My dirty little blogging not-so-secret secret

Last year, spent 10 minutes setting up my very basic, free blog on WordPress and then just started posting.  I really had no idea what I was doing.  Still don’t.  Have you figured that out yet?

Evidently this is not the way to do it.  Last week I signed up for the WordPress Blogging101 course in an attempt to right this wrong.

It’s Day 5 and I’m pretty sure I’m in over my head.

There’s much to this blogging stuff that I don’t understand.  I don’t know what pinging means.  Or to ping back.  I don’t really understand the dashboard.  Or what sticky posts are.  I’ve figured out how to post what I write and answer comments, but that’s about it.

My name is Aging Gracefully My Ass and I’m a pathetic blogger.

I know all that good information and much more is “out there”.  I just don’t know where and haven’t had the time to really investigate. Between Dancing with the Stars and Downton Abbey, free time is hard to come by.  I’m lucky I get something written once a week and actually get it posted.

Pathetic. Blogger.

I thought signing up for Blogging101 would be the answer.  I fantasized I would penetrate the thick shroud of mystery around things like pinging and format options and how to navigate the “new” dashboard.  But then again I can’t navigate the old one….

I do know how to check how many people from Djibouti have seen my posts.  One, in case you were wondering.

Blogging101 started on Sunday.  Other than following five new blogs, I’m already five days behind in my homework.  We leave for Rome next Wednesday.  I have a million things to do before we leave.  Okay – maybe not a million.  A lot.  I’m going to be hopelessly wallowing in late assignments when I get back.  I’ll never catch up. It’ll be like one of those unfinished business dreams….  You know, the one where you are trying to get back onto the cruise ship before it leaves after you get hopelessly lost in Key West and a donkey cart picks you up and the donkey is lame and there’s no driver?

My airways are starting to constrict, I’m breaking out in hives and my hair is beginning to fall out.

What was I thinking?

So in an effort to get caught up, here goes…

Day 1 – Write a “who I am and why I’m here” post.

I’m AGMA and I’m here because I want to make everybody aware of the dangers of sparkly, glitter from China.  Among other things.

Day 2 – Edit your title and tagline.

I’m keeping my title.  It came to me in a flash of diving inspiration and I thought, “That would be a cool name for a blog.”  And like Aphrodite arising out of the sea from the discarded testicles of Uranus (true dat), AGMA was born.

My tagline has absolutely nothing to do with what I write about in my blog.  I like that.

Day 3 – Follow five new topics in the Reader and five new blogs.

Okay, I spent five minutes – anybody notice a “five” theme – trying to figure how how to follow topics in the Reader and gave up. Anybody have any tips for me?

I DID however, follow five new blogs.  I don’t have the time to read the blogs I follow now and really want to read.  But I followed five more.  Pass the albuterol and Benadryl.

Day 4 – Write a post to your dream reader and include a new-to-you element in it.

Huh?  So pretty much anybody who reads the stuff I post is my dream reader.  Good God – they’re taking precious time out of their day to spend a few minutes laughing or whining or angsting with me.  Honestly, who could ask for a better reader?

And here’s my new-to-me element…

clueless

Yeah, I know I already put a picture in my blog for each post, but it’s in a different spot.   I’m going to say that counts.

Day 5 – Try out at least three other themes – even if you’re happy with the one you first chose. Try one you are drawn to and one you would never use.

I don’t even know where to start with this.  There are something like 400 themes and a myriad of options within each theme.  The potential combinations are statistically staggering.  Dammit  Jim, I’m just a feeble-minded senior, not a miracle worker!  I do most of my clothes shopping at resale shops because it limits my options so it makes making a decision much easier.  Trying out new themes would be like getting a full time job.  I don’t think I’m ready for that.

Seriously, thanks to the WordPress editors who take on folks like me and try to help us.  They are brave souls.  Clearly some of us belong in the remedial blogging class.  And that is being offered when?

