1. Not old. Vintage. :)

What's new Pussycat too?

Discussion in 'SIG: General Chat' started by M.D.Baker, May 4, 2020.

  1. by Andy Barr
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    You did well there, Paul.

    T'other guy is the ex Man United midfielder and Scottish international, Martin Buchan (not so well known as Micky Channon, I wager, but a damn good player all the same - solid as the proverbial rock).
     
  2. by M.D.Baker
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    My 'what's new pussycat' entry for today is a bit of old junk I found in a junk bin and salvaged. It's an old Karaoke machine. It's missing it's microphones and the holders for them are broken, but everything else seems to work, even the B/W CRT monitor! I'll have to tune-up the monitor as it's vertical hold needs adjusting and the exterior controls are only horizontal hold, brightness and contrast.

    I grabbed it for electronic salvage, but I have decided instead to repurpose the entire thing as the main torso of my robot. I've always envisioned a robot more like an R2-D2 droid than a C3PO robot, since even the corporations making robots still haven't perfected one that stand upright and move like a man. And I've no gyroscopes on hand anyway.:p It will certainly save a lot of time and trouble from building a torso from scratch, even if this cabinet needs some re-enforcing on the inside.

    Of course there will be plenty of structural and aesthetic changes to this karaoke cabinet, as I build a robot around it, so it will hardly be recognizable as one in the end. Much more robot/droid looking and much less electronic cabinet looking.

    Making use of the B/W monitor with the Atari 800 inside, I could make the monitor double as a graphic display for a face/mouth that moves with synthesized speach, like S.A.M, etc. as well as a "field screen" in case the robot's 800 brain crashes or something. I just thought it would be cool to have it on the robot.

    Repurpose the buttons on the machine for control or settings or whatever on the robot, and repurpose any other I/O ports or install different ones in their spots. Make/add some new places to mount sensors and cameras, etc. I won't need the big speaker at the bottom, so I may use that area to mount the robot arm I have (may decide to mount the arm elsewhere like one of the sides or top too), and tracks underneath it all. The CD player on top will probably be tossed aside and use the space for something else or area to mount other hardware (like a head or laser gun), etc. Maybe just gut the CD unit and leave the spring-loaded hatch door for access to the inside of the robot.I haven't opened the cabinet up yet, but these things are usually mostly empty space inside so it should easily house the 800 mobo and more.

    Currently, the machine stands about 20 inches tall. My robot arm will stand about 18 inches tall or long from wherever I mount it. I imagine the mobile tracks will be 6" or more tall, and then if I add anything on top of the karaoke torso, my finished robot will stand at least 26" tall with an 18" reach from wherever the arm is mounted (I might mount two arms in the end). It will probably end up being about 3-4 feet tall or about a meter, give or take.

    Anyway, the ideas on using this salvage are flying at 100 miles an hour!


    20210519_172806.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2021
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  3. by M.D.Baker
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    My Pokey MAX V3 arrived today, awaiting installment into my 1200XL, which won't be until after I've finished with my 800, which I haven't yet.

    20210609_172021.jpg

    I've been doing trouble shooting on the 800 as I got a black screen after installing dual-PIA board and Sophia 2. I had the issue with Sophia 2 the first time I tried too-this is a replacement, but at least the first time, reinstalling the original GTIA made the 800 work again, this time it does not! Anyway, I've temporarily reverted the 800 to stock, and I am at least back to a blue screen on power-up, frozen, with a cursor at the very top, but it's progress.

    I have a feeling a 74LSXX IC went out, it couldn't take the stress of more upgrades and all the upgrades taxing it. So I've decided to go ahead and upgrade all my 74LSXX(x) IC's with 74HC or 74F which are newer, faster, more efficient versions. Hopefully that will get things fixed and avoid future issues with timing, clock, signals, etc. that I've been sometimes having with the 800 since I started upgrading it.

    Edit: After going through the 800 Field Service Manual and trouble shooting with the multimeter, I was lead to the Pokey (Pokeymax) and swapping it out for the original Pokey worked, my 800, in stock mode, is working again. So now I have been going over wiring and connections on the Pokeymax upgrade. the last I still have to check are the two connections soldered to the CPU board.

