some of the extreme left Democrats chew him out.

I also went out and cosplayed as Yuna for Geneseo Anime Club’s annual Costume Bash, which was interesting. Maybe there will be pictures (but I highly doubt it).

This Halloween, instead of going out cosplaying, attending an anime convention, trick o’ treating or partying out with friends, I will be leading workshops at a conference in the middle of Lake George. Oh great joy (fml)؟

Also, Paul Krugman disappointed me today in his NY Times column. To use the Mass. Health Care Reform as an adequate comparison to a national health care reform plan is disgraceful. It reminds (reminded?) me of Sarah Palin’s energy rebate plan. It may work in a small area (Mass or Alaska) but would hardly work in a nation.

Currently Listening To: The Magic Flute Prelude (Mozart)
Currently Drinking: Arizona Ice Tea
Currently Eating: Invisible Magic Beans (which turned out to be nothing at all)
Current Mood: Bah. If anyone has a car and feels like driving me to Syracuse this coming Friday night (I pay for gas and crap, obviously)… I’d greatly appreciate it if you could. I really would. Please. Help. Please! I mean it!

The term Feminism can be used to describe an academic discourse, or to describe a political, cultural or economic movement aimed at establishing more rights and legal protection for women.

Since its introduction in the early 1900s, feminism has stood for the improvement (betterment?) of women’ rights (civil rights, social rights, ect). While its first was was for women’s sufferage (the dead generation of President Harding would probably say with certainty that women should no longer vote), feminism has since spread to other parts of socio-economic and political reform, including wage equity, abortion/birth control reform and wartime drafting. However, its concept is the same: improving and empowering women and giving them more rights.

This is not sex based equality.

Let me repeat. Egalitarianism (yes, this is a real word. Google it, spell check it, it exists) is different from feminism. That is why there are two different words and two different schools of thoughts. There isn’t even a mention of “equality” anymore when it comes to feminism. And yet, there is a clear association with feminism and sexual equality, that feminist believe in female equivalence, not female empowerment. There needs to be a clear distinction, because while egalitarianism believes in social reform for social equality (and that means both male and female rights), feminism has little to no regard for “leveling the playing field.” While many of their opinions overlap (women should get the same wages and salaries as their male counterparts), there are many planks that oppose each other (egalitarianism believes in equal maternal and paternal leave, while feminism will rarely even look at fathers) and the motives behind their actions greatly differ.

Let me give you an example. Egalitarianism would encourage women to join science fields because there should be sexual equality and because egalitarians would believe that women can work as well as men. Feminism, on the other hand, encourages women to join science fields because women need to prove that they are as good at men. Egalitarianism already believes what feminism FORCES upon others.

Why am I making such a big stint on the difference between egalitarianism and feminism? Besides the fact that I was reading my last post on it and feeling pretty shitty about how poorly it was written? Because, while I support an idea of gender equality (and while I do feel that women have a disadvantage comparatively to men in many, but not all, fields), I don’t support the idea of female empowerment. Plus, I’m not big on the “we’ve been persecuted against our whole lives, and now we’re lashing back on all things masculine because you are guys and we are girls to prove that women are as good as, if not better than, men.”

Yes, I am also equally aware that there are two branches of modern feminism. There is equity feminists, who are (in my mind) gender-concentrated egalitarians who like to still call themselves feminists (Betty Friedan). These are not who I am talking about (and many of these have realized the light and moved on to egalitarianism anyway), so don’t get your panties in a bunch. I am talking about gender feminists, the majority of feminists that roam the streets today. Gender feminism is not gender equality but rather, a movement for female dominance or empowerment (Girl Power!), This is especially seen in marriage and family court cases, where gender feminists like to insist the child HAS TO stay with the mother, or that the wife should get the majority of the goods. In other words, it is a new bastardization of sexism that puts on a mask called “Feminism,” giving it the connotation of equality (since the rest of the world seems to think feminism means equal gender rights).

It is because of these feminists that an ERA (Equal Rights Act/Amendment) has yet to pass. Yes, I am aware that there is supposed repetition with the 14th amendment, but the 14th amendment speaks to protection rather than creation of laws (a major difference). Plus, everyone in politics and law seems to use the 14th amendment for the due process clause anyway.

