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I wanted to put some thoughts down on how one destroys the reputation of a sport. In business you have history that shows that while you may win a case, you can actually do great harm to your company. As an example, look at McDonalds and the McLibel trial. McDonalds was running around suing almost anyone that criticized them in the UK. They threatened to sue or sued everyone from the BBC to student unions. Greenpeace had 5 volunteers handing out leaflets called "What's Wrong With McDonalds". It accused the company of exploiting children with advertising, promoting an unhealthy diet, and being responsible for environmental damage. McDonalds sent in spies to Greenpeace who broke into the London office to take photos and infiltrate the organization to get specific names and addresses. McDonalds had to sue individuals and it ended up suing 2 of these people named Helen Steel and Dave Morris.

I won't go through the whole trial. You can look up the particulars but, this turned into the longest trial of any kind in British history. It resulted in legislation due to concern that companies would smother free speech via threat of libel cases and suing individuals or organization which couldn't defend themselves due to financial limitations. It became a David vs Goliath problem for McDonalds where grass roots efforts led to almost viral growth in support of David and Helen. They raised money for their defense, created websites, and dragged McDonalds through the mud which only repeated and resonated the negative message of how McDonalds is terrible for people and the environment for a year and a half. This was essentially free, day to day, negative advertising against McDonalds. This damaged McDonalds in a way Dave and Helen could have never dreamed by handing out some leaflets. McDonalds financed it's own demise in marketing. Additionally, there was an appeal which ruled that McDonalds regular customers did face increased risk of heart disease and said it was fair for Helen and Dave to point out how McDonald's workers suffer poor pay and conditions. This again caused McDonald's image to be dragged through the media in a very negative light. What was a simple action of handing out some leaflets turned into 10yrs of negative press for McDonalds. Do you think McDonalds would have been better off to just "let it go" and leave Helen and Dave to hand out some leaflets until they moved on to some other cause? I certainly think so and, in fact, McDonalds pursuing Helen and Dave is seen as one of the all time great Marketing disasters in corporate history.

Now, lets look at cycling. Who's tired of hearing about doping in cycling? Who's tired of every time you open a news website or paper, you see how cycling is full of people that do nothing but dope? Cycling itself has pursued not only current cyclists but it has reached back into history to try to destroy it's greatest champions. Almost all of the Tour De France winners from the last 13yrs have had their victories stripped. It seems like cycling has dragged itself through the sewer by keeping Cycling in a negative light in the media for a decade. I now look at the history of cycling as completely invalid. They might as well negate all their past champions because if they think I don't believe that all the great champions of the 70's, 80's and 90's were all doping, they are crazy and out of touch. They have made it clear that the only way to excel in cycling is to dope and thus, the past great champions must have been doing the same before there was credible drug testing. So, what does that say about their sport? It tells me that Cycling is a joke. It's phony. I see that the great history that cycling touts, is all invalidated. The governing bodies of cycling have made a huge mistake! Instead of simply setting up credible testing techniques and moving on, they have chosen to destroy the purity and good name of the sport they pretend to protect. I would argue that though they have "brought down" Lance Armstrong, they have also greatly damaged cycling especially here in America.

So, I say congratulations to Cycling's governing bodies. You have indeed destroyed a man that was a hero to so many for being a role model for people with cancer. Someone who's charity organizations have given millions to cancer causes and even more importantly, raised awareness of not only how terrible cancer is but showed how we all could survive and thrive post cancer. Congratulations for making many realize that cycling's historic champions are nothing more than a string of exalted drug users. Congratulations on freeing up my time as I won't be watching a bunch of drug users peddle around the pavement until they get their next fix. After all, this is the image you have created for the sport you claim to love. Sometimes, you need to learn that being "right" can be very wrong. Your short sighted need to punish the past has lead to you savaging your future.
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The economic policy brainwashing of America began in the time of Reagan. There became a mantra repeated that if you lower taxes, the economy will do better and thus greater tax revenue will be generated. We now know that his policy has failed again and again. Lowering tax rates for the rich/companies does not result in increased tax revenue.