    If after I make sure the solder job is good there, if it still doesn't work, that means that my Pokeymax that I've only had installed for about 6 months has gone bad. If that is the case, then I'll be installing my new Pokeymax V3 in the 800 while I look into getting a replacement for the V2 which I'll just install in the 1200XL instead. I hope Retronics will replace it for free (even if I have to pay shipping), but I don't know if it's been too long or not, I'll have to send a PM to Duddy, the face of Retronics.

    P.S. scratch that. I just remembered that once plugged in the socket the Pokeymax will work as a standard Pokey, so it can't be the CPU connections, I must have fried it with static electricity or something while working on my 800. It warns explicitly about handling the board and avoid static electricity as it can be easily fried (just like the Incognito and other, modern Atari boards that use programmable flash type chips and surface mount tech.

    It's my fault for not taking the proper precautions in discharging myself and the board properly before handling. It's not something that one has to worry about much with old through-board DIP tech as much, and I've grown lazy in using anit-static precautions. So I guess I'll have to order another Pokeymax for the 1200XL and install the V3 in my 800. And I might as well get a V3 for the 1200XL now too. Water under the bridge, onward and upward, at least I have the V3 just in time, and I'll have my 800 working again in short-order with even more capabilities than planned.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
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  4. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
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    How is the Pokey 3, it was one I wanted to get but real life ended that, still keen to know what its like though :)
     
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  5. by M.D.Baker
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    Well, I have yet to get it fully installed, they've released no clear wiring instructions yet for it (though Duddie said he would the next day about a week ago!) all there is posted is a general pin-out, which I could figure out, but it means dragging out the old FSM and following schematics, but I've been busy again with work and haven't had time to continue things from my last post; my 800 is still showing it's guts waiting for me.

    But I can tell you about the Pokeymax V2 Quad +Covox, at least the Pokey part as I haven't had time to investigate Covox yet either. But I love the Pokeymax because with the configuration program you have quite a bit of control and my favorite part is that EVERY SINGLE ATARI GAME can have stereo sound of you set the settings for it! It will use the extra Pokey's and you can assign the 4 original Pokey voices used in games to output on the second Pokey too and choose L or R speaker for any one voice to come out of. This is actually my favorite thing so far about the Pokeymax, even though stereo games still sound even better with 8 voices. Now we just need more that use 4 Pokeys which should start happening now the Quad pokey is the standard on V3 and beyond!
     
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  6. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
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    Ah, thank you for that, ignore the repeat question in the Amstrad thread.
     
  7. by Andy Barr
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    GREAT to see Matt's XL Command Centre going from strength to strength. Whenever I see a fellow retronaut's bootiful collection taking such great shape it always helps to kick my butt out of a sense of stasis (been seemingly making no progress at all for bloody months now) and gives me a feeling of hope and a better set-up in the future.
    If mine ends up looking half as good, I'll take that for now.
    Thing is I'm torn between a new contemporary gloss white cube type storage / display solution (with neon ambiance lighting etc) but then finding my old gear sticks out like a sore thumb style clash-wise so sticking to some old style furniture but then seriously testing Bev's wrath as she will kick off if I turn one of her new looking rooms into a 70s MDF / Habitat throwback! Oh, the dilemma, my fellow retro gear chums!!
     
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  8. by Vyper68
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    My latest acquisitions are a CoreGrafx-Mini from Amazon so I get to play some PC Engine favourites like Gunhed and Darius.
    More relevant to 8-Bitters is my ARMsid chip, this replaces the 6581/8580. I was talking to Paul about it this week and it’s really very good. Commodore SID chip prices are going up and up and there are a few alternatives but I went with this one. There is a dual/triple SID version available as well but you need a dual SID socket in your 64/128 but the single SID was only €28 + shipping.
     
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  9. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
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    Yes, as you said, we chatted about it and its deffo on my want list..

    Love the PC Engine, thought I was going to get my brother's one, but that went south. Signed up for Magic Engine back then just to play Gunhead again, cracking set of shooters on the PCE.

    R-Type was almost a perfect conversion..
     
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  10. by nysavant
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    PC Engine is a great console, love some of the arcade conversions like Outrun, Power Drift, Chase HQ on it.
     