But I am getting off topic. By fighting against an ERA, feminists are able to prevent women from being drafted, and are able to prevent a level playing field in child custody cases (where it is near certain that the mother gets the child). And yet, these are the same feminists who claim that women always have the disadvantage. If they want to create equality, equality must be created in all faucets of life, not in select choice places that give women an edge.

Feminism may have stood for equal sufferage and equal rights in the early 1900’s, but that definition is long dead. There is no equality in feminism. Don’t be fooled by the misuse of a long dead explanation about the struggle of females all over the world. Feminism now, in 2009, is simply a polite term for sexist behavior.

(And that’s how Sue [C] sees it).

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Schedule!

Fall 2009 Classes for SUNY Geneseo started in Monday, and today I finalized my classes, which means I have been hard at work reorganizing my calendar, ordering my books, fixing my dorm and deciding when to blog. Yes, that is right, I will be attempting th put time aside to blog.

This semester, I will be taking a total of 6 courses that amount to 19 credits. The classes are as follows:

Asian Theater Survey
International Politics
American Politics
Sociology 100
Public Speaking
Astronomy 100 (and subsequent Lab)

Most of the classes are more lax than most, so we’ll see how the year turns out. I will also be doing my regular CKI stuff, which gives me a grand total of…

a lot of work.

I have yet to actually decide on the dates I will blog, but they will most likely be Tuesday and a to-be-determined-other-day.

In any case, I wanted to make this general announcement to say that I am still alive, I am still working on a health care post, I have an awesome schedule and I love lamp. And my room. My room is friggin awesome.

Also, I am shamelessly advertising my brother because he is an awesome artist and you all should commission from him:

Awesome right? Yea, you know it is. So go, ask him what his prices are, and be amazed at the work of a 16 year old kid. You can contact him via his email: apple_cannon@hotmail.com, or contact me to contact him!

Okay, that’s all for today. I’ll see you guys when I actually BLOG.

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Hey guys. I’m glad to be posting more frequently, I suppose it means I have more to say. ;D

Again, nothing spectacular to say. I’ve just been trying to go around, making myself a little more productive this summer. I started playing KOL again, to kind of kill time (I know, not very productive, but eh!) in between other stuff. I’ve been doing a lot of reddit-ing, and keeping myself excited for the new FFXIV (FF14, for you roman numerically-challenged). Rumor has it that it’s going to be an MMO from the same world as FFXI, which I played for over 2 years. I’m kinda pumped about that.

OH OH. I’ve also finished and am-up-to-date on Order of the Stick.

And, as a preliminary disclaimer, this post is mostly about NYC public transportation. To be specific, it’s about buses (as you may have noticed from the title above). I apologize to any of you non-NYC dwellers and non-bus takers who may not understand the full depth of this post.

Currently Listening To: Dancing Through Life (Wicked)
Currently Drinking: Nada
Currently Reading: Pandora Hearts
Current Mood: Relaxing
A Site You Should Look At

I like to think of myself as an “expert” of sorts when it comes to public transportation. So I just wanted to share some observations I had while sitting on a bus (the 88 to Queens Center Mall and various others). It’s not so much a complaint on people that ride public transportation (although I have plenty of those), as it is just general notes.

People ALWAYS choose to sit next to a female over a male if both of them are strangers (perhaps not always so much as 90 percent of the time). I thought this was interesting simply because the female could always be louder or more annoying, but the person will still chose to sit there. If two seats are empty, and they are next to two people of different gender, a transit-user will choose the woman, even if the woman is loudly listening to music, or loudly talking on the phone.

People also tend to scavage for a seat next to someone who is ethnically similar. For example, a woman was asian attempted to sit next to me before the hispanic woman (although I was way in the back of the bus).

And now that we’ve decided people choose their bus seats based on gender and race (for as much as we hate and refuse to admit it, they actually matter), let’s talk about age. I noticed muself doing this when I was getting on another bus. People tend to choose seats next to younger males and older women. When I was presented with two perfectly fine seats that vertically opposed each other, I ended up sitting next to the seat with the younger man next to me. This rule doesn’t apply to males. Younger males usually stand (even with empty seats), or sit next to anyone of youth, preferably female.