Love you Michelle, Siobhan, Andrea and Grace!

And now that you know the truth, please don’t take me out of the Recommended Blogs…

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63 thoughts on “My dirty little blogging not-so-secret secret

  1. LMAO. None of us know what we’re doing (just like the line from the movie Casper, about parenting). We all just kind of wing it from day to day. Readers either like us, or they don’t, and all the Blogging 101 advice won’t help if your writings sucks (which yours does not, by the way).

    As for some of the advice the course has given you:

    Edit your title/tagline? Are they nuts? Your title is your brand – it is yours and yours alone. Why would you ever want to edit something that someday will be a household word (well, mine will be anyway —————- some day.).

    Change your theme? Unless you’re unhappy with the one you chose, why change it? Readers have gotten used to your theme and know where to find everything. I get very annoyed with bloggers who change themes and then all of a sudden, I’m looking at the left side of the page instead of the right. Or looking at white lettering on black, or some odd color combination. Drives me nuts.

    My theory is just keep on doing what you’ve been doing – build your brand, so to speak (as someone once told me). Everything else has a way of working out.

    BTW, a ping-back is simply a link in your post to one of your prior posts, or to someone else’s posts. You can “add link” in your WordPress editor. For instance, you could “add link” for your wording in this post to “sparkly, glitter from China” so that readers can click on the link and immediately be transported to your earlier post about that very subject. If I could add the link in a comment, I would do so, but for any readers looking for that extremely funny glitter post, go to: https://aginggracefullymyass.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/the-agma-christmas-card-conspiracy-theory/

    But then, why am I offering this advice anyway? You’ve been Freshly Pressed? WordPress doesn’t even know that my blog exists. Bummer.

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    • Clearly, I’m the poster girl for proving that you don’t have to know what you’re doing on WP from a technical persepctive to get Freshly Pressed! I was quite honestly blown away when I got “the” email, and then kind of freaked out because I wasn’t prepared for more than 10 people to follow my blog! It remains to be seen if they keep AGMA on the Recommended Blogs since my confession… But I always feel honesty is the best policy! 😉

      I agree with you 100% on the “branding” thing! But I think I was very, very fortunate in that I hit the nail on the head with the first swing. There are lots of folks out there who are still searching for the right “brand”. I think what the WP folks were trying to say was not be be afraid to make changes if you feel like you need a refresh or you suddenly realize that what you are writing about now doesn’t match what you initially thought your blog was going to be when you set it up 3 months ago.

      Thanks for the technical info! I will really try to get better and use some of that stuff. Honestly, that’s the only way I’m going to figure it out right?

      And thanks for the link to the glitter post and for calling it “extremely funny”! The older I get, the more I realize how important it is for people to laugh and smile as often as possible. I some cosmic way, I think it helps beat back some of the darkness in the world.

      Cordeliasmom, thanks of for being one of my dream readers!!

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    • Well, that makes two of us ready for that remedial class! Ha! But seriously, just write. It’s as simple as that. Ignore the rest until you think you are ready for it. And if you’re never ready for it, that’s okay too! The important thing is to write.

      Thanks for stopping by AGMA and for taking the time to comment! Stop in again when you get the chance!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Don’t worry; you won’t be graded on not finishing your homework. I love your description of trying to catch the cruise ship, laughing out loud at work. Okay, that’s a lie; if I laughed out loud they’d know I wasn’t working. I laughed out loud INSIDE, that counts right? Have a great time in Rome!

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    • But those unfinished business dreams are like that, right? I have them more than I want to admit and always wonder what that says about my life other than it’s pretty much in chaos…

      You’re laughing out loud on the inside (so funny!) reminds me of when I worked in a cubical in an office. I had WAY more time to check email and surf the web than I do now! I bet if I still worked in that office, I’d be able to post every other day and ping back with the best of them.

