My September 2018 Doodle

It’s been a while since I’ve colored.  I mapped out this design a long time ago.  I finally got it done with a little problem with the symmetry, but whatever.  It is what it is.

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Movie Review: BLACKkKLANSMAN (2018)

Quote from BLACKkKLANSMAN by Ron Stallworth: “With the right white man, we can do anything.”

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The Biggest Loaded Topics

It is obvious BLACKkKLANSMAN has significance for reasons relating to racial and social issues.  Race and racism have been and will continue to be a part of American history because let’s face it, the country was born and cultivated from both.  One of the core issues of today is the radically skewed distribution of power (wealth vs poverty, home ownership vs homelessness, educational opportunities vs lack thereof), but individually it can and does take on a more intimate role as found in this movie. 

This movie illustrates the hurdles of being a Black American including the influences and relationships with others, both similar and different.  There is Ron Stallworth: the first Black man on a small-town police force.  There is also Ron Stallworth: a rookie cop navigating his way through long-standing protocol and rules within the department and in society.  There is still another Ron Stallworth: a young Black man fighting for the Black cause.  Sometimes you have no choice but to make your own opportunities and that is what he did, and ever aware of the resistance by White America.  In other words, Stallworth was an individual trailblazer, never losing his grasp on his identity.

History often repeats itself as we have clearly seen in the last few years. It continues to boggle me how extreme views are still taught and used regarding race, but I recognize the historical aspects of it.  I wish more people would watch BLACKkKLANSMAN for the fact it reminds us how enormous we all carry this burden.  Yes, each person is responsible for his or her own path, despite what others throw at you, including the good and bad consequences of this.  Yes, each person shouldn’t lose the smaller picture (focus on the self) while trying to fight for the bigger picture (social injustices).  There will not be an easy answer to questions posed in this movie, but seeing it provides a glimpse into another realm some wouldn’t normally go (KKK) and the reality of the different viewpoints between and among the races.  This wasn’t just a cinematic achievement, but one that gets to the hard center of race relations and distribution of power.

The Nuts and Bolts

BLACKkLANSMAN is an adaptation from Ron Stallworth’s book and written by Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, and Spike Lee.  It is directed by Spike Lee.  The story is about Ron Stallworth during his time with the Colorado Springs Police Department at the end of the 1970s.  After his detective promotion, he finds himself undercover, well half undercover in the KKK.  His other half is another detective, Flip Zimmerman, who is Jewish and can pull off being a “true White American.”  They work together on their assignment, getting closer to the Klan members, and even meeting David Duke.  The movie stars John David Washington (son of Denzel Washington) and Adam Driver as the undercover detectives.  It also stars Michael Buscemi (police officer), Laura Harrier (leader of Black Student Union), Corey Hawkins (Kwame Ture) , Alec Baldwin (Dr. Kennebrew Beauregard), Robert John Burke (police chief), Topher Grace (David Duke), Jasper Pääkkönen (KKK member), Ashlie Atkinson (KKK wife), and Ryan Eggold (KKK member).  It is a 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, Blumhouse Productions, and Legendary Entertainment production.  It had the release date of August 10, 2018.  The MPAA rating is R for language including racial epithets, disturbing/violent material, and some sexual references.  It has a running time of 135 minutes.

A Solid Cast with a Solid Story

BLACKkKLANSMAN starts out with a short, but great performance by Alec Baldwin as Dr. Kennebrew Beauregard.  He goes into a tirade about eugenics, White purity, and corruption by everyone else who is plotting against America.  The racist propaganda he spews is filtered throughout the movie by the different Klansmen and Klanswomen.  We then see Ron Stallworth, looking mighty stylish, as he interviews with the Colorado Springs Police Department.  He passes the short psychological test which is more how he will conduct himself in heated situations, and finds himself away from the streets and action he desires. After requesting to leave the boring filing department, he is finally given an assignment undercover.  It is here he meets a woman, Patrice, who is the passionate leader of the Black Student Union.  It is here he learns the line drawn between the police and black communities is becoming ever more visible.

Ron and Patrice form a bond, but not without questioning each other’s views.  They do agree on one thing and that is it is not right for any police officer to harass and threaten people just because of their skin color.  Ron disagrees with his co-worker, Flip, about the Black Panthers and decides to focus on the local activities of the KKK.  He sets a meeting with one of the Klan members and after a fly by the seat of the pants education, Flip meets the chapter president, Walter Breachway.  After the first meeting is done and information is digested within the police department, Flip goes back and gets deeper into the Klan activities.  The granddaddy of them all is when he meets David Duke at his initiation into the Klan. 

There is tense interaction between Stallworth and Duke while Flip is undercover.  You might be asking yourself how they meet when he is technically undercover, but it happens.  It is here that you see the makings of a Klan meeting and their message behind every symbol and word they speak.  It’s just another glorious day to celebrate White America to them.  The tone of the gathering becomes “lighter” as they eat and mingle with other members after Flip becomes a bonafide member.  Everyone has an agenda at this initiation, some more dangerous than others, but the cause must go on (from all angles) and it does.

When the assignment is officially closed, and the people involved have come to terms with the results (both sides), Ron can now right some other wrongs with the help of Patrice.  He steps away from the Klan, much to his disappointment, because he knows the KKK is still a threat to the Black community.  The movie ends with footage of the 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia riot and those in the public/political spotlight who commented on the racial incident.  Much like the movie Higher Learning with the word “unlearn” at the end of it, the last image is an upside-down American flag.