Besides this, older females tend to switch seats more quickly than any other demographic group.

The bathroom etiquette of skipping a urinal also applies to buses (although I’m sure many of you caught this). Skipping seats is very popular on the back of the bus. In the newer hybrids, which are lined differently, the single seats are always chosen, then one person fills one seat of the double seats, and the skipping seat pattern can be seen in the back.

A great way for avoiding someone sitting next to you is to make some sort of malicious eye contact. I always tend to glance up when the bus stops (usually an implication of “oh hai, a red light” or a bus stop). When someone steps on the bus and I’d much rather not have them sit next to me, I try to shoot them a “under the brow glare/stare.” Of course, this only really works when they’re scavenging for seats, which means you should be sitting in the front of the bus.

Another great trick to use is to put something on that chair. Remember the Asian lady I was talking about? She had clearly started making a motion towards me when she noticed I had a bag on my seat. Some people find that asking for someone else to remove their bag can be rude and awkward. Of course, it’s really quite rare that the the bag-owner will say no, but that extra effort is usually not worth it if there is another seat that is just as readily avaliable. This doesn’t work if you’re the last seat (clearly), since standing is always somehow infinitely worse than sitting.

People love avoiding young, roudy groups that sit in the back. This is because of the very obvious fact that most of these kinds of groups tend to be very loud, or are generally disruptive.

When men and women stand on a bus and don’t have to, the reasons they do so are generally different. Men stand because it’s easier to lean on something, or it looks more awesome. Women stand because there is a man occuping a seat next to any avaliable one. I’ve seen women stand up after a man comes and sits down next to her.

Women are also more likely to change seats, anad use the handles supplied, whereas men are more likely to try and stand sans-support or by leaning against something.

Men are more likely to move into the stairwell area of a bus, but women are more likely to demand people move back in a crowded bus. These are to areas that should be in semi-high demand once a bus starts getting crowded simply because there are fewer people in the area, but people like to stay in the front of the bus. Usually, when a man notices that, he goes as far as the stairwell and stops, but women usually get a little more pushy and verbal to get to the very back, which gives far more breathing space. This always reminds me of the buses that have an obscenely crowded front-part, but a practically empty back bus. For me, this always happens on the 58. For out-of-city-ers (or people who have never used the 58), the 58 is the bus that takes me to Flushing, which is the mini/residential/second-Chinatown of New York City. It has a high HIGH population of Asian people, and most early-morning weekend buses are filled with Asian folks that rush to Flushing to get their kids to cram schools or music lessons (and while their kids go do that, they meet with other mothers who sent their kids to cram school over a cup of tea). I find that this bus, the 58 is a very populat bus to see the frontal overload effect, simply because many of them refuse to sit in the back, or they like to stare at the non-Asians who get on the 58 to go to Flushing.

When it comes to pressing the button to signal a stop, there are generally 2 types of people: people who love to lbe the first person to press the button, and people who try to wait until someone presses the button. There are few people who press the button in the middle of the ride. This might be because the former group wants to be sure the stop is pressed or is worried that the driver will miss the stop while the latter group is just embarassed (you’ll find that a lot of people get embarassed on the bus).

At this point, I decided to hop off the bus and stop with my silly bus observations, but I’ll be sure to pull in some more. I ride the bus a lot, so don’t be suprised if something comes in soon. Ciao!

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Home!

So I just had a practically 11 hour ride home from Geneseo to here, because my family decided to take over 15 pit stops to go to the bathroom (and by my family, I mean my dad). Because of that, I have no real time to blog today (duh) so I’ll be blogging tomorrow in between all my cosplaying adventures.

Besides that, I’ve just been generally relaxing and packing to go home (and of going, being on the road home). In total, I had 2 pieces of luggage, 4 large boxes, a sewing machine box, a pots/pans box and about 3 more bags of extra “crap.” I also had my laundry box that held all my books and crap.

Anyway! Yea, lots of things brought home… lots of things to unpack in the next few days.~ So expect a full report tomorrow

~ Mint

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