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Movies: Loopers was excellent, on par with Inception and On Time for good entertaining movies with actual plots and thought provocation. In a completely different way the new Dredd and Resident Evil movies were quite entertaining and all the more so because they almost entirely lacked a plot or any provocation to thinking -- in fact the blessedly brief moments when they relaxed on the fan service to attempt such things were the low points of either film.

The fan service was particularly strong with the new RE movie. Lovely lovely ridiculous costumes ... including one in my new favourite shade of purple. Almost worth her character being blonde this movie rather than the much better dirty brunette hairstyle of other films. Another positive note is that Ms. Jovovich has put on a little weight and looks much better for it.

Gaming: The new Batman film was disappointing but Arkham City looks to be as good as hyped. Guild Wars 2 launched well and is every bit as excellent as one would expect from the team at ArenaNet. I look forward to playing alot morw GW2 in the future but for now most of my game time is being spent trying to finish the story of my primary toon in The Old Republic while my attention holds / before the game dies. Steam brings many goodies, such as a new X-COM game from Firaxis (!) and the indie "spaceship simulation roguelike-like" FTL and I keep buying the Humble Bundles (and you should too) and hardly playing any of them.

Books: Reamde was excellent. It's an easy recommendation for anyone who has read Stephenson before and hearkens back to Cryptonomicon in many ways (all good) with a more mature and skilled writer (and only one time setting, with some mild flashbacks). It's quite the thriller and as might be expected quite educational about all sorts of things. Also read recently of his are Some Remarks, a collection of letters and essays (not quite a pre-death Grumbles but very interesting) and some bits from the Foreworld.

Stephenson and several notable co-conspirators have channeled their interest in historical science fiction and martial arts into a ambitious project. It's one I knew of and did not subscribe to but I am enjoying the output. I'm reading volume two of The Mongoliad and quite enjoying it, though it seems a great deal slimmer than the first volume. Among other pleasant surprises is how compelling the character of the Khagan (Khan of Khans) has been.

I've also recently read, in novels, the latest Rachel Morgan book. It was fine overall, though I must say I am looking forward to the series winding up soon. The author is having trouble balancing 10 books worth of powerlevelling of the heroine (now actually a goddess of sorts) and her allies versus making a compelling antagonist and a readable plot.

Manga:ナナとカオル gets a new character in book 16 and that's really adding to the fun of what was already a great read and good kana practice (from the sound effects and signs).

Comics: I've been enjoying reading comics on my Kindle Fire from Amazon and Comixology both. In addition to more than $20 of tasty classic Witchblade collections (Origins V1-3), a Dr Who, Star Trek crossover (?!), I've dipped my toe into Batman books as well. The Arkham City collection of all the game tie-in comics was brilliant, not only setting up the characters and story, bridging the two games, but beautifully drawn. I got it from Amazon: Batman: Arkham City. Further if you have ever enjoyed a Batman comic then Hush is not to be missed.

Alas, all of the complaints about the Comixology Kindle Fire Comics app are true. Most damning is how few of the comics available online show up in the Kindle app for reading even after purchase.

Telly:Revolution continues to teeter on the edge between watchable schlock and terrible drama. Grimm is still good as the second season rolls along. The new American Holmes show Elementary is showing hopeful signs two episodes in, but they have a heavy burden with the Great Detective. I teared up a bit at the end of the Dr. Who season finale.

With October some of the best shows are coming back on the air both top-notch and delicious schlock alike ... and almost all on the BBC. The new American Horror Story show looks to be even better than the first show and the new Bedlam isn't too bad. One of my all-time favourite guilty pleasures shows Hex is being replayed Saturdays and there's more yet to come. The not-a-real-Tivo is getting a good workout.

I manage to watch a Rachel Maddow about twice a week but she watches all of them. She has a stronger stomach I guess. Please on't misunderstand I adore and strongly respect Ms Maddow as one of the few journalists standing, but I have to limit my exposure to political news. The last dosage had me ruminating about the constitutional definition of treason and foaming a bit.

