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Posts Tagged ‘The Geek’

 

Last post I mentioned that I’d recently seen Amanda Palmer in concert. It was at the Fly By Night (a most excellent venue) in Fremantle and we’d bought the tickets for our 8 year wedding anniversary celebrations.  It really was an excellent show. It being the Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under tour for her album which she described as a “love letter” to Australia, she came out on stage wearing a Union Jack corset and an attempted Southern Cross drawn on her breast in a hilarious mock up of the Australian flag. Whatever else that can be said about Amanda Palmer (and I will touch on that in a minute), one must admit that she is an entertaining performer. She’s theatrical and over the top yet still manages to convey a feeling of authenticity and familiarity with her fans. It’s a delicate balance and one that I’ve seen very few pull off well.

As far as the other things that can be said about Amanda Palmer, I got into a conversation of sorts about this when a friend (and fellow Ani DiFranco worshipper) posted the above video on Facebook yesterday. She said she didn’t much like Amanda Palmer and thought she was a bit overrated before she saw this video but now she thought she was starting to see what all the fuss was about. I responded with what I think now is probably my best attempt at summing up my feelings about this controversal performer. So, please excuse me while I pull a Richard Dawkins and reference myself (I drop out of italics occasionally where I’ve edited my original words to better convey what I meant):

I’m not a huge fan, tbh. I enjoy some of her music and don’t really own much of it. I do, however, enjoy watching her. She’s like Peaches or Madonna … I just like watching what she’ll do next. I don’t think she’s as edgy and radical as she seems to think she is or that her fans seem to think she is. I also think she can be an entitled douche occasionally. However, she is a performance artist worth watching just for sheer entertainment value and occasionally, just occasionally, she hits on Truth in her songs. Map of Tasmania is one time. The Vegemite Song is another. She’s often hilarious and fun to watch … which is why I’m also going to her free ninja gig in the city tonight. It’s a good excuse to go out and enjoy myself at any rate. 🙂
My friend basically concurred with me here and then I added:

Also, I think that she’s an interesting/important figure historically merely because of the way she’s harnessed social media to drive her career. Social media: She’s doin’ it right. A lot of up and comings can learn from her in that regard.

At this point my friend claimed that that was one of the things that irked her about Amanda Palmer and that she was basically a Big Brother era star. To which I responded:

That’s what I mean by doing it right, though. She’s *not* all that much like Big Brother in that she’s pretty authentic, not fake, etc. She puts herself out there and is, really, just being herself (which is at times quite prentious, but you get that). She makes herself really accessible to her fans in a way that not many people do/have done/do well these days and she uses things like Twitter to do it very effectively. I really think that people studying the social media phenomenon will be using her and Neil Gaiman as examples for a long time. They didn’t necessarily break new ground but they hit upon the way to make Twitter/social media work well for them iykwim.

Again, she’s not a fucking saint or necessarily worthy of the unconditional worship that some of her fans bestow upon her (but then, I’m sure people say the same of how we worship Ani DiFranco) but she is a significant figure nonetheless.

Damn, somebody should do a thesis on this shit.

