Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

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Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by roymond »

Tim and Nina are coming to dinner. Are you ready?
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by nyjm »

http://www.zagat.com/

... I find it creepy that this site knows where I live...
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by big crouton »

Those songs went up shockingly fast.
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by Paco Del Stinko »

Fightmasters: Thanks for squeezing my song into the fight, I appreciate it. (Even if no-one else will!) Thanks a ton, you guys are the best!
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by roymond »

big crouton wrote:Those songs went up shockingly fast.
I guess Spud is still alive.
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by Ross »

Hey congrats to WreckdoM on song number 100!!!!!!!
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by Paco Del Stinko »

OH! I didn't even see that WreckdoM is back. Awesome, and congratulations. I'll check out the fight tomorrow. Great lineup.
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by Billy's Little Trip »

Mine got in late, but it's there. Thank you SpudStud. For those that downloaded the stream thingy this morning, I don't think mine is in there. Not that it matters much. I just ended up doing a homo erotic love song about penises and vaginas :wink:
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by Spud »

I go by Spud around here, sir. You're pushing more than your luck.
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by Ross »

HIlarious! - glad I was online to watch that unfold.
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by jast »

With a crazy title like that I was pretty much expecting interesting and unusual songs. Well, expectations have been met.

Big Crouton -- Genre bias, but for some reason I like this fairly well. I suppose it helps that it reminds me of the LHC rap (the chorus rhythm is similar and they've both got the "one of a kind" line). Plus it rocks! This is a love song I can get into. Vote.
Billy's Little Trip -- Can't say I can get into the lyrics (putting this to the title is quite a stretch, isn't it?) though I guess they're pretty okay. Vocals are a bit off at times; that worked well for some of your other songs but this one seems to be going for more of a melodical quality. I think. Perhaps I'm just more tired than I was during my other reviews.
Elaine DiMasi -- I like this song. But. I think the falsetto/head voice parts are an order of magnitude less cool than everything else. This standard falsetto sound just doesn't belong in most music. Falsettic (I'm not even the first person to use this word) refinements or mixed voice would have saved the day here. Oh, one more thing: I think the intro isn't mixed well. When the remaining tracks come in it's pretty good but those don't work well if mixed this way on their own. I'm guilty of this one too. The solution is to use fader automation (if available).
Ford's Theater Disaster -- Genre bias. A lot of clipping in the vocals.
The Hand Formula -- Again, this is a bit of variety compared to the last couple of songs. That's a good thing. All other things I could say now I've said before.
Ian C. Anderson -- Quirky. Genre bias. Short. I don't like the flanging in the vocals. In a way this is pretty cool though.
Jam Toast -- Genre bias. The guitar is hard to listen to on headphones for any longer period of time. Delay-based fake doubling? Otherwise I can't complain.
Jan Krueger -- I'm almost embarrassed about submitting this. I'll call it admitting to mediocrity, in an attempt to be overly polite to myself. This is my most economical mix so far: one guitar+lead track, two backup vocal tracks. Oh, and I suppose recording and mixing everything in twenty minutes counts for something too. Not that I'm trying to find excuses or anything.
Jonathan Mann and the Berkeley Social Scene -- Groovy! Lead vocals are a bit unsteady sometimes. This is definitely vote material, though.
Max The Cat -- Great vocals! Another groovy submission. Vote.
MC Paul Denyer -- The bass-ish arpeggios are weird. I think the vocals would have needed a lot more compression/presence. They keep disappearing behind everything else. Too much bass for me. Oh, and what kind of ending is that supposed to be?
Melvin -- Hey, this time even I recognized where you got your samples from! Genre bias. Again, you do it well, no surprise there.
Minty Handy -- Clipping. Slightly flat vocals in a few places. Nice song, though.
Paco del Stinko -- That was enjoyable, in a weird crazy kind of way. Clipping. I'll have to let this one stew for a bit before I decide on it.
raisin brain -- Clipping! The thing that seems to be the lead synth in the beginning is severely detuned, though if it is what I think it is, I can see why. I would have cut that part; the intro is really long anyway. Anyway, the only verdict I can give right now is that I'm bored.
R. Mosquito -- Chip rock! Lovely. The vocals are off a lot, so they fall behind the rest in terms of quality. Otherwise this would be on the shortlist for my permanent playlist (that's how much I dig chiptune and derivatives). Plus points for wormy lyrics.
Ross Durand -- You've done better vocals. Nice guitars though. Could be rather likeable.
roymond -- You're way behind! We had the market crash theme in the last fight. The song is likeable, though. Nice vocals, nice guitars, nice harmonies. And all that.
Steve Durand -- The coolest thing about this one is the brass. Nice little tune, too, and plus points for using the classic "catching a shoe" idea.
Todd McHatton -- Fast-paced, fun song. The verse guitar is a bit boring, and I think the doubled (tripled?) high C vocals near the end are a bit much. Still, this is almost an easy vote, as usual.
Tuba Toothpaste -- You might want to pull up the master level next time, the song is fairly quiet. Fun song though. More work in the mixing stage could make this one really cool.
The Weakest Suite -- Another round of yucky falsetto. See comments I wrote about Elaine's song. I'll try to ignore that for the rest of this review though. You've got great ideas for additional recipes to go with the soup. The end seems a bit abrupt from a purely structural point of view. The song itself is not bad (yeah, I know, that's a non-helpful thing to write, but the falsetto really distracts me). I think I would have liked it with different vocalizing.
WreckdoM -- Weird intro. Weird everything else. At least one track is clipping all over the place. Too random for me to review, sorry.