Studies: I'm making minimal progress on my year-long NSM studies themselves because I'm studying packet analysis (and soon Snort) for my 503 class and preparing lessons, labs, and teaching another class (401) in weekly chunks. I'm elated to be teaching but I'm still struggling to juggle it all around work and home. Oh and I got my CISSP, finally.

Moved: Still unpacking in rare fits and spurts. We're starting into a new phase of arranging and putting away of things that will likely run the month but may result in some books finally getting shelved. I have discovered three items (so far) borrowed/misplaced by others and need to conspire to drawn their attention to this fact...

How about any of you lot? Any good reads of late?

adric: books icon (c) 2004 (Default)
This would be easier in wikitext. Actually, nevermind, you're getting wikitext, deal with it

Having raced to the dramatic if baffling conclusion of [ How to Disappear Completely], which I wholeheartedly recommend, I have been trying to catch up on [ Escape Pod] since getting behind. So, now a jog through EP 2008 so far (for me):
* EP139: Acephalous Dreams : Quite dark and twisted from beginning and at the end. I enjoyed it and it might have provoked a thought or two.
* EP140: Astromonkeys! : Silly, funny and heartwarming, even. And there were monkeys. What more could you want?
* EP141: The Color of a Brontosaurus : An interesting portrayal of scientists and dogma, not to mention various time-travel scenarios. A strong story with some emotionally provoking character interaction.
* EP142: Artifice and Intelligence : Mmmmm tasty. A team of individuals are recruited to band together to save the peoples of Earth from their own creations. And the protagonist AI just sounds deeply sexy.
Many forum posters apparently thought the only thing wrong with this story was that it ended just when things were revving up. I hesitantly agree and I'd certainly like to hear more from the auther, evn if not in that exact setting
* EP143: Flaming Marshmallow and Other Deaths : Cute and actually a little interesting although perhaps less surprising than intended for anyone who has been or knows any teenaged girls.
* EP144: Friction : Bloody brilliant. Full of heart-wrenching character interaction, deep wisdom and sand.
* EP145: Instead of a Loving Heart : Although I had some trouble meshing with the tone of this story it is really quite good. Bonus points for letting the narrator's identity and condition be revealed in dribbles as plot dictates.
* EP146: Edward Bear and the Very Long Walk : Owwwie. A fantastic tale that uses the mythos of a very well known English bear to execute a wonderful little Hero's Journey expodition. Mind the disclaimer and listen through it first before you play it for the very young.

* Gankutsuou Vol 4 : This Monte Cristo based anime series continues to impress and entertain. Despite the scifi resetting, they seem to be keeping tightly to the original narrative, with some interesting twists.
* Thank You for Smoking : This is a wonderfully entertaining and educational movie that is much less cynical than you might have thought. I absolutely cannot see Ms Holmes as an adult, but this provided little difficulty with my enjoyment as the balance of the cast was fantastic.
* Casino Royale (2007) : Mr Flemming can perhaps now rest in peace. They have made a good Bond film again. The new chap is great and the execution and story are quite quite good. Worth seeing.
* The Simpsons Movie : Really quite well done. Very entertaining and remarkably well produced. The commentary tracks are quite entertaining and enlightening in their own right, as many many jokes were never animated and thus did not make a 'Deleted Scene' reel.

While riding the train to work the last few weeks (first out of necessity after the tornado closed roads and then as a continuing experiment) I have been working my way slowly through an Economist (last weeks perhaps, has a special report on China). No room here to extoll the many virtues of this excellent if expensive publication, so I will simply note that in my sleepier moments if I don't concentrate I start to read aloud to myself and I hear it in the voice of the host of NPR's Marketplace, Mr Rizdol (?). Very strange.

I'm watching Lost and Torchwood and quite enjoying them both, but I can't say a thing about them for those of you who are a bit behind, heh. Good stuff. I've watched a couple episodes of a new video podcast, PopSiren, that I find fascinating .. although not perhaps in a friendly and positive way. It comes off very fake and contrived, or perhaps merely the hosts do. It's one thing to try really hard to hit a market niche, but perhaps you shouldn't announce it and heavily weight your scripts with the buzzwords?