The conversation went on and I did mention that we all can be entitled douches sometimes and that was pretty human. I’m not sure Amanda Palmer has always managed to gracefully own her privilege/entitlements when she cocks up but, again, that’s pretty damn human as well and just adds to the point I made about her being really authentic and accessible to her audience. Let’s face it, we’ve all cocked up (sometimes spectacularly) in our lives and dealings with others and not all of us deal with said cock ups gracefully all of the time. Hell, I’m sure there are some of you reading this who think that I have cocked up by even writing this. It happens. Sometimes we learn from it, sometimes we don’t. I try not to pass judgement as I know I’m not perfect or innocent, either.
In short I still enjoy her performances both on Twitter and on stage; I enjoy a good amount of her music though I am not a hardcore, obsessive record buying fan (though, I rarely get to buy anyone’s records these days & rely mostly on TripleJ for music); and I really admire the ovaries it takes to go out and do the kind of stuff she does. I am a very self conscious person and I always admire those who can put themselves out there and perform especially in the way that Amanda Palmer does.
But enough about that. Let’s get on to the ninja gig fun! Amanda Palmer does this thing she calls ninja gigs. She announces via her blog and Twitter when/where she will do a free impromptu “gig” that usually consists of her, her ukelele and whatever friends she happens to have with her at the time. I missed the first one she did in Fremantle two years ago because I had two small kids and it was really hot that day. I decided that the effort of getting both kids out & keeping them contained during a ukelele gig in a park on a sunny, hot day was just too much hard work. Afterwards, I found out there were only a handful of people who showed up and she’d gotten Neil Gaiman on the phone (this was before they’d even announced they were romantically involved though it was pretty obvious)! That was when I vowed to make it to the next ninja gig near me even though I knew it probably would never be that small or that awesome again … I had missed a golden opportunity.
Yesterday, I texted my friend, Joni, and arranged to meet her in the city for the gig. Amanda performed outside the Art Gallery at 9:30.  She even brought the band, Michaelangelo and the Tin Stars (from Melbourne), who opened for her the night before. It was great. She put on a hilariously entertaining show and it even culminated in a 28 ukelele (yes, 28 ukeleles!) version of Creep by Radiohead which I got on video. Amanda tends to do meet and greets at both her concerts and her free ninja gigs and this time I managed to get in line early enough to get to meet her. It was a little awkward as I didn’t really know what to say and ended up just babbling about the Vegemite Song (which I do love). You can see the picture at the top of this post. But, bloody hell, if I babble incoherently when I meet someone like Amanda Palmer, who I like but am not obsessed with, then what the fuck would I do if I ever found myself in the presense of someone I really, truly worship beyond all reason (and blindness to her faults … of which I’m sure she has many but I don’t want to hear them) like Ani DiFranco? I’d probably just drop dead from the excitement.
Enough of my rambling, though. It’s time for the grand finale: My not so great video of a moment of awesome involving 28 ukeleles, Amanda Palmer and a man made pond in the middle of Perth:

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So, this is how I see it: Scarring your kids for life is inevitable. You might as well have fun doing it, yeah? So, it is with this in mind that The Geek and I may be guilty of the following stellar moments of extreme dorkiness (in no particular order):

1)  One night at the dinner table for reasons neither of us can remember, one of us quoted Bohemian Rhapsody. Then the other quoted the next line. Before we knew it, we were singing most of the main part of the song complete with Wayne’s World-esque head banging. Bug just sat and stared at us like we’d suddenly grown an extra head each … or like we were complete dorks.

2)  Having only just turned 5, sometimes Bug doesn’t pay much attention when he dresses himself and puts his pants on backwards. When this happens, The Geek and I often sing Jump by Kris Kross (complete with jumping, of course). Again, we are met with that “you just grew an extra head and/or are total dorks” look from Bug. He’ll be very practiced at that look by the time he gets to his teens when he will permanently have it glued to his face …

3)  The Geek started a habit of singing “I’m gonna tickle little <insert child’s name here>” to the tune of Cat’s “I’m gonna eat you, little fishy”* when about to tickle one of the kids. They still don’t know that it isn’t an original song by their father.

4)  We had risotto for dinner tonight. I spent an embarrassing amount of time attempting to teach Cub (2 years old) to clap and squeal “Risotto, risotto, risotto!” in reference to The Catherine Tate Show’s Christmas special in which David Tennant plays a trendy, effeminate Ghost of Christmas Present. ** He’s almost got it … we just need to work on the hand clapping.

5)  In response to Bug’s frequent declarations that “it’s not FAIR!” I have been known to quote “Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.”***

6)  Bug tells us that he’s “bored” or that things are “boring” when it is clear that “boredom” is not actually what he means. Example: He says he’s bored with eating when he probably really means that he’s full and doesn’t want to eat anymore. In response to this, I often reply: “You say that word so much. I don’t think it means what you think it means.” ***

7)  The boys have a book about a boy and an octopus that he saves from a fisherman’s net. In the end are some facts about octopi. Octopi, it seems, have three hearts. The following exchange was quite common in our household when the book was first introduced: The Geek: “How many hearts does the Doctor have?” Bug: “Two!” The Geek: “How many hearts does an octopus have?” Bug: “Three!”