I'm having a hard time deciding who to vote for this time. Votes will definitely go to Big Crouton, Jonathan Mann and the Berkeley Social Scene, Max The Cat, Todd McHatton. Additional votes may go to Billy's Little Trip, Elaine DiMasi, Minty Handy, Paco del Stinko, R. Mosquito, Ross Durand, roymond, Steve Durand, Tuba Toothpaste. I might follow up with additional comments should I make a decision.

Update: the results on the addtional votes are in! Details:
Billy's Little Trip: Gets a vote for rock and cool backup vocals.
Elaine DiMasi: In comparison to the rest of the song, an additional thing I noticed is that there isn't much of a high end; it's pretty much dominated by (reverberized) ess sounds from the lead vocals. That could be improved. Still, gets a vote for being a great song and one of the more outstanding lyrical takes on the title.
Minty Handy: Gets a vote for sounding honest and doing G+G well.
Paco del Stinko: Gets a vote for the "ooo-ooo-ooo, it's shoelace soup". Mostly. And the craziness, perhaps.
R. Mosquito: Gets a vote for pure chip-rockiness.
Ross Durand: Gets a vote for great guitars (is that an uku or a violin on the left?) that pretty much make up for the vocal issues.
roymond: Gets a vote for convincing performance. You don't need to know the lyrics to hear the "broken man".
Steve Durand: Gets a vote for horns and groove.
Tuba Toothpaste: Gets a vote for good rock'n'roll with lovely arrangement.

(Update 2: got a word wrong.)
Last edited by jast on Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by Smalltown Mike »

You didn't all submit great songs, but you all deserve crackers for your soup. Again I don't have comments for everyone; some stuff just didn't move me either way.

Ian C. Anderson: I always wondered where you went after Jethro Tull. I actually dig this BUT the vocals are muddy—doubled too much, or just too much delay? But more important is that this needs a chorus, not just the title repeated. And variety would be good, too, because this song could be saved.

Steve Durand: So many shoe jokes, so little time. Your horns are the best thing on SongFight, without a doubt. Everything is good when I hear those horns. Always takes it up to the next level.

Paco: For some reason, the first line really turned me off. Yea, me. This is a song that I should dig more than I do, but I think the first line killed it for me. Nice gtr solo. The falsetto is killing me, too.

Tuba: What in this is real, instrument-wise? Cuz I"m a sucker for real horns. I think I said that already.

Ross Durand: I really dig the instrumentation in this. Lots going on in the headphones, shakers, great little solo. Lotsa harmonies. Great tune. Why don't you and your brother ever join forces? Or do you?

Fords Theatre Disaster: That little drum roll that keeps popping up doesn't seem to fit, or seem real. Vocals are pretty hard to hear too—and they seem to clip once in a while, too.

roymond: The two voices compete against each other during the verses. You might want to kick 'em in only for the chorus.

minty handy: This has an "I wrote and recorded this on the spot" feel, which may or may not be the case.

Paul Denyer: Your vocals are always too quiet, which is too bad because you've got a cool enough voice.

Max the Cat: Great groove to start. Geat voice. This'd fit in the midst of a Coen Brothers film. Go ahead, call 'em up and see if they need a tune. Tell 'em I suggested it. Great tune. "It's not a meal, it's an attitude" is fantastic. Thanks for this one.