      Thanks for the nice comment and the Rome well wishes! I’m hoping to bump into Pope Francis in St. Peters… Now THAT would be something to blog about!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you … for articulating what I’ve been thinking. I, too, am a fairly new blogger, and am overwhelmed by the WordPress Blogging 101 class. I must be really remedial, as it took me days–not 10 minutes–to set up my very basic blog. I even bought a “WordPress for Dummies” book and it’s generally very helpful, but I don’t think the author quite anticipated the caliber of dummies she might be writing for. I’m coming to the conclusion that simplicity can either be perceived as incompetence or elegance … I’m going with elegance. Have a great trip to Rome!

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    • Okay – sometimes I under-estimate things for dramatic purposes… Tell the truth, shame the devil – I’m pretty sure it took me longer than 10 minutes to set up my blog. It probably took me the longest to find my donkey picture! But I love that little ass…

      Thanks for making me laugh with the “I don’t think the author quite anticipated the caliber of dummies she might be writing for.” statement! Every time I see one of those “For Dummies” book, I cringe because I think that it’s probably over my head!

      I am all over the elegance thing! I refer to myself as a “minimalist blogger”. I think my blog is like the classic little black dress of blogs – always chic and never goes out of style! I bet yours is the same way! Don’t worry about all the extra bells and whistles – just write. The rest will take care of itself!

      Thanks for taking the time to visit AGMA, and for the great and funny comment! I’m hoping the trip to Rome is “uneventful” if you know what I mean… So much crazy stuff happening in the world. Thanks again!

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  4. I am so glad I didn’t sign up for that because I just knew I would be rattled – exactly what you have put into words so eloquently. I have had one glass of wine and thought of making my third blog post, which up to now I thought would be predominantly in Afrikaans – my mother tongue. Needless to say – the one glass of wine is making me wrecklessly bold and also a little voice telling me to back off. However, what I do know, I will follow you. Please write more – just like this. When you look at other blogs (successful ones) it can be extremely intimidating. Which makes us novices want to cringe and back off. You give me hope.

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    • Oh my friend, I have 54 other blog posts out there that will give you solace and comfort, and will definitely give you hope!

      Looking at truly gifted writer’s blogs IS intimidating! I know I can’t be like them (as much as I would love to have that talent) but I can be solidly me. What I LOVE about writing is that it is my voice and nobody else’s. Not sure the world could take another AGMA!

      When I first started blogging, I hoped that what I wrote would resonate with a few people. Turns out, thanks to the WP editors Freshly Pressing AGMA (which definitely gives you exposure), what I write resonates with a lot of folks. Simple but satisfying – mostly – like blogging comfort food!

      A word of warning… I’ve blogged after having a few glasses of wine a few times and they’ve definitely not been my best posts. I had to go back later and clean up all of the misspellings, grammar boo boos and the stuff that just didn’t make sense that were out there for everybody to see. Ouch! Listen to that little voice and beware the fermented grapes! 🙂

      Keep on writing Karin no matter what language it’s in! If you write it, they will come….

      Thanks so much for your kind comments and spending some time with me!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You are a creative humorist! I truly enjoyed this piece. Thanks for bringing smiles to my face. I’m glad I wasn’t drinking milk when reading as I’d have likely have discharged it out my nose. 🙂

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  6. As for me, I just jumped in with both feet. I didn’t worry much about who I was writing for or what they might be thinking (read: judging) about my posts. Write for yourself and it’ll all work out great! My blog has been all over the map, with posts about my elderly mother (Notes from the Eldercare Underground) to Bristol Palin signing her “book” at our local Walmart. I’m a Gemini and variety is the spice of life for us. 🙂

    It’s your blog and you should do it your way, Blogging 101 be damned!

    Avere un buon viaggio a Roma!

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  7. First of all, never, ever, ever change your theme. I would never, ever, ever consider changing my theme…again.

    Second, Rome next week! Who gives a flying flock about Blogging 101. ROME!