From Wikipedia on Supply-side economics (i.e. Trickle down economics): --------------------

"Andrew Samwick, who was Chief Economist on Bush's Council of Economic Advisers from 2003-2004 responded to the claim:

You are smart people. You know that the tax cuts have not fueled record revenues. You know what it takes to establish causality. You know that the first order effect of cutting taxes is to lower tax revenues. We all agree that the ultimate reduction in tax revenues can be less than this first order effect, because lower tax rates encourage greater economic activity and thus expand the tax base. No thoughtful person believes that this possible offset more than compensated for the first effect for these tax cuts. Not a single one."


Before President Bush signed the 2003 tax cuts, the progressive, nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released a statement signed by ten Nobel prize laureates entitled "Economists' statement opposing the Bush tax cuts", which states that:

“Passing these tax cuts will worsen the long-term budget outlook, adding to the nation’s projected chronic deficits. This fiscal deterioration will reduce the capacity of the government to finance Social Security and Medicare benefits as well as investments in schools, health, infrastructure, and basic research. Moreover, the proposed tax cuts will generate further inequalities in after-tax income."

I think it's clear that we need cute spending and raise taxes, especially on those that own most of the nations wealth to pay for the Great Recession deficits. These are many of the same people that benefited from risky practices and that took our tax money to bail them out. They are again writing themselves huge checks (27% CEO pay increase in 2010) as they are in a new class of untouchables and unafraid of the government, the workers, or the voters.

Next, we need to fix loopholes in the tax code for corporations. When we see GE which is one of the biggest U.S. companies in the world paying no taxes, I find myself a bit outraged. The company earned 14.2 billion in profits in 2010 and paid NO TAXES. This is because of the ability of U.S. companies to shift profit centers offshore. So, not only have companies been given tax breaks for offshoring jobs but they have been given a pass on taxes by offshoring their profit centers.

While all of this was going on, what was the American worker doing? Busting his ass, that's what!!

American workers have become amazingly productive without reward for their efforts. To understand this you need to realize the job outlook.

From Wikipedia: ---------------------------------------------------------
With further overall employment reduction in 2009 not reflected in the chart above (changes since March 2009), there ultimately was zero net job creation in the 2000-2009 decade in the USA. This is even worse than it seems, given US population growth during that time with no new jobs created for them, creating a shortage of about 18 million jobs relative to previous decades by one estimate by Paul Krugman if this ground was to be made up in five years. To understand such a calculation from another perspective, looking at the chart above, about 17 million net new jobs were created in the 1990-1999 decade relative to population growth. Assuming continuing population growth at about the same rate, for the USA to return to the level of employment of 2000 relative to population, starting from a lost decade, overall about 34 million net new jobs would need to be created by the end of the 2010-2019 decade (new jobs beyond replacements for jobs that are normally lost). By whatever calculation, this vast "jobs deficit", completely unpredicted by almost all mainstream economists, is causing "leading economists and policymakers to fundamentally rethink the underpinnings of the nation's growth."

This is in a time when GDP increased by 40% or $4 trillion a year. Meanwhile, real hourly wages for the american worker declined.

So, we've become vastly more productive and companies are making record profits, but they pay workers less while paying themselves astronomic wages even when they have lead the country into economic catastrophe. In addition, while companies have the benefit of operating in the security of the U.S. they do not pay for this benefit as loopholes in the tax system have allowed these giants to move their profit centers offshore.

I think it's clear that we have achieved not a Democracy but a Plutocracy in this country. In 2005, Citigroup claimed the achievement of this state in the U.S. in a letter that was supposed to remain for the eyes of only it's richest investors.

I think it's clearer why we don't see campaign finance reform, corporate tax changes closing these loopholes, or some kind of "non-compete" clause like the ones we all sign to obtain a job that says politicians cannot be employed by large corporate entities up to 5yrs after they leave office (Lobbyists, Board of Directors, etc). Companies are in control. The politicians are bought and paid for. We see the politicians far more worried about who will pay for their re-election campaign than they fear us, the voter.