Jan Krueger: Genre bias: I'm not crazy about songs by people with so many genre biases. That intro riff would be great to rap over, but the rest I'm not digging so much.

Elaine Di Masi: I get what you're going for with the intro, rocking part, but it didn't quite work. Has to hit a lot harder.

Wreckdom: Great voices. Love the "what was in that soup that you gave me" line. Where have you been? The world needs more Wreckdom. Really great vibe. This is my favourite tune of yours.

Big Crouton: Vocals are too loud. The mix really mars this, because it could be cool if the vocals weren't so loud. More variety in the style of the lines would help, too.

Jam Toast:
It's always fun getting my 9-year-old in front of the mic. Thanks Des for the gtr solo. I should have asked him to mix it, too, I think.
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by Billy's Little Trip »

Big Crouton - smokin' guitar riff - Rap rock works for you - the bridge is too long, but reminds me of White Gold for some reason - Rocks - I like it

Billy's Little Trip - A love song for the poor and horny :P

Elaine DiMasi - Nice to have a new member - Interesting lyrics - I noticed that you play real drums as well as guitars and keys - good song - I like it

Ford's Theater Disaster - Cool guitar - Not sure what you're saying, but it sounds cool - nice job

The Hand Formula - You sure get some cool jams out of that little PlaySchool piano. I wish your vocals had the same room ambiance as your piano to make them sound like they're in the same space, even though they may be, but they don't match. I like it, good job

Ian C. Anderson - Reminds me of that song "shoes", lol - I like all the synth sounds - good work

Jam Toast - This is a fun song - Love the Jam Toast

Jan Krueger - You sure can play that guitar, nice - I've noticed that you have an interesting vocal delivery style - Very bare for you, but I still like it

Jonathan Mann and the Berkeley Social Scene - Finally! - I want so bad to like this band, but in the past I've been bored to shit with great musicianship and disappointing songs - But this is it! - I love this song - Great work guys

Max The Cat - Sweet blues - Cool jam - Well written and played - great job, I like it

MC Paul Denyer - You make some killer jams, I wish you weren't so reserved on your vocal delivery - I dig the layers - I like it

Melvin - Dude, you're grossing me out! hunumunah, lmao - Funny - good job

Minty Handy - Great melody - I usually read when I'm on the toilet, but you make awesome music - great little ditty, Mr Handy - I like it

Paco del Stinko - Haha - You kill me, Chuck - Diggin' the panned layers - The brothers Gibb are envious - Good job

raisin brain - I'm skeeerd - What's gonna happen next......well? - If this is one of those songs with the scary face that jumps out at me and goes BOOAHHHHHHEEEK! so help me, I'll scream - Hmm, nothing happened, I made it through this just fine without pooping myself - In that case, cool sound scape

R. Mosquito - Fast - cluby - loud - what's not to like? Good job

Ross Durand - Sounds like you drew from the old story of Stone Soup - Good ol down home jug music.....except no jug, but that's ok, I made jug blowin' sounds all the way through - Good job, Ross :wink:

roymond - You harmonize well with yourself - This is actually pretty damn good - I like the bridge, too - good job

Steve Durand - Always a jolly tune and happy story from you - I like the muted trumpet in this - Great musicianship as always - good work, Steve

Todd McHatton - Another bouncy Beatles style number - You have a good voice - peaking my headphones - Good work

Tuba Toothpaste - Finally, someone Steve Durand can enjoy - Happy little ditty - Good work

The Weakest Suit - Were you listening to Niel Young when you fell asleep the night before you wrote this song? You need to do more pot songs. I said "I . Am . A . Joy" for two days straight after hearing your calm down song, lol.

WreckdoM - The open roomy snare sounds cool - So much sound filling the space it's hard to hear - But it is a song and I heard the word shoelace soup, so good work
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by The Weakest Suit »

Billy's Little Trip wrote:The Weakest Suit - Were you listening to Niel Young when you fell asleep the night before you wrote this song? You need to do more pot songs. I said "I . Am . A . Joy" for two days straight after hearing your calm down song, lol.
i don't mean to kill your buzz, but the line was: "i am a joint" (being that the song is about a joint). i'm glad you liked that one. i really tried to do something different with it (no guitar, different genre).

my shoelace soup song is about drugs too (if you consider poisoning your family the night before the bank takes your home doing drugs). joy! :lol:
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by Billy's Little Trip »