==Video Games==
As suggested in previous posts, I have done a silly thing which solves any temporary Microsoft licensing issues I may have had. The entire purpose (primary) of that was to get my Windows machine to play Portal and I have succeeded. Portal is indeed as marvelous as everyone had suggested and gets devilishly tough after the middle bit. I think I'm on 15 or so (of 20?)... HL2 : Ep One was .. pretty decent but quite annoying in places. I do not feel that it lives up to even Valve's standards for map design and after playing Portal and Minerva it's just weak. I'll be spinning up Ep Two of HL2 in a bit here, but my expectations are low, as many reviewers found it weak.

I've barely read any fiction outside of webcomics and [ Tale of MU]. Oh, an update! *poof*
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In which even the self-censorship PSAs have a little fun: Have a look at Boss of Dominatrix Although apparently not available en Espanol yet, this does air, as I saw part of it on CNN (with close-captions).

Crescent (a sci-fi horror podcast novel) is coming along nicely. For all of the cliches and odd choice, it's a fun listen, particularly when you are not paying too close attention. Of course some bits are worth going back for, and I've actually started over the current episode (26) after nearly finishing it. The clue for me was not being able to recall quite how a particular character died. There's some great stuff in this episode and not the least of it is a remark by the lead character Gerald who admits that not only is he 'not a hero but he's not too damned bright'. The story before and after this admission bear it out, but in an entertaining way. Another interesting bit was this brief plot holiday, in which characters and listeners alike were allowed to relax a bit and think of some things as resolved .. which bring me spoiler-less-ly to another interesting bit about Crescent: two separate competing adversarial antagonists

I finished One Among the Sleepless (a noisy neighbours podcast novel) and I think I enjoyed it quite a bit overall. I did skim a bit, and skip a couple eps entirely (more due to iTunes/iPod auto-delete misfeature than intent), but I was fairly ravenously devouring it, and found most of the morsels quite tasty. And yes, to keep with the theme of the post, there is a dominatrix...

Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) is a fantastic release with a buggy installer. I could go on for pages of all of the new stuff, the fixed stuff, but Ars Technica already did. Their review is not for the faint of heart, mind you .. All over it's a fantastic release, chock full of great stuff that will now make it even more painful to try and use other so-called personal computers that don't have it. (QuickLook, for one) Here's a tasty tidbit: They shipped Subversion (and RubyCocoa and .. ). It runs faster on my MBP 17 than Tiger did. If only more OS distributors could do that every release... *wist* Oh, and I mustn't forget: the installer is kinda lossy. Backup twice, and be prepared to do a wipe and install .. even if that isn't the original plan. Or you could just use a really clean disk and pray. After you backup.In fact you should buy something like these Backup drives before you install. And then you can use Time Machine, hooray.

I've finished the tutorial for, and have mostly imported old NanoWrimo crap into, my fresh new copy of Scrivener, an amazing working tool for writing and organizing writing written by this fellow (who is quite correct in his blog about Apple screwing the Select Developers on the Leopard beta release, btw). In addition to being a really cool tool that I hope to get lots of use out of, Scrivener is a fantastic example of independent Mac OS X development and the power of the platform. Oh and I found about Scrivener from the always enlightening LJ superstar [ profile] folk. Cheers!

I haven't read much on dead trees lately. I'm finally starting to make good progress on the "Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology" screed I grabbed an ebook of awhile back. It really is quite good. He asks many of the right questions and even provides some answers from his personal experiences and professional knowledge. His approach to "what's so special about Western nations?" was particularly savoury, even though he hasn't much of an answer .. and in fact that's the strength of the piece. In a peculiar way his manner of discussing what a science would be like (without trying to create it himself) and asking very good questions (without answering them, at least not fully). I may have to dig out more on this David Graeber fellow, as he hasn't disappointed yet.

And then I spent the last twenty minutes updating sone of my scripts for the new version on rbosa (0.4, now available as a gem). Fun, a little. And now, @coffee.