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    • Good point Doobster! But it’s only for a week… It’s the coming home that’s tough.

      The good news is that we have the weekend off – no assignment!

      I kind of like the idea of having another column with past posts easily accessible for the hoardes who are currently and will be following me…..she says tongue-in-cheek. Like you have. Hmmm – I wonder if my current theme will support that…?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m so excited to hear that you’re going to Rome! It’s the most interesting place I’ve ever been! I’ve been there 3 times; you can never see all of it. The best thing I saw on my last visit (I was there about 3 weeks ago) was Basicilla San Clemente. Amazing! You enter a 12th century church, then you can go below to an excavated 4th century church and below that is an even older pagan temple. I hope you get to see it. And if you don’t that’s okay because you’ll see so many wonderful things. Maybe you’ve been there before and I’m telling you what you already know. Anyway, I’m sure it’ll be a wonderful time. Bon Voyage!

    Liked by 1 person

    • This will be my third time in Rome, but the first was a long time ago in the 70’s. We went in 2008 for our 30th anniversary and visited San Clemente then. It was fascinating! Did you do the Scavi tour at the Vatican? The excavations under St. Peters are unbelievable – it’s a pagan Roman cemetery that’s like a small city with small buildings and streets. Wow! So, the best place you ate 3 weeks ago was…..??? Any other must do’s as far as eating or drinking based on your recent visit? So not ready to go….

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  9. My dear AGMA, what a delightful post! I took Blogging 101 the last time it was offered and so wish you were in my class! It was a welcome pleasure to read of your angst. Made me feel less alone. I eventually either ignored or gave up on most of the assignments, but did manage to glean a few things that have proven helpful. I just kept telling myself there wasn’t going to be a test and that there are no grades at Blogging U. Have a wonderful time in Rome and remember to send the donkey a postcard. You wouldn’t want your ass to feel left out and it could make for a fun little post when you’re back home. Safe travels!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent idea about the postcard! Yeah, my ass gets pouty if it feels left out. I really do think I have learned some things even from the short time I’ve been able to spend on the assignments. I think that might be their goal… 10% retention! 😉 And no test or grades is a definite plus. Thanks for the travel wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m pretty sure that all of the “Dummies” books are over my head. I usually read the first chapter, and at the end I’m saying in my head, “lalalalalalalala, I can’t hear you!” I cut my teeth on Blogger.com, which actually, in my lowly opinion, is much easier to use, but I had to leave that blog behind (too many sad memories there). I already had this wordpress blog that I hadn’t really done much with, so I decided to revamp it a little (changed the title, it used to be “susieq says). I wanted it to be a minimalist blog, because at my other one, I was too much into photos and whatnot.

    I don’t care if I make money off my blog, thus the absence of ads, which drive me crazy BTW. I understand why most bloggers have them, but they’re distracting to me and to what I have to say. I consider mine to be more of a randomly meandering journal. WordPress doesn’t know that I exist, and I’m kinda thankful for that. I know what can happen when too many people get wind of a blog. It can be overwhelming trying to answer each and every comment, which I feel compelled to do. I know a couple of bloggers who never answer any comments. WTF??? I don’t get that.

    Anyway, I think your blog is perfect the way it is. Who needs 101? Just keep writing your funny, self-deprecating pieces. And BTW, I also hate blogs that have white lettering on a black background. Do the authors ever try to read that shit? Ugh.

    Have a great time in Rome! Safe travels and all that. Give us the lowdown when you return. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks much! I’m sure I’ll write something when I get back but it probably won’t be a “typical” travel blog post. You know I have to put my unique spin on things! 😉

      I guess if you are a really, really good blogger and get a huge following, it might be hard to answer all the comments. AGMA, on the other hand, is NOT in that danger! I think that it’s the controversial blogs that usually get the most comments and that’s just not the kind of stuff I write. I mean, how controversial is glitter from China?