The Weakest Suit wrote:
Billy's Little Trip wrote:The Weakest Suit - Were you listening to Niel Young when you fell asleep the night before you wrote this song? You need to do more pot songs. I said "I . Am . A . Joy" for two days straight after hearing your calm down song, lol.
i don't mean to kill your buzz, but the line was: "i am a joint" (being that the song is about a joint). i'm glad you liked that one. i really tried to do something different with it (no guitar, different genre).

my shoelace soup song is about drugs too (if you consider poisoning your family the night before the bank takes your home doing drugs). joy! :lol:
I am a joint? Would it be ok if I continue saying I am a joy? It's funnier that way. :mrgreen:
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

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Smalltown Mike wrote:roymond: The two voices compete against each other during the verses. You might want to kick 'em in only for the chorus.
Billy's Little Trip wrote:roymond - You harmonize well with yourself - This is actually pretty damn good - I like the bridge, too - good job
OK, you're both right! I couldn't decide left or right on the vocals. So I left everything in. What the hell...my own chord changes made it hard to harmonize this one. Thanks, Billy, glad you liked it. It's sort of dry but I liked the sounds so far. It really needs brushes and pedal steel guitar. I really want a pedal steel guitar. Saw a guy two weeks ago who just was so sweet. Almost like a cross between a theramin and Robert Fripp, playing for a guy who wrote songs about strange events in American history. Turns out he's a producer for the History Channel.
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by jast »

Smalltown Mike wrote:I'm not crazy about songs by people with so many genre biases.
When I say "genre bias", I mean that I don't know that kind of music well enough to be able to give particularly insightful reviews. It's sort of an apology. Is that a bad thing?
Billy's Little Trip wrote:You sure can play that guitar, nice - I've noticed that you have an interesting vocal delivery style
Aw cmon, you're making me blush, particularly when I'm so very unimpressed with my song. Anyhow, "interesting"? So it can be heard that I was pretty much just out of bed when I recorded that song? ;) (Even before I read your review, by the way, I decided that I'm going to try a different approach to vocalizing in the next fight...)
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by jb »

I think "genre bias" is a legitimate response, but you have to use it correctly. In your post above I think you mean "genre ignorance" or something, although in your reviews you *seem* to be using the term correctly. Mixed messages, bub.

For future reference, "genre bias" means you just don't like that kind of music-- like rap, or country --and that's the reason you don't think you can give an honest critique. It's a way of saying "you did this well, but it's just in a style that I don't like."

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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by jast »

Yeah, well, perhaps it's not quite as clear as I claimed it was. There is an interaction between understanding and liking. If I can understand a song chances are quite high that I can get to like it. For example, there are a fair number of songs here that I like despite never listening to songs in their genre otherwise (e.g. country music). I think the most important condition for me to like a song is that it has some kind of melody at least somewhere along the way. I can't think of a good name for that kind of bias. Perhaps I'll just call it "random bias" from now on.

PS. I've updated my review post with details about the remaining votes, as promised.
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by Smalltown Mike »

jast wrote:When I say "genre bias" ... is that a bad thing?
Naw, I'm just playing with you. But seriously, expand you horizons.
jast wrote: Delay-based fake doubling?
Nope. Good old-fashioned "play the part twice and pan it hard left and right."
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by jast »

Smalltown Mike wrote:But seriously, expand you horizons.
That's why I'm here. ;)
Nope. Good old-fashioned "play the part twice and pan it hard left and right."
Perhaps the takes are just extremely similar. Anyway, it felt weird on headphones (I can't afford real speakers. There, I said it). No big issue, though.
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Re: Zagat's Domain (Shoelace Soup reviews)

Post by ElaineDiMasi »

Big Crouton - Best soup-recipe song of the fight. Way to write a love song! It just kept getting better, and it was definitely the outro where I toggled from "this is good, yeah?" to "OMG this is GENIUS". vote!

Ford's Theater Disaster - Loved the sound and the grit, and the vocal delivery ("you're a pretty girl", scared me!). As before, couldn't understand all the words. Checked the lyric page later and thought they were pretty cool. I do seem to like your overall thing here don't I though, vote!

Jam Toast - This is the OTHER best soup-recipe song of the night. Whole thing is fun, and you did something rather impressive with the voice back-and-forths. They hit real rhymes right-on-the-beat, yet still sound completely natural. That 9 year old of yours has some stage presence, too. vote!