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Had a nice time at the Dungeon Friday night before fleeing the crowds and finding out we were v. tired and crashing. Saturday watched movies (Charlie's Angels, Omen, The Great Escape, Ultraviolet) with [ profile] kittyglitter for most of the day (keeping the couch from escaping, and other lessons were learned as well) and then gave [ profile] sotto_voce a ride home from the homeless shelter Arts Center and watched Chisaii Gaijin Iron Chef .. which was rather strange.

Sunday, I slacked around the house mostly and then caught up with [ profile] cosmiclola for a lovely dinner of vindaloo and a showing of A Dog's Breakfast, which is a lot of fun, particular for Stargate junkies. It was good to get a chance to hang out with her and catch up. I have much more respect for the Yaris now, despite seeing one in Psyched.

I finished The Gripping Hand, and perhaps too quickly. Also, the book's (end) was rather sudden and abrupt-seeming. I think I grasp the galactic strategic objectives that were in play and I don't question that they were resolved. I guess this is what people were saying when they liked the sequel not nearly as much as the original classic. Still it does resolve nearly all of the major issues from both books before stopping, I just feel like I missed some stuff, and I know I was barely following the complex space battles (...)

the movies:Read more... )
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Friday: work, GuildWars

Sat: Although I woke up early, I felt that a sequence of hot baths was a better plan than actually getting out and doing anything. I was comfortable enough spending some quality time reading Bab5 (vol 12), watching bad telly (actually saw most of Alone in the Dark this time), making halting progress on either toon in GuildWars, tossing d12s to Chani, and toying with vimtutor1. After the excitement of the last couple weekends (four shiny balls moving in a controlled sequence) I was okay with taking this one off. And there was this slight scratchy feeling in my throat that I'd noticed earlier in the week...

Species: The Awakening2 rolled credits at around 000 and I grabbed a blankie and curled up on the couch as Species III came on and started in on the alien virii and hot blonde xeno on tokemak t-and-a action (sic). And today, Sun, I woke up ,still on the couch, to Bordello of Blood on Chiller and the alarm (upstairs beeping stridently). My throat is tighter today than it was yesterday. We are not amused. And we are mildly concerned that TiVo understands my taste in schlock so well.

Food: Yesterday (sat), wheat pita, garlic hummous, chicken noodle soup packet, toast with peanut butter, juice. Today so far, clams soup and toast. I'm watering the juice to balance the throat clenching dextrose against the increased asorbic acid intake that supports my immune response.

1: The life changing nature of vimtutor can not be overestimated, nor may it be mocked by any who have not tried it. And the first dose never quite gets you all the way there.

2: The SciFi version was actually pretty good. I enjoyed it and might buy the video to see the whole thing. In addition to reasonably good writing and acting for such a thing, the female lead is attractive and her antagonist is smokin' hot . There is stark contrast between the xeno design of the original movies and this one, as well as a slight forgivable continuity error (Perhaps they couldn't afford Sir Ben, even after Bloodrayne, and of course Ms. Henstridge was not available, having gotten only cameo credit for the flashbacks and corpse in the third movie)
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Mackenzie: "It was kind of reassuring to find that no matter how comfortable I grew with my role, my emotions still confused the shit out of me."

from Tales of MU 69 :
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QotD: What television show stands the test of time?


Covering topics of war, death, life, love, loss, and even the happy stuff too on occasion, MASH not only implements the classic themes of literature and human existence but does so with poignancy and rare talent.

The writing and performances both of this show have already guaranteed it a long life.  It's in syndication somewhere, always, and has been released on video and DVD in its entirety, I believe.

Originally posted on

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I have been neglecting all other podcasts as I race to catch up with the sci-fi horror serial Crescent. It's been fun. I won't praise the author's creative skill or talent much, but as pulp, it's fun, and the production values are surprisingly good. I recommend giving it a shot. It's oddly compelling in places, and better than Scott Sigler's work (I listened to the whole of Earthcore, ugh).
(I think I got there from PsuedoPod, which has been getting better of late.)