Yet, even Citigroup mentioned the one risk to this Plutocracy! That we, the voters, would wake up one day and see what was happening. Their one fear was "one person, one vote". I pray that we will wake up, stop fighting each other, and see our government for what it is (bought and paid for) then start tossing out those that do not fight for a balance between the big corporate interests and us. Right now, we are just human collateral damage in the rise of the Corporate State.
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I guess I have always been attracted by quirky motorcycles. When I was a kid (12) I got my second motorcycle. It was a Harley Davidson Baja. it was a horrible bike for its intent. My friends dad owned a Harley shop and my buddy had a custom HD dirt bike made by his dad. While a rather poor bike for adults trying to make a trials bike of it, it was a great bike for a 12yr old hitting the neighborhood dirt lot. I can't tell you how much fun we had together. As I got older I bought my first street ride. It was a Honda (CB360). I had a Yamaha, a Suzuki, and a Kawasaki before I took a break from motorcycle riding. When I got back into riding, I picked up what was a then out of date FZR600. It was the first motorcycle with the Delta Box frame. It was a crazy little bike. It was unrefined and a bit primal in nature needing to be wound up constantly as it had little torque. It didn't make the horsepower of modern bikes but it was a joy to make cry and scream as you rode it though the twisties. It never failed me.

I later got a Honda F4. This was a turning point for me. The F4 was modern and slick. It made power as if scooped from the ether and the suspension was forgiving of all mistakes. It was easy. It was fast and I was enamored for a while until it occurred to me that it wasn't as fun as that old FZR600.

I learned that Americans are often number crunchers. Pick up any American motorcycle rag and it's filled with numbers. You see, for some reason, we have a drive to be first so anything that makes it around a track with a Troy Corser (I pick him because we have the same B'day :p ) aboard 1/10th of a second faster must be the better bike…right?

Searching for something more stimulating, I found British motorcycle rags. I found the Europeans in general loved motorcycles in a way different than Americans did. They didn't care who was faster on track day other than putting in a good show so they weren't the ones buying the beer at the end of some tarmac twirling. These people focused on what it felt like to be on the bike. How much fun it was in the saddle. They made modifications during the course of a season on their rides that any hooligan biker would make. They didn't have time for calculators and dreams of being Max Biaggi as they were more worried about the joy the particular bike brought to them.

This brought me to a rather odd purchase. I bought a 1996 Buell S1 Lightning. I bought it on eBay, flew down to San Diego, and drove it back up to the Bay Area while straddling the worst seat ever conceived by man. My ass hurt so bad at the end of the 10 hrs (had to stop for gas every 100mi) in the saddle that I thought of having it surgically removed (I promptly ordered a Corbin seat). This bike was a monster! It had torque like nothing I'd ever ridden. You couldn't keep the front wheel on the ground. If the torque was off the charts, it was only matched by the 6 piston calipers on the front end. It was HEAVY for a "sportbike?" yet, it would lean further than it had a right too. It had the smallest little windbreak on the front which did almost nothing to free you from the Bay Area gusts. Yet, this was the funnest bike I ever owned. It was a true hooligan bike and looked it. It would pull out of a turn in the most amazing fashion and most importantly, it left me laughing maniacally every time I rode it. Sure, I couldn't stay up with the metric sports but I know when they pulled their helmets off that they didn't have the perma-grin that bike put on my face.

I eventually sold the Buell and picked up an Aprilia Falco SL1000. You might think that this would be like the F4 but it wasn't. This bike WAS intimidating. It had an ego of it's own…a confidence and would eat you alive if you didn't tame it. You had to man handle this bike into turns and it would reward you by keeping a confident line before you had to grab it by the throat and yank it out of one turn into another. This wasn't a bike for someone timid. It was built by a company with a heritage of racing and the attitude of an Italian! It would argue with you before every turn and let you have a sip of wine at the apex. I adored this bike for it's horrid manners and stubborn behavior. It became a good friend. I eventually sold it to the person I bought it from. I guess he missed the bastard just as I do now.

Somewhere between the FZR and the Aprilia, I wanted something more practical and rode a number of bikes around. In the end, I picked up a new 2002 BMW R1150R. What was so great about this bike? Well, the BMW boxer engine made only 85hp and 72lbs ot torque. It wasn't really a cruiser. it wasn't any kind of a sport bike. I guess you could call it a "standard" which is usually not an adjective attached to anything BMW makes. What it did right was not worry about the numbers!! It was gorgeous! The boxer engine, telelever front end, and massively wide tank with split oil coolers gave the motorcycle a very unique look. The Boxer engine, since it laid flat, gave the bike a bit of a torque to the left when rev'd because of the crank's rotation. The 500lb bike rolled the power on smoothly and handled well enough for me to stay up with my friends on metric sport touring bikes. It was a joy in almost any situation and the first bike I think I've ever owned that was a jack of all trades. It's why I still have it today. While it's quirky, the boxer engine is legendary in it's reliability and I can't think of another motorcycle that you can hop on and go anywhere with any crowd and fit right in.