  11. by M.D.Baker
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    I say go with the contemporary look. I don't think my "XL Command Center" looks 70's at all, or 80's. To me it's a simple, time-less modern style. Honestly for myself, I always thought even these vintage computer systems looked much more out of place in a traditional or era room setting anyway. Computers, from the beginning have always looked out of place to me in 70's, 80's or even older era settings.

    We remember with nostalgia, and that's what's drawing you, I think, to a 70's look, not because our vintage computers look right with the decor of the times, which they never did to me personally. Now the Atari VCS with the wood grain and switches fit right into the 70's style closest, but my honest opinion is that all computers, in fact most electronics, including stereo's and whatnot, have looked space age since the 60's, except for the odd wooden stereo console disguised as furniture of the era.

    I especially feel that from the first micro/personal/home computers onward, all would have always looked more at home in an Arthur C. Clark film. I of course have decorations and other trinkets from the by-gone eras like a lava lamp and plasma ball, etc., but again, they look space age to me and always look better in modern/post modern decor than the traditional decor style we all grew up with as average blokes born with a tin spoon in our mouths.

    Go with the contemporary white-gloss cube style, and if possible, do ambient floor lighting like in the end of 2001 I've dreamed of having that type of lighting and maybe some day...) , with just a smattering of classical art or furniture here or there for added sophistication. Like I did with my globe and more to come later.

    By the way, I don't know if I've ever really shown a picture to you guys of the globe stand I got for my globe. It also now holds the Lava Lamp underneath. It's Cherry wood, to match the globe, with a marble top.

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  12. by Andy Barr
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    Bloody marvellous, Matt.

    Yeah,some good observations and pointers there.

    I know what you mean about computers lending a space age feel to any of the previous decades as they always seemed a little more progressive than the times they appeared in so getting a match for furniture at any point presents some interesting challenges.

    I like your reference to Arthur C Clark and I'd also go for HG Wells and I guess the steam punk decor / style scene might even be able to lend some ideas to give us the 'quirky' feel that we all look to re-create.

    [​IMG]

    Plenty of food for thought there, mate.

    Cheers and have a top weekend, fellas.

    Al's mentioned the football so I ask - will England flatter or deceive tonight in trying to fulfill their tournament winning ambitions as one thing they are very good at, over the years, is thinking they have done the hard bit (ie. beating Germany) then falling flat on their faces when faced with a so-called inferior opponent (remember Iceland!!!)

    We will see.

    Enjoy and I hope Graham&Pam, Rich and Paul are all feeling better - take it steady, guys and here's to some summer - as the ruddy nights start to pull in again!!
     
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  13. by nysavant
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    Well the pundits already seem to have it in the bag for England despite slating them after drawing with Scotland. Hopefully they do enough to win tonight but I don't think it will be as easy as people think. Yes, a Scotman supporting England

    After last night's performance my money is on Italy to go on and lift the trophy though.
     
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  14. by Andy Barr
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    Italia are Bev's team from the off in any tournament, Al. Summat to do with them all being shaggadelical or something?! I don't get it, mesen, I mean what's wrong with my milk bottle, knock-kneed legs rather than their well-tanned, well-honed physicalities?? Any road, I echo your sentiments in that the world will come crashing down around their ears now if England don't go all the way. The press are quick to build you up - and knock you down in this country. Another peek at someone else's groovy 70s orientated retro den -

    [​IMG]

    I lurve it from the 70s curtains serving as a table cover to the space man tv - get in there - you can't beat a game of Pong.
     
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  15. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
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    If I had the space and money, my little bit of kit would get a glorious display, posters from the era, cabinets etc, but I'm just grateful to have the gear to play with. Would I want a basement like Archer Maclean, with wall-to-wall arcade machines....Nahhh...Maybe an Asteroid cocktail table...

    Don't get me wrong, I love seeing vast displays, but it always leaves a nagging feeling at whether half of the gear is getting a use...Ever...

    As for the machines, the 400 and 800 look timeless, very spacey, very sci-fi, but the XL range look more like 80's office gear to me.
     