And I've read through and am keeping up with Tales of MU, a difficult to categorize coming-of-age tale for a young half-demon girl starting her freshman year of college. Originally run on the authoress' LJ, it now has it's own home at (I originally linked in from an ad on Questionable Content (.net) a wonderful little webcomic I've been reading for awhile in spurts). Tales of MU has fantasticly well-rendered and believeable characters, human and otherwise, a wonderful take of science versus magic techonolgies, funny dialog, heart wrenching drama ... and bunches of NSFW kink and sexual activity .. in text form. I can't say much more without spoilers, so go give it a try. Starts here: And if you find yourself identifying too strongly with one of the characters, credit AE. If only my freshman year had been this educational...
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Successfully avoided massive social gathering this weekend. Spent most of the weekend watching telly and eating junk food with [ profile] kittyglitter. Saw Season Three of 4400, both discs of Return of the King, and ... oh, some Family Guy, and ... hmmm. Then home Sunday for some more BioShock, and some Food Network trash with [ profile] sotto_voce on Monday. And made it back homeward for a late dinner with Dove. Ate too much this weekend, blech.

I've been reading some collected ghost stories from Memoware rather than starting in on another full on classic novel. I did finally finish up Kushiel's Scion last week sometime. That was fun and quite interesting in places, if quite long. Imriel is probably a more interesting character than Phedre, if a little bit super-powered.

more whiny bits )
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William Gibson's latest effort surprised me, quite pleasantly, and I definitely recommend reading it. In fact, I may hang onto this copy and read it again before I let it go. Gibson has recently admitted that he no longer feels comfortable writing about the future, and so this novel is set in 2006. And nothing in it is fictional or unbelievable except perhaps the identities of the people.

more here:
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Gravedancers (from FearNet, unfortunately) was quite well executed and fun to watch. Jumpy and scary in places, but with an interesting little plot and victims who make good choices, mostly .. not that it helps :D

Reincarnation (ibid, although with less jamming) was really good, if you happen to enjoy creepy perception-twisty Japanese movies with creepy little girl (and creepy doll too!). Also, a minimum of three lovely Japanese actresses does not hurt at all.

Babylon 5: Lost Tales: Voices in the Dark: the first new Bab 5 material in several years, this DVD has two stories that lightly connect with each other (call them the B story and the A story). Both stories are quite nifty in their own regard, in terribly different ways. I much prefer the A story, with the weight of the galaxy on President Sheridan's good-humoured but sagging shoulders. 'Bonus materials' include some cute behind the scenes interviews and moving tributes to the cast members who have passed on.

I'm still in the middle of Kushiel's Scion, perhaps I will make some progress of that today now that I paid some bills.

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adric: I failed a willpower save and now have both Portishead albums from Apple.


20 July 2007 11:23 am
adric: books icon (c) 2004 (Default)

Blee? I've been sooo tired this week...

Started Moll Flanders. The prose style is, well, jogging or perhaps a light run. I suppose the author has a lot of ground to cover. There was entirely too much of the distasteful flavour of Justine in the introduction1. Of course this is about on level with me hoping to one day find a manuscript of Tales of the Arabian Nights where the phrase "Allah be praised" has not been added to every verse with a crayon or some original Buddhist literature that doesn't thin of Gotama as a god. *mutter*

At least Discordians don't have that trouble. Yet. As soon as someone figures out how to turn a profit...

1 Justine is a unpleasant novella by the overrated hack De Sade. If you imagine a sort of 'Perils of Pauline' schtick where all manner of bad things happen to the heroine, apply what you know of DeSade's far too well-documented ideas on bad things (viz. buggery), you're halfway there. Then, rather than a rescue by a heroic mountie, substitute an adult religious conversion and (as I recall) a one way trip to a nunnery. Repentance occurs often and noisily well before death. Both halves of the work are unreadable due to their discussion of torture (hers and then yours) and horrible execution.2

2 Slightly back on topic, the introduction to Moll Flanders goes to great literary lengths, and use repetition to try to encourage two conflicting beliefs in the prospective reader (publisher): Namely a) that the book is full of racy stuff that will be fun to read and b) that it's okay to read the smut because all of it punished and teaches moral lessons. No doubt there was some law or regulation requiring or encouraging such disclaimers on literature to ensure religious propagation and moral turpitude. I suppose we can expect more of that in this country soon.3

3: How many geek points do I get for having more footnotes than body paragraphs, both by length and by number?