8)  Bug has a habit of saying “mummy!” in exactly the same tone and inflection as the kid from The Empty Child episode of Doctor Who. It’s freaky and even The Geek noticed it despite the fact that he is not a huge fan of Doctor Who and rarely watches it with me. We have been known to respond to Bug’s whines of “mummy!” with “Go to your room!” followed immediately by hysterical giggling. Bug, as you might have guessed, generally responds by giving us that Look I have been describing.

Now it’s your turn. Confess your dorky/nerdy parenting moments to me!

Edited to add: I should clarify that the dorky/nerdy parenting moments need not be only from the perspective of the parent. Did your parents do anything to you that made you make the face that Bug is now so practiced at? 🙂

*   If you don’t know this is from Red Dwarf then … well, what the hell are you doing reading my blog? Go educate yourself, damn it! 😉

**  Watch the clip here:

*** I’m assuming everyone recognizes The Princess Bride references here. I mean, doesn’t everyone have that movie memorized? IF you don’t then, as with Red Dwarf, what are you doing wasting time reading my blog when you could be watching The Princess Bride?

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Created by rengeek on Live Journal

I think it’s already been established that I am a geek, nerd, dork, etc. Hopelessly so. My last three Facebook profile pictures alone will attest to that (the most recent of which is featured above). If you need further proof, allow me to share with you a common conversation between myself or The Geek and Bug after reading his octopus book to him:

Me: How many hearts does The Doctor have?

Bug: TWO! (holds up two fingers)

Me: How many hearts does an octopus have?

Bug: THREE! (holds up three fingers)

To be fair, The Geek taught him that one, not me. And The Geek doesn’t even like Doctor Who! Of course there is also the proud tear of happiness I always shed when Bug says he wants to dance with John Barrowman.  And, do I have to mention my TARDIS ringtone or the fact that Ten announces “Allons-y” to me every time I get a text message (Why yes, that is David Tennant in my handbag!)?

Anyway, you get the point about me being hopeless. You think it can’t get much worse, right? Wrong. Yesterday, I both crossed The Dork Line and brought Arwyn over with me. Many of you who know us on Twitter are probably thinking that that happened a loooooong time ago. But no, I’m telling you, it got worse. I convinced her to actually write a drabble of fanfic (previously we both have read FAR TOO MUCH fanfic but have never been dorky enough to actually write any) and she, in turn enabled me into CREATING A MACRO OF MY OWN.

Exhibit A: The drabble
Exhibit B: The macro

So, there you have it, people. A mutually enabling relationship + Doctor Who = insufferable dorkiness. I thought it would never go this far … yet it has. And I’m ok with that. 🙂

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It ocurred to me that some of you might be wondering how things have progressed with Cub’s speach since this post.  So, I thought I should do a brief update. He’s talking! He literally slept through the night one night (even a bit of a sleep in!), woke up and started adding words left, right and centre! He has loads of words now but out favourite is “watermelon.”

He’d been walking up to me and insisting on making this strange noise/tongue action over and over again for weeks. He’d get quite animated about it but I had no freaking clue what he was saying … until The Geek finally hit on it: he was saying “watermelon!” We think it’s pretty hilarious so we took a video of him saying it which I will post here for your viewing pleasure. Perhaps I should have put a “proud mama post” warning on this post? The only catch is that we cannot work out how to rotate the video. The Geek was trying but I think the project got permanently shunted to the “to do” list and I just really want to get this post up. So, appologies for the sideways kid … he’s still cute anyway …

And here, because I just couldn’t resist sharing the cute, is a video of both kids dancing to their favourite song, Rock The Nation by Michael Franti. Check out Cub’s backward/forward running man move! (Excuse the messy house … I have two small kids, it happens)

PS If any of you know how to rotate a video, please share the knowledge!

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Twitter is a wonderful thing. It’s provided me with countless hours of time wastage and entertainment. I have also met some pretty awesome people through it. One of whom being Rachel, AKA Shiny. Not only is she awesome, but she also lives in Perth which meant I got to really meet her … and drink beer with her … and we plan on doing it again (the beer part for sure). 🙂 Any woman who chooses her kittens based on their colours in order to name them Gallifrey and Skaro has got to be pretty awesome … AND she likes Ani DiFranco too! Shiny is a nerd with taste. Except for the liking me part. I haven’t quite figured that out yet. But, amazingly, she felt compelled to award me with this:

I’ve never gotten a blog award before! Of course, I’ve only been blogging for a few months, so that’s not really such a big surprise. It makes me feel special all the same. There is just one catch to this award: I have to list seven things about myself. Hhhmmm, this may be harder than it sounds. Ok, here you go, seven things about me in no particular order:

1) I once went skinny dipping at Mount Ranier … while lots of people watched. No, the watching part wasn’t planned … just a bit of a stupid oversight on the part of my and my friend’s teenage selves (I won’t out her unless she wants to out herself). Although, I suspect my friend knew what she was doing and just strung silly old me along unawares. 😉 It was the summer I met The Geek, he was visiting and we took him to Mt Ranier because that’s what you do with tourists. There was a beautiful lake just under the parking lot/observation point. It was a warmish day (for Washington) and we hiked down to the lake. We decided that it would be refreshing to go skinny dipping (actually, we were daring each other to do it all the way down … I should have known better than to enter into such a dare with this particular friend). The Geek was still chasing me at the time so I was uncomfortable with stripping right there in front of him. So we went to the other side of the lake. Only to find out later (via the sound of some tourist shouting “Hey, there are two girls down there without any clothes on!”) that we had decided to strip & swim within perfect view of the observation point! I’m sure a few of them have some blurry pictures of naked teenagers in their collection of vacation photos …

2)  I almost became a primary school teacher. When I moved to Australia on a student visa, my chosen major was Primary Education. I did a year of the degree and went to two minor pracs (one in a primary school and one in a high school). It was at the end of that year that I realized that I would make a terrible primary school teacher. I do not have the patience for it, nor am I creative enough to invent lesson plans. Oh, and the rest of the people in my year at uni? Could barely stand most of them. The classes I had to take bored the crap out of me, too. My hat goes off to people who can be teachers … It’s a fucking hard and thankless job.  I am not cut out for it.

3)  I’m 30 years old and I still don’t know who I am. It freaks me out. I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up nor do I have any idea what I’m doing now (other than trying to survive the early years of motherhood). I have ideas but I’m not sure they will ever pan out nor am I sure that I will *like* them if they ever do pan out.

4)  I care more about what other people think than I should. I pretend to think I’m awesome but I don’t really think I am. And now I’m admitting to it which is just a big freaking paradox in and of itself, isn’t it? I worry constantly about what other people think and how they view me. It doesn’t stop me from being a weirdie, dreadlocked nerd but it eats away at me just the same.

5)  I consider having my babies naturally at home to be the most empowering and feminist thing I have ever done. Sure, there are things about the first birth that didn’t go exactly as I had hoped (and I may blog the birth story later to explain this).  Consequently, there is a little bit of mother guilt that things went so well for the second.  But those things don’t matter. What matters is that I trusted my body and I did it. I pushed two children out of my vagina in a warm, safe home environment lacking in harsh lighting or superfluous machines that go “ping.” I did it on my own without Drs interfering, without unnecessary medicalisation of the process. Me, my womb, my vagina and my babies working together to create the best moments of my life. If I accomplish nothing else in my life, at least I did that.

6)  I consider succeeding in full term breastfeeding the second most empowering and feminist thing I have ever done. The first time around wasn’t easy. In fact, it was a fucking nightmare that brought me to the brink and back. But I persisted because I knew I could do it and could conceive of no other way to feed my child. After we overcame our horrific problems, I fed with pride. Anywhere. Everywhere. And I still do since Cub is only 19 months old and will likely be feeding for at least another year if not more.  I may hate other parts of my body (especially post baby) but my breasts doing their intended job of feeding children are things to be proud of. I don’t wave them about, I don’t make a big deal about what I’m doing but I do it when I need to, where I need to, regardless of the age of my child because I know that it’s the right thing to do and I know that buying into the idea that a breastfeeding woman must hide is misogynistic, prudish nonsense.

7)  I am essentially a very lazy person and I hate it. There are lots of things I don’t do  because I decide it’s not worth doing or would be too hard to do before I even try. I wish I could change this about myself but, then, that would be too hard, too.

Now, I am supposed to pass this award along to someone else who deserves it. The problem is that I am only just getting started on keeping up with blogs so I have a short list of those I’ve thus far added to my very, very new blog feed … and most of them have already been given this award! But, there are two who, to my knowledge, have not received it  yet and who deserve it for various reasons:

Stay At Home Mayhem

Spilt Milk

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Well, I can. I’ve proved it twice, haven’t I? The question is … am I going to do it again? The answer is …. I don’t know. BUT, the “I don’t know” is leaning closer and closer to a definitive “No,” every day.