A year ago, I moved out of the SF Bay Area. Coming out to Ohio, I found that I could no longer find world class riding spots within 10 mins of my home. The ocean, mountains, wine country, and such were now 2500 miles away. I spent some time poking around the roads over the summer looking for riding territory. I realized that riding out here was likely going to put me further from home than I was use too so, I started looking for a motorized traveling companion.

I thought about outfitting my R1150R but, that would require a good deal of extra money and move it into a role never intended for it. Again, I looked at the metric bikes. They were smooth alright and had plenty of power. Most, like the Goldwing were non-intimidating, non-confrontational, and ultimately very bland to ride.

I started to think about what my goals were out here in riding and came to the conclusion that I didn't just want to ride. I wanted to do something impossible back in California. I wanted to explore the culture of middle America. I wanted to attach with a culture that, while American, was very foreign to me. Mostly, I wanted to eat up some miles and have fun.

Last month, I bought a used 2006 Harley Road King. It's a rolling land mass! It vibrates, is loud, a bit under powered even at 88ci. I'm not sure that it has enough cornering clearance to do much in the turns. What I am sure about is that its a bike that people out here can identify with. It has comfort for a long day of riding with character and a primal quirkiness that I loved about the Buell only in it's own oversized lumbering style. I'm hoping I'll learn to love it and the people I find out here in the same way. I'll see that their character is endearing and unique with no pretense at perfection. I'm hoping that I'll find the people and the bike treat me well and I'll do my best to treat them the same.
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In honor of Liu Xiaobo's winning of the Nobel Peace Prize, I thought I'd post a small snippet from his final statement on Dec. 23, 2009 before being jailed for 11yrs.

"For hatred is corrosive of a person’s wisdom and conscience; the mentality of enmity can poison a nation’s spirit, instigate brutal life and death struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and block a nation’s progress to freedom and democracy. I hope therefore to be able to transcend my personal vicissitudes in understanding the development of the state and changes in society, to counter the hostility of the regime with the best of intentions, and defuse hate with love."

This is why the partisanship seen in politics over the last 10yrs has eroded away our country, our understanding of one another, and our respect for "the other side". I hope our politicians can learn something from a man who continues to sacrifice everything for his county's future.
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The United States ranked last when compared to six other countries -- Britain, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, the Commonwealth Fund report found.
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If you haven't voted in the fursuit tourney, get over there and vote for Vin! He's just two votes's so close.

I know a lot of you don't like the tourney but I think it's just all in fun and our Drink Fox buddy could use a little push over the top! :)
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The Inquisition, lets begin!
The Inquisition, look out sin!
A fact
you're ignoring:
it's better to lose your skullcap than your skull

The Inquistion, what a show
The Inquistion, here we go
We know you're wishing
That we'd go away
But the Inquistion's here and it's here to stay
The Inquistion, oh boy
The Inquistion, what a joy
The Inquistion, oy oy

Hit link to watch the Inquisition live!

Link taken from the LJ of Direwolf23.
bajahyena: (Default)
I would just link this but it's so important that people understand why anything but marriage will result in second class treatment for GBLT couples. I got this from

If this can happen in California, it can happen anywhere in our country that does not protect loving and committed gay couples under the legal protections of marriage.

Sonoma County CA separates elderly gay couple and sells all of their worldly possessions
Filed by: Kate Kendell
April 17, 2010 4:00 PM

Clay and his partner of 20 years, Harold, lived in California. Clay and Harold made diligent efforts to protect their legal rights, and had their legal paperwork in place--wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives, all naming each other. Harold was 88 years old and in frail medical condition, but still living at home with Clay, 77, who was in good health.

One evening, Harold fell down the front steps of their home and was taken to the hospital. Based on their medical directives alone, Clay should have been consulted in Harold's care from the first moment. Tragically, county and health care workers instead refused to allow Clay to see elderly_man.jpgHarold in the hospital. The county then ultimately went one step further by isolating the couple from each other, placing the men in separate nursing homes.