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I'm only three chapters from the end of Jane Eyre, I re-read The Mote in God's Eye, made some halting progress in Linux Shell Scripting with Bash, watched disc 5 of GITS:SAC, the last season finale of Dr Who for 2007, a couple episodes of Bleach ... hacked through a few dungeons and and acquired another Recommendation in Oblivion, started a game of Virtual Villagers (they haven't all died yet, amazingly), acquired some debt on two of my toons on Triumph (in City of Heroes ) ...

In other news: new guy finally started at work, so I'm finally getting to do some (informal) training, which I really enjoy. New kitty is a sweetie, but a real cat, and my right thigh has the scars to prove it.

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Watched the first episode of the new season of The 4400 with the roomie. Lots of spice-weasel action, quite fun.

And then I started in on back Dr. Who, and watched the "Human Nature" "Family of Blood" two-parter back to back. Damn that was well crafted, scary in some places, merely startling in others, and heart-wrenching in a couple moments.

And crashed.

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I read through Carpe Demon and am halfway through the sequel, California Demon. I'll likely finish it up today. They've been fun reads. The series follows Kate, a retired Demon Hunter who has become a stay-at-home mom. Many of the reviewers suggest it is what happen if Joss Whedon's Buffy grew up .. but I don't give that theory much credence. Kate didn't go to high school, much less college, and theres an awful lot of distance from the Vatican to the Watchers. The author writes well, and the book are very funny, except in a few places where they are heartbreakingly sad. It works well.

I've also read through the first delicious morsel of the Father Brown stories, "The Blue Cross", courtesy of Ah! quite an engaging little tale of smart thieves outsmarted by smarter still clergy. I also finally finished the fascinating online version of the classic IF Portal, which I heard about from [ profile] malerin. Portal seems long, but is well worth the effort. Presented as a series of computer records, it tells the story of one astronaut's unexpected return to an Earth devoid of humans. The detail of the future history as presented is quite astonishing, and it reminded me of the Dune novels in depth and scope in more than a few places. I really would like to know more about the original presentation, as a game ...

Last week I played with a Wii and a DS Lite somewhat extensively. Both are quite fabulously designed, well executed, and huge time sinks. I am safe from Wii for some time, as North American availability is still quite limited. To keep me away from the DS I must rely on poverty and willpower. Yep, trouble brewing there.. The only hope is that I'm terrible at Mario Bros, which was the only card available there at the time.

I've a few books and other odds and ends in limbo due to having ordered them through Amazon Marketplace and the befuddling lack of mail delivery this past week. Still I think I may have enough parts to get started re-building my little testbed network...

I have had heart-burn (ie a pain of varying searing intensity in my esophagus) off and on since Friday. It's getting old, I must say. I quite look forward to getting home and chewing a couple of the remaining supply of candy (CaCO2). Nails are chipped a bit and could use some patching. Blister on fingers (from corset laces at con) have all but faded.

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So, I have labouriously removed most of the shiny plastic from the outside of a shiny plastic box containing some glossy paper and a shiny plastic discus. One more to go.

Damn Amazon and their "Only 18 more dollars and we ship the whole order for free!" Ah well, if it wasn't so easy, it would not be evil. I bought two audio cds: Somebody's Miracle, Liz Phair's post-divorce romance album .. and something Amazon's firefly code recommended, ostensibly because i rated some Bjoerk albums: Emiliana Torrini, Love In the Time of Science.

ITunes (more easy evil there) has digested the Liz disc and wants the other. *tears plastic*, feeds cd to PowerBook.

Hours later Never posted this, eh? Haven't listened to new music yet. Went to UPS store in Georgia, went to Starbucks, came back to orifice...

cpan> install Bundle::Apache2

The new music is good so far. She does sound a bit like Bjoerk, only there haven't been any incredibly annoying bits yet (5 tracks in).

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