I’ve always said that I would have two kids. I knew it since forever. I’d never have just one but I have pretty strong views on over population so I’d never have a huge family, either. As I got older and closer to having my own kids, the idea of three kids didn’t seem that far fetched. It was always a very big Maybe, though, and definitely not as certain as having two would be.

The other thing I always “knew” was that I’d have a boy and a girl or two girls … never two boys. That prospect never even occurred to me. It was inconceivable! But, much like the famous Sicilian character who made that line so famous … I was completely and utterly WRONG. When I was pregnant with Bug, I knew he was a boy. That’s not to say I found out by artificial means … I just knew. From about 8 weeks or so, I had a very strong feeling he was a boy. I was happy with that. He was my first, I had another chance for my girl. Besides, I was feeling a little overwhelmed by the pink explosion in baby shops so was happy I could easily avoid Teh Pink without too much grief. Then we conceived Cub. I tried to convince myself that he was a girl because I wanted a girl so much and, thus, ignored the instinct that was telling me that he was a boy. When he came out and The Geek announced “another boy!” I was more disappointed than I wanted to admit at the time.

You see, during Cub’s pregnancy, we’d all but decided this was the last. We did all the things that I’d wanted to do with Bug’s pregnancy but either couldn’t afford to or didn’t get around to (belly cast, artsy professional belly photos, etc). I was treating this pregnancy as if it were my last and savouring every moment. When he was born, I had a bit of a mourning period for the girl I was convinced I’d never have. I mentioned as such to The Geek and he dropped the bombshell: “But we don’t need to decide that yet, do we?” He was indicating that a third child was still a possibility for him, which opened the door for me to consider it … something I hadn’t allowed myself to do.

So, I’ve considered it and considered it and considered it. I’ve thought of it nearly every day since the day The Geek opened the door. Some days I’ve been pretty well convinced that we would try for another baby. Some days not. We’d decided that we’d wait until the boys were older and then see if there was someone missing or if our family felt complete. A good plan, one we’re still sticking to. It’s too early to say for sure and I wouldn’t want to send The Geek off to get the snip just yet. But, I really think that it’s not going to happen. The more I think about it now, the more I realize that I’m not that clucky. There are things that I want to do (like go back to uni and even some travel) that require my kids to be a little older, less dependent. Throwing another baby into the mix would just further delay all these things. I’m starting to see a world beyond the rearing of small people (not outside the world of rearing slightly bigger people, though) and I like it. I’m looking forward to it. So, now I’m thinking there won’t be another baby … maybe … probably.

Now that I’m admitting this, I’m getting more sentimental about Cub’s babyhood. Every time I pick him up and squeeze his chubby body I remind myself that it’s almost gone. Soon he’ll be an angular preschool kid with very little baby fat. It won’t be long before he weans himself from breastfeeding (though I doubt that will happen for another year at least). It won’t be long before I will have to put the colourful cloth nappies away forever (maybe … probably). It’s bittersweet. On one hand, I am looking forward to a new stage in life but on the other, I am saying good bye to the precious baby days. We may yet still have a third (though I hold little hope of getting the girl I so long for). Who knows? But right now, I’m going to savour my baby as he just may be my last.

PS The title of this post comes from an Ani DiFranco song called Blood In the Boardroom which is also appropriate given that I am currently on the rag. Oh, wait …. did I just blog about my period? I did! Arwyn will be so proud. 😉

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Fall Out

It starts with tell-tale signs of tiredness: Bug starting to snatch toys from his brother or developing that blank, glassy-eyed look (more so than usual) when we try to tell him something. Cub poking his upper lip with his index finger in a sort of “thoughtful pose,” and/or having tantrums at the drop of a hat. The general grumpiness escalates to a fever pitch. I don’t handle it well, things get stressed. It would be easier if we were at home. But we’re not. We’re out, usually at a family gathering at an older family member’s house (ie Not a house with young children). With each tantrum, altercation, or whingey response my stomach ties in knots, my head feels like it’s going to explode.