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  16. by M.D.Baker
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    I too, am often torn between H.G. Wells and Arthur C. Clark styles and decor, I'm a huge fan of both "extremes" of either the sleek modern look or the heavy-machinery look of Victorian age machinery with all the gears and ornate decor. I'll have to collect and make a .zip file to post here of the many Steam-punk and Diesel-punk art I've converted to Atari with Rastaconverter. I'll post a couple examples below. These aren't necessarily my best, just what I could find in a minute or two. The Steampunk watch is a real item you can buy, with separate hour, min., and sec. faces &hands. The girl in top-hat image is a horizontally oriented image conversion; which means if you view it on an Atari or emulator, the monitor will have to be turned 90 degrees counter-clockwise or you lean your head get a stiff neck.;)

    SteamHawkDown.png.af3a6601590eae1e7e75524f9f975958.png GirlInTophatA.png.651996f097069b8512a5b73e0f7f2353.png
    View attachment 2147 SteampunkDalek.png.6d88395347c1e636e4a328e18f590f70.png SteampunkWatch2.png.2cb280508fcfbbe9118909071e209388.png
     

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    Last edited: Jul 3, 2021
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  17. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
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    I love the steampunk look, I used to go to all the cosplay events as my daughter was a performer, steampunk was a big thing at them, obviously anime was the biggest.
     
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  18. by M.D.Baker
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    The picture of the steampunk Dalek has been replaced with the one after a Rasta conversion, like what you'd see from the .xex on an Atari or emulator. The first was the original image that it was converted from posted by mistake this morning when I was replying and running late for work!
    --------------------------------------
    But before @Timothy Kline gave me a case for my 3rd 1200XL, if you all may remember, from threads on the old forum site, I was planning on making a custom case out of cherry wood and gold leaf accents. I mentioned at the time, IIRC, that there was more but I wanted to keep it confidential until I was done, it would have been Steampunk design, replacing function keys with gold or brass levers, and I even was going to look into the possibility of a keyboard that looked/worked like the antique type writers of the late Victorian age.

    It's just as well since I decided to go with an attempt at a "timeless modern/post modern/space-age" motif, with a touch of the classical. I've got too many different projects planned with snail-like progress anyway. I need to clear the table of some of it first at least before I add more.

    But maybe I should revisit the Steampunk look with my robot, instead of using an old Karaoke machine for it's torso area....
     
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  19. by M.D.Baker
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    I never like the 70's style even when I was in it though, it was always too busy looking, with awful colors too me. I can appreciate it to a degree, and respect and appreciate other's wanting to go that direction, but it's not for me. That suit case under the B/W TV has to go though...:eek:(I'm pretty sure that it's from the 60's anyway, not a 70's suitcase). I prefer some of the post-modern 80's decor more. Not the ugly pastel colors that were in fashion, but I did appreciate the business/office and lounge type of post-modern styles in use, very sleek looking, and yes, I agree with Paul that the XL styling fits better in the 80's if it's 80's post-modern business decor. I'm not referring to the cubical office spaces and mazes and whatnot, but the modern decor of the executives, like in the movie Tron, for one example, but that's because that decor is "space age" to me personally as well.

    That's the look I'm sort of going for in my command center area, not as successfully as I'd like, but the best I can within my simple means and what I can make myself.Of course I'm far from finished with it furniture-wise; There's more I want to add and some details still missing.After deciding on a color of paint for our kitchen and living room and hall areas, we think a grey-wood tongue and groove flooring would look better, instead of a darker tan or brown I originally envisioned. I'll be replacing the flooring in my room with the same grey flooring. We planned on being done with it all by now, but life just hasn't given us the time yet. Hopefully before the end of summer.
     
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  20. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
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    Best of luck with all your side projects, Matt, you need another 24hrs in a day :)

    And yes, 60's stuff just isn't right..Gaudy is the only word I can use for it..
     
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  21. by M.D.Baker
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    Tell me about it Paul! I'm always feeling like the days are too short or time is flying by too fast. Another 24 hours a day, and having Tony Montana for a neighbor might help me move things along too. I do tend to spread myself to thin with many planned and half-finished hobby projects. But this time of year it seems more-so because I'm busy with the business and trying to squeeze in time for a 1001 projects that still need to get done on the house and land. And this has been one of the wettest springs on record, with weeks straight of rain. So I can't run my business, I can't do most of the work on the house, even in-doors, because too much of it requires open windows and exhaust fans for ventilation.