Max the Cat - A very good sounding track. Couldn't get into the story, despite the little clever stuff and good phrasing. No vote, but I collected the mp3.

Melvin - Ew, you grossed me out AND you sampled the Muppets! No fair. I have to admit that the "In the kitchen .." hook is very catchy. But maybe that's because it was such a relief from the other things you were saying, yuk. No vote, but I saved your mp3. Not going to listen to it again though.

Todd McHatton - I like the turnarounds your songs seem to have. You do know what to do with the ends of your phrases, and get into the next sections of songs in cool sounding ways. Sorry, but again the shoelace soup story keeps it below the threshold for me. Another mp3 for my collection, but no vote.

WreckdoM - "What was in that soup that you gave me?" got my attention, but I didn't stay interested in the music.

Weakest Suit - Starting out like that is ok, but nothing got bigger. Not the melody, not the ideas. I also did not like the final major chord you landed on after the suspended-sounding parts.

Tuba Toothpaste - Song written by list-making, was my impression. Not a fan of that.

Steve Durand - Not a style I could get into, though I appreciated the puns and the fact that you didn't pull your punches.

roymond - Nice sounding but nothing in this song is enough "larger than life" to get my vote.

Ross Durand - Nice execution, and nice details, but again not a larger than life story going on here.

R. Mosquito - I have an allergy to the thin vocals and the frenetic beatmachine. The high noises fight with the words, which I can't understand. Sorry!

raisin brain - I'll hang around a cool soundscape for a little while, but something has to happen sooner. At your first real change, which first I started to believe in at around 1:10 but wasn't confirmed until 2:11, you barely beat my hand to the skip-it button. Then I'm seeing there's five more minutes to go and still no narrative! My journalistic commitment got me to your words, which are somewhat interesting, but overall your finished product cannot be recommended at this time.

Paco del Stinko - Um, the falsetto is killing me. Not a bad nod to funk, but in the end it's a shoelace soup story and those aren't usually very good.

MC Paul Denyer - Soup-recipe song in a listmaking style. Can't get interested. Or maybe you're saying something else too, but the vox are a bit hard to hear.

Jonathan Mann and the BSS - Soup song scenario, listmaking, the music doesn't go anywhere special.

Jan Krueger - You're singing only about soup and even more than the other ones, there's no engagement of the listener at all! Unless it's in the use of the word "aglet". I noticed that at least two songs mentioned aglets, and two songs rhymed "tart|s" with "fart|s". Does Songfight have a statistic for these kinds of things?

Ian C. Anderson - The listmaking threw me out.

Hand Formula - Ouch to the toy pianos. I'd accept them just to set a stage of spookiness, but then something else has to happen. Because that sound is way too annoying to listen to. The melody is also bland and repetitive, so nothing moves the song forward from its starting point. The line about "give them what they pay for" pricked up my ears, but I didn't know what it meant because my attention had drifted from whatever else you'd been saying.

Minty Handy - Some nice melodic elements, but nothing pushing the song above threshold.

Billy's Little Trip - "a homoerotic song about penises and vaginas" (emphasis mine) ?!?

Elaine DiMasi - vote! I was very happy with the title fulfilment, and I like my post-depression era farmboy with his stack of pulp comics in the hayloft. I'm biased in favor of my own entry, so I'm more about songwriting than about production of a rock band I don't even have, so I'll overlook the following problems. (@Lunkhead Re:del, thanks!)

(1) Flaws in the vocals - left them in - no excuses. I stand by my "falsetto", though. Falsetto has a place in Bluegrass. They often do this octave-jump vocal show-off move that seems as standard for them as guitar solos elsewhere. I'd understand if you don't love it, but my nod in that direction was on purpose.

(2) The intro vox/piano went through a low cut filter and were panned medium-left. I now think I should have used a really skinny bandpass filter and panned it all the way into your left ear like a telephone. Then you'd know I was trying to do the lo-fi thing kicked aside when the band came in. I wish I knew how to "make it hit harder", but I really do not know how to mix a rock band. (Do not blame the guitarists!) We'll see if I ever get any better. I did sound for a celtic/contradance band for some years (mine and others) (hobby) and I have more idea what I'm doing over in that camp.

Specific advice on EQ for tone and for shelving will be especially appreciated; nay, investigated as befits the research scientist that I actually am!
Last edited by ElaineDiMasi on Thu Oct 23, 2008 6:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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