My fight or flight instincts kick in and all I want to do is grab my whingey, noisy, exhausted children and leave … but I can’t. We have to stay just a bit longer. It’s not our house and it’s not set up for children so we are on high alert, constantly having to stop already cranky children from destroying a house that is not set up for young ones. Each time I or even The Geek has to jump up and stop one of them (resulting in a whine or mini tantrum) my anxiety grows. We have to stay through the meal, sit and chat and have desert. It’s only polite. I can’t hold a decent conversation with anyone because the kids have me on edge and because I have nothing in common with any of them, we are at different life stages. I find I only talk about the kids, I feel I am boring and repetitive. It’s worse if Cub decides to breastfeed constantly due to his exhaustion. All of this continues past the usual time we’d start the bedtime routine, past my ability to cope. I try to hint that we should go, I feel like I’m being rude or look like a lunatic.

Then it’s finally time to leave. We are leaving painfully early compared to the rest of the people there. I fear we’re being judged rude. In all fairness and honesty, we probably aren’t. Oddly, that knowledge doesn’t change my fear of it. I struggle Cub into his night nappy and try to brush their teeth (if we’ve remembered the toothbrushes) in the hopes that they will fall asleep in the car. If we’re lucky, they will. If we’re unlucky, they won’t but it won’t take *too* long to get them down once we get home. If we’re seriously unlucky (and this happens more often than we’d like to admit even to ourselves), they will fall asleep in the car and wake up when we get home … resulting in an epic struggle with one or both of them to finally sleep. Last night it was the latter. Both needed one of us to lay with them for an unbelievably long time. I failed. My anxiety was at maximum and Bug picked it up … thus he was not able to relax and sleep either. I ended up having to just get up, upsetting him, and forcing The Geek to go lay with him even after he’d just done the same for Cub. Thankfully The Geek was able to be calmer and Bug picked up on that, finally drifting off to sleep soon after he took over. Unfortunately, the excitement of the day added to the disruption of last week being the first week of school resulted in a fitful night for all of us. Then we had to take Bug to school this morning walking like a zombie, his eyes falling out of his head. I worry how he will be at school today or, worse, at the end of the day when I pick him up.

My kids have dinner and immediately start getting ready for bed. Most nights that means it starts around 7PM and they’re in bed and asleep by 8ish depending on the day or how long it takes to get Bug to pack up the toy room. I am not necessarily a stickler for routine but this is something they fell into and we are all happy with. It works for us. Unfortunately, they (especially Cub) are sensitive to the routine being disrupted as well. For the most part, I can take Bug out in the evening to stay up late for something special with minimal fall out. He’s older and better able to deal with it. My father in law and I took him out for the Hottest 100 Day fireworks. He was tired and a bit cranky the next day but, for the most part, it was tolerable. It was definitely not something we’d do very often, though. Cub, however, can not deal so well. If he has too much stimulation/excitement at night when he’d normally be winding down for bed, he loses the plot and I go with him. I simply can’t handle the whingeing. It echos in my brain and reverberates over every nerve in my body. It makes my teeth itch. The result is two extremely unhappy people, which makes the entire outing not really worth the hell.

In addition to all this, I find that I *need* them to go to bed when they do now. After Bug’s early babyhood of late nights and my having to sleep as soon as he did, I enjoy my time in the evening. I need it to unwind. People who do not have small children either don’t understand all of this or don’t remember what it was like with their own kids, I think. Not to mention that every child and family is unique. I feel pressure to not be rude and to try to keep everyone happy but, at the same time, I resent having to go out to these things. I’d love to see everyone and the prospect of not having to cook is always a good one … but I’m not sure its worth the unbelievable amount of stress that goes with it. And I am totally convinced that no one seems to really understand just how stressful it *is* for us (or me, at any rate … The Geek is better at handling it than I). It’s not their fault. How would they know? They either have no children of their own or their kids are grown to the point where their memories of how things could be with small children are either warm and fuzzy with age or practically nonexistent. Plus I doubt anyone experiences the kind of anxiety that I do from the mere sound of my whining children. Most of them are able to tune it out whereas I can not escape it. Thus, there is no escape. It will happen again and I don’t look forward to it. I wish I were better at handling it or that I had those mythical kids who are flexible enough to handle such disruptions well. Do they exist?

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