Ignoring Clay's significant role in Harold's life, the county continued to treat Harold like he had no family and went to court seeking the power to make financial decisions on his behalf. Outrageously, the county represented to the judge that Clay was merely Harold's "roommate." The court denied their efforts, but did grant the county limited access to one of Harold's bank accounts to pay for his care.

What happened next is even more chilling.

Without authority, without determining the value of Clay and Harold's possessions accumulated over the course of their 20 years together or making any effort to determine which items belonged to whom, the county took everything Harold and Clay owned and auctioned off all of their belongings. Adding further insult to grave injury, the county removed Clay from his home and confined him to a nursing home against his will. The county workers then terminated Clay and Harold's lease and surrendered the home they had shared for many years to the landlord.

Three months after he was hospitalized, Harold died in the nursing home. Because of the county's actions, Clay missed the final months he should have had with his partner of 20 years. Compounding this tragedy, Clay has literally nothing left of the home he had shared with Harold or the life he was living up until the day that Harold fell, because he has been unable to recover any of his property. The only memento Clay has is a photo album that Harold painstakingly put together for Clay during the last three months of his life.

With the help of a dedicated and persistent court-appointed attorney, Anne Dennis of Santa Rosa, Clay was finally released from the nursing home. Ms. Dennis, along with Stephen O'Neill and Margaret Flynn of Tarkington, O'Neill, Barrack & Chong, now represent Clay in a lawsuit against the county, the auction company, and the nursing home, with technical assistance from NCLR. A trial date has been set for July 16, 2010 in the Superior Court for the County of Sonoma.
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I finally get it. "Centrist" means "Can still be bought by big business". Without a public option (and now dropping the Medicare buy-in) what we have is a healthcare plan that requires all Americans to buy expensive insurance from companies that add NO value to our healthcare system and ration healthcare as a daily practice.

So, I give a sincerest "FUCK YOU" to Senator Lieberman for being the poster boy of "Bought and Paid For" (your Centrists in action).

They might as well scrap it and continue to leave the 45.7 million Americans without healthcare fucked and all of us with existing conditions hosed. Insurance companies have armies of lawyers. They aren't afraid of the individual suing them and they will just price insurance for those of us with existing conditions out of reach. Again, people with existing conditions are reduced to "Hurry up and Die" status.

I now vote only one party. That is Democrat. You see, I expect there to be some people in any party that won't support a given bill. This is because people should be free thinkers and come at issues from different angles. However, there is something wrong with a party where nobody has an individual thought in their head. The Republicans marching in lock step to trash all legislation that they themselves did not propose is a sign that they don't care one bit about the American public and are more worried about gaining power back in the House and Senate no matter how it damages those of us under their protection. Don't make the mistake of thinking your representatives actually represent you. The stakes are much higher than you and me and the Republicans won't let the estimated 18 thousands people that die because they lack health insurance a year get in the way of regaining their power base. It disgusts me to see what a party I so heartily believed in based on their root ideals has become. It's still the Bush doctrine. Here is your marching orders...don't question. We will win even if our constituents loose.
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Overall Impressions:
Lots of very cool people. I got to hang out with old friends and meet some new ones just as a con should be. The con staff were awesome and having the con suite in the restaurant was perfect. The elevators were well managed and I never had to wait long to get up to my room. The layout of the hotel again was a little bit of a drag but that is all being solved next year as the con is moving to an new hotel. There was lots of great stuff in the dealers room and in the art show but I kept my spending under control. :p

My activities:
Unfortunately, I came down with Shingles before the con. They weren't too painful but I kept myself with a couple of layers of clothing on at all times. This caused my body to be pretty out of whack. I'd be feeling awesome then my energy would crash. I was on anti-virals that made me dizzy at times. Saturday night I started getting a fever and chills so didn't repeat my party hopping from Friday night. Anyway, I just mostly would patch myself up with coffee and meds and be good to go got. Hyenas are tough and nothing keeps them from finding something to laugh about.

I got to the hotel Friday morning about 2am. Hung out with Ford, Duncan, Takaza, and "Mom" ;) until about 4am and then crashed out.