      And as for making money, I just feel lucky that WordPress doesn’t charge me for posting my musings… Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh thank god someone else on the ‘course’ was thinking along the same lines! I completely agree with you about the Day 3 task – I feel a little bad following all these people and not getting the chance to properly read their content, it feels like following for following’s sake.
    And Day 4’s assignment? Dream Readers? My blog is a completely selfish space where I can spout as much drivel as I like. I’m not a writer and I don’t write very well anyway – so I was pretty excited when even one person liked what I wrote and wanted to follow me to carry on reading (I spend a significant amount of time in my posts warning people that they’re wasting their time reading), so, I’m still left struggling on with the Day 4 task…
    Finally Day 5 – it’s good that you’re not changing your theme, don’t. I wasted pretty much the entire day trying to reposition just one photo – what has my life come to?

    Anyway, loved this post, it makes me feel a little better about going into week 2 utterly bewildered. Enjoy Rome, I was there recently for my birthday and would be back again in a heartbeat! Bon voyage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • S…. I love your handle! So simple and elegant…

      Thanks so much for stopping by AGMA in your Blogging101 busyness and for taking even more of your time (when you could be repositioning a picture) to comment!

      I’m the same as you – I’m not a natural writer and what I do write takes me a while to put together. So when I started people actually reading what I wrote, I was pretty thrilled. Honestly, they’re all my dream readers!

      So we can be bewildered together this week! Being bewildered is always more fun in a group isn’t it? Until I leave. For Rome. In two days. And then I’m not going to look at the ANY of my assignments until I get back!

      Do you have any restaurant or bar recommendations that you feel compelled to pass on? Oh, and happy belated birthday!

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      • I totally agree with you, there is definitely something comforting about group bewilderment. Also I love the blog, it’s one of the first ones I followed and you would never know that you aren’t a natural writer at all!

        And honestly I didn’t have a bad plate of food when I was in Rome (and we ate a lot!), but there’s 2 restaurants that stick out in my mind. One is Glass Hostaria, which is in the Trastevere district. It’s unlike any of the other restaurants/pizzerias in the area and a little off the beaten track for Trastevere, but once you get there it is absolutely beautiful and ultra modern. The food (and wine!) are completely worth it and the service is great too.
        A little bit more traditional (and a particular hit with the men in the family) was L’antica Birreria Peronia. It’s quite near the Pantheon/ Trevi Fountain etc. The food is really delicious (and quite rich) and their huge pitchers of beer are something of a speciality there for them.

        Do let me know if you get a chance to go to either of them and if you find any particular spots yourself. Have a great time, you must be really excited!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the recommendations! I just wrote them down on my “list” which is like 25 restaurants long! So much food, so little time… I’m excited, but still have so much to do before we go. So I wrote a post. Makes total sense! For AGMA…

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Well I’m a little verde with envy. You’re going to Rome and I can’t help but salivate a little dreaming of fresh gnocchi with white truffle oil and parmigiano reggiano. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hiya, AGMA, from a fellow student at Blogging 101. Okay, so today’s assignment is to get out there and comment on blogs new to me. Well, hey, you’re new to me! Found you through the list of Recommended Blogs. Now, I’m not sure what that says about me . . . or you. Ha! Enjoyed reading. Write on!

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  14. I found your blog by clicking on someone else’s link while doing the be a good neighbor assignment in Blogging 101. So much of what you say really resonates with me and I absolutely love your approach. It doesn’t seem to me that you need the class. I am a brand new blogger and I feel like I am learning but so much of it is over my head. I think your blog might be the place to be for those of us over 60 and probably for others too because your writing style is so appealing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Helen! Trust me, I need Blogging101 – I just don’t have the time to do it justice… Just write about what you love and you’ll be wonderful without pings and widgits and custom headers. Congrats on your plunge into the blogging pool!