    Plus, I've got no shop for my business yet either, so all mechanical maintenance has to be done outside. But the few days in-between rain and waiting for the ground to dry were the only days I have to catch up on entire weeks of missed lawn and other outdoor services, and of course that's more difficult because of irregular care and over-growth. Then throw in Murphy's law when it comes to all of our equipment and continual break-downs on the days we can service customers. I've been going crazy this spring! You wouldn't believe it if I told you all the break downs and unusual mechanical issues that hit us right after another. I dream of a day with a semi-ordered day and regular routine leaving a bit of time for relaxation and hobbies. I did take advantage of the rainy days for some electronics projects, but not enough to finish anything yet.

    Anyway, I've been taking it all in stride as my experience and wisdom allow. I may get stressed in the moment, but I don't worry, I just keep running against the wind.
     
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  22. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
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    Sounds like you are up against it, my friend, but your attitude towards it is exceptional.

    Having Tony Montana as a neighbour may not be a good thing, running around with flared white nostrils at a million miles an hour might get more work done, but I suspect shooting the already broken machinery when it's not going right may be a negative ;)

    Hope the weather lets up, the world seems crazy, Canada at 49C, you're getting flooded and my daughter's Uni roommate went home to Cyprus and now suddenly half the island is on fire from a heatwave..

    Here, it can't decide if it's summer or spring.. Seems constantly mild to cold, overcast and wet with the very odd warm sunny day thrown in..

    I hope things sort themselves out for you and you get to complete one part of it all at the very least.

    All the best to you and the pups..
     
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  23. by Andy Barr
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    I echo Paul's sentiments, mate.

    Some days/weeks/seasons are sent to test us and it sounds like your Spring sprung a leak somewhere along the line. That many fails on equipment makes you feel like you must've run over a dozen black cats or something bloody unlucky.

    The weather is officially.... nuts. Nothing adds up, nothing is consistent and nothing seems to work anymore. We do seem to be in an ecological crisis with these flash floods, fires and god awful news about disaster upon disaster.

    All we can do, gents, is give it our best shot (Matt ticks that box), boot up our old beauties (he gets a tick there too) and relive our glory days of the late 70s/early 80s (and 90s too if you like your 16bit/later game consoles etc) so I don't think there's much more to be said, really.

    We're both self-isolating as our poorly neighbour Nick has tested positive for the old Corona/Covid evil biscuit germ when he was admitted to hospital after suffering a mental breakdown...

    I tell ye what, I've never known times like these, fellas.

    Dig in and keep smiling through, one and all - treasure and adore whoever & whatever you are lucky enough to have that makes you happy as god knows there's plenty of grief and suffering out there.
     
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  24. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
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    But as of the 19th it will all be fine...

    Saw 640,000 kids sent home because of COVID worries, vast increases across the UK, and yet we will all be able to pack in to a cinema / football match / club / bloody everywhere and no one will get the virus..

    Thanks Boris, you f*cking muppet...

    The world is going to hell in a handcart, and all Boris can do is fiddle while Rome burns..

    After all the talk of how effective the vaccines are, we are now talking about "living with COVID" and people still dying after having both jabs..

    There's a bull somewhere who is very empty, as I can smell its shit from here..
     
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  25. by nysavant
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    Totally agree with your last post Paul. Normally avoid politics but now I'm beginning to think Boris is even better at avoiding them than me! Calling him a muppet is doing muppets a dis-service I reckon!

    On a slightly brighter "what's new" mode, I opened up an old 2600 VCS box wondering if there might be a console in it. Well there wasn't, but I did find a lovely set of excellent condition paddles, an original Atari joystick and quite a nice quickshot type controller as well :)

    Plus, I've got a couple more Atari related books on the way just now. I think my 'retro library' might be worth more than the actual comptuers now lol

    Keep fighting the good fight guys, on both sides of the Atlantic. Incidentally Matt, I mentioned where you live to my other half and she is going to be visiting a friend near you in the next couple of weeks. Small world!
     
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