Got up Saturday and got registered (fastest reg ever) and then just ran around talking with everyone. It was awesome seeing so many people that I rarely get to see from the Chicago and midwest. Man, I love you guys. There is just something about midwest furs where they are very down to earth people with big hearts.

Ford had a get together planned which I found out he'd canceled because he didn't know if I'd be up for anything. That was amazingly sweet of him but I felt bad that he'd canceled so we just kind of did a drunk dial party. Started with a few people and it grew until we ran out of Gin and Ford had to go to work. So, we split up and hit just the very trailing end of Woody's party with Redstorm and Simba. Then we headed down to the trailing end of a Tiki party that Sigfreid had going on. After that it was making the rounds downstairs and chilling. Not sure what time I got to bed actually.

Saturday morning I woke up feeling like I'd been beaten up with a baseball bat. Not from drinking too much but from the Shingles. I actually milked my drinks for the most part Friday night but still decided I wasn't drinking anymore during the con in case it was making the pain from the Shingles worse. I got some room coffee and meds and in about 30 mins I was feeling better than I had a right to be and headed downstairs to catch breakfast with a crew of friends. Most of Saturday was spent in or near the room watching over Ford. It seems I poisoned him with Listerine Breath Strips. He is allergic to Aspartame which I was unaware the breath strips had in them. He had three of the breath strips and then started having reactions. Mostly, he just slept for about 24hrs. I made sure he woke up long enough to have a little food and stay hydrated which me and Raynee took perverse pleasure in making him wake up for a bit. I had a great time getting to know Raynee better. She has a twisted sense of humor that fits well with mine *grinz*.

Saturday, when not watching over Ford, I mostly did the usual con stuff. Hit the dealers room, checked the art show, yada yada. By saturday night, I had a fever baking and chills so I laid down at around 1-2am. I couldn't really sleep well and any thoughts of sleeping were pretty much hosed when I heard a large contingent of folks pop into our suite. Ford had slept most the day and was now on party cycle. The door between the suites was closed but, I'd just about drift off and get woken up again by hooting or laughing. About 3:30am I just went into the shower and spent an hour in the nice warm water. That seemed to slow down the chills. I got dressed and popped into the living room'ish part of the suite and was instantly greeted with a "Who are you?". Already in a rather poor mood from feeling like crap and not sleeping all night I sarcastically answered, "The guy who's room this is." at which time I got a nod and the smiles came out again. Ford was passed out on top of Taiko (Warning: Ford will fall asleep on anyone withing sprawling distance) and people were just leaving in any event. I wanted to apologize if I came off as snarky to anyone but I was pretty beat up by this time.

Taiko extracted himself from Ford and we spent maybe an hour talking in the bedroom area. Taiko was a sweety and it was interesting hearing about his schooling things going on and talking about more personal stuff. It resounded with me. I remember going through some of the same types feelings and situations. We moved into the other room again and I prodded Ford to come to bed and we all crashed out at about 6:30am.

Having Ford curled up with me seemed to relax me a lot and I was finally able to get some least about 2.5hrs of it anyway. It was a travel day for me but, since I couldn't sleep for most the night I'd packed all up which saved me having to do much of anything but try to enjoy my last partial day of con..which I did greatly. Ford made me some coffee before he had to head down to work and I met folks for Breakfast at the buffet. After that, it was more chilling out talking with Dia, Rakune, Kip, and chatting with folks that walked by. Later I went to the Ram and watched some football and had a late lunch with Bohor and Torrle. We made it back in plenty of time for the closing ceremonies. it was standing room only and was short but sweet. A change of Con Chairman from Duncan to Takaza, talks from the charities, and then the video announcing the new hotel MFF will be at next year.

After the closing ceremonies, I met up with Connor and another of his Volunteer staff members and went over to the restaurant winery next to the hotel. They had lunch while I had a glass of port while we jawed on about the convention. Afterwards it was off to the airport.

Thanks everyone who made the con a blast. See you again next year.
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Happy Bday Vandingar! Miss having you here in the Bay Area! You and the bat should come visit. :)
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Hell All,

This LJ will be going friends only. If we don't know one another reasonably well and/or haven't spoken in the last year, please don't be offended but I'll be trimming my friends list as well. I feel the need to be more private and it's not a reflection on you fine people but a personal need of my own.


P.S. Comments screened
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