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  15. Oh dear, I didn’t even know about blogging 101–I don’t know about pings or ping backs either. Did the class enlighten you?
    Like you, I think I’d have a hard time keeping up with the homework.
    Have a great time in Rome!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Shelley! Keep your eyes open on the WP Reader. I bet they’ll do Blogging101 again soon. Definately worthwhile, but time consuming… But it’s stuff you can go back to and do later as time permits. Thanks for your Rome well wishes! Leaving in less than 2 hrs and trying to get all comments answered – yikes!

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  16. You are most definitely not a pathetic blogger! I am in the same boat as you, no idea what pinging is or how to do it, widgets had me in a frenzy for hours, even changing the colour of my blog had me at sixes and sevens, I don’t know the difference between a page and a post and I get stuck on certain ways of blogging and don’t like deviating from them (for example my main set up is write something and add a picture!). I have had my blog for just over a year, I don’t have a main focus, and I only just noticed that I can change the font and colour of my writing!!!!!
    You keep going and writing the way you do, and inspire myself and others to be as humorous and interesting as you
    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have you seen my blog? Write a post, add a picture. Done! You can change the font and color?? News to me… See what I mean? Not very tech savvy.

      Your comment is so very nice – thank you! I spend an awful lot of time not just writing a post, but rewriting it. You would NOT want to read my first draft. ZZzzzz…

      When you don’t have a main focus, you put your post in the “musings” category! They invented that one for people like us! 😉

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  17. Yes, you are brilliant, lovely writing, makes me smile! I’m chasing my tail with Blogging101 and now don’t feel so hopeless/helpless. Have a wonderful time in Rome, – I’m looking forward to your humorous take on the Colosseum 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Smiles are good and so needed in this world! Thanks! And sorry for the late reply… Hope Blogging101 is going well for you. I am now hopelessly behind and jet lagged and I have a cold… I could use some cheese with that whine. Special preview if I ever get time to write another post… Rome toilets! Bet you can’t wait!

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  18. Ha ha ha oh my goodness I am so glad I found your blog! You are so honest. Good for you doing the bloggers 101 but don’t change what you do too much, I am loving your work just the way it is!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for stopping by Elsie and for your sweet comment! Sorry for the delay in reply but that darned trip got in the way… Okay, it wasn’t a darned trip – it was a fun trip. Ha! Thanks again – you made me smile!

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  19. Hysterical. Thank you so much for your summary of Blogging 101. This is how I’m starting to feel about Writing 201. Over my head, not enough time to read good blogs by funny people who deserve more time than I can give to them to read about their thoughts. Blogging is cheaper than psychotherapy, but your way is much funnier. You are so, not a pathetic blogger. Thank you for the stories. I enjoyed the one about toilets in Rome. btw. I washed my socks in my bidet in France. I know tmi.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh gosh – thanks for the wonderful compliments! I can’t even imagine doing Writing 201! I did give up on 101 – never went back to check the assignments when I got back from Rome. My bad. I plan to sign up for it again one of these days when I don’t have 5 bowling balls up in the air.

      I would never say you telling me that washing socks in a bidet is tmi. I wouldn’t dare after that toilet post… Or some of my other posts that have been embarrassingly intimate (not in a good way!) But I DO love that you made your bidet multi-task! What the heck – it takes up a lot of precious space in those little bathrooms! 😉 Thanks for stopping by and, again, for your kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are welcome. When I stayed in the Cite-U dorm, we had a sink and bidet in each room. I was afraid of having my socks stolen in the laundry room in the basement, so I just washed and dried them in my room.
        I am learning to not take the writing class so seriously. I’m getting to it at my own pace that is sporadic and filled with eclectic blurbs of prose poetry about my daughter’s giggles and drool. It puts it all in perspective:)

        Like

  20. So glad I stumbled upon your blog. Clicks Following. But this WordPress is a bit of a lark is it not, I still have no idea what the heck half this stuff is even about =D

    Liked by 1 person

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