The Good Ones Shined Nice and Bright, but So Did the Bad Ones

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Before this movie came out, I was standing in front of Topher Grace with his family in Coffee Bean.  I happened to turn around and saw him.  My first thought was jeez, he’s skinny and so is his wife.  The second thought was I can’t wait to see him as David Duke.  I then ordered my ice tea and went on my way.  I know it can be difficult to portray someone who is radically different from your own views.  I can’t commend him enough for the great performance he delivered.  When Topher Grace as David Duke spoke at the initiation of Flip, I was on the edge of my seat.  The performance by John David Washington was equally great.  He had this strong vulnerability he inserted into the real-life character of Ron Stallworth.  You could tell he was a man with strong ideals and stronger resolve to be viewed as a contributing member of society.  He wasn’t afraid and asked the right questions and challenged the wrong answers.  Jasper Pääkkönen, Ashlie Atkinson, and Corey Hawkins were also integral parts of the movie.  These supporting roles as a paranoid Klan member, underused Klan wife, and Civil Rights activist propelled the movie’s ugliness into the deserved spotlight.

Not to Put Too Fine a Point on It

Spike Lee knew this movie’s purpose from the start.  He captures the essence of the complexities within the Black community.  He captures the essence of the Klan where at times I thought to myself that I can’t believe people do this and have fun doing it.  He captures the historical aspects of America and how it relates to today.  I recommend this movie because its message is tried and true, but the performances alone are of such high-caliber that it stands by itself too.  There was only two times I questioned the choices made in this movie.  The first was when Ron and Patrice see the burning cross.  It might be reference to the jarring intimidation, but it took me out of the scene for a bit.  It felt it more belonged in a Quentin Tarantino movie or a scene where your perception is altered, but again it was obviously meant to be a little jarring situation because it is.  The second was the Latino character, played by Nicholas Turturro, sitting at the table during the initiation of Flip.  Maybe, he was part White, so it didn’t matter, but just something I noticed.  It’s been known that people use other people to their benefit and maybe this was the case.  I will conclude in saying every penny I spent on my ticket was well worth it.  Go see BLACKkKLANSMAN.

Pisaries Creator’s Rating

I rate BLACKkKLANSMAN with Four Fingers and One Thumb at 99%.

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Trifecta #20

This seems to have lost some of its charm on people, but I’m going to still put this up as much as I can.  Maybe, I will do this bi-monthly or put it up weekly again.  Here is the word, picture, and video for September.

Word of the Month = Vanguard

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Picture of the Month = One of My Own

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Video of the Month = Asians Sure Do Have Crafty Skills

Pisaries Creator

 

One Quote

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September Random Information

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Pisaries Creator

Poem: Five Words

I’ve seen what tired looks like on a divorced woman.

It hangs in front of her like a carrot she never can reach again.

I knew of others who suffered this affliction.

They bathed in it much too long, and I never bothered to ask the important question.

How do you get rid of it?  Maybe, you don’t.  Maybe, you can’t.

Maybe, you should try harder.   Maybe, you shouldn’t.

When I came home that Wednesday night, there was a note.

Yes, it was the night he left me after fifteen years together.

Five words: I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE!

Did I mention, he put an exclamation point.

It was, at this point, I lost my appetite.  I became a closet Debbie Downer.

A few times I thought death was the best option, but it passed quickly.

I wasn’t that kind of woman, but when the waves in my life tank became too big,

and the bottom no longer there, it was tempting.

I managed to grab something, only for it to slip out of my hand, and drift away.

Sometimes the loss was unbearable and was forced to close my eyes.

He was the one person I thought would never leave me.

It became the longest year of my life.  It isn’t easy to breath when you’re not in control.

I no longer had his arms comforting me.

I longed for his touch.  I longed for his smell.  I longed for his words.

I also longed to slap his face for his inability to be truthful.

A few months had passed when I recognized something.

It was no longer our bedroom.  It was my bedroom.

This was my carpet digging into my legs.  This was my wall touching my back.

I could paint over the ugliness on the walls.

Nothing was ours anymore.  Nothing was his anymore.

He didn’t want the house.  His input no longer matters.

I should’ve known better.  Our separation was a bad dream.

Our divorce is going to be a good dream.

I loved him once, and he loved me too.

I have no idea where he is living or if he has another woman.

Too much time has passed, and I have since painted the walls again.

My five words: I AM BETTER WITHOUT YOU.

cwhite2018

Review of Interpol Marauder by Dillinger Kash

Interpol Marauder: A Welcome Return

Review by Dillinger Kash

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First off, no… it’s not as good as the first two albums. But it’s definitely up there. Ranking it among the band’s now six albums this would fall above “El Pintor” but below “Antics” in my opinion. (Turn On The Bright Lights being number one of course and Antics second.) While it’s not the first two albums, it is very much a welcome return after a four-year absence and a wonderful follow-up to 2014’s “El Pintor.”

As many wise people have said, if it isn’t broke don’t fix it. Interpol has lived by this as they’ve never really tried to change anything about their sound over the years. When you buy an Interpol album… you’re going to get an Interpol album. (No sudden changes to synthesizers and drum machines here.) This is a common complaint about the group, but while a lot of their contemporaries have gone on to progress their sound to the point of being unrecognizable, Interpol have stayed the course. And this is ok in my book. The new album feels familiar. Like an old blanket that you pull out every fall when the weather gets cold and you find it’s just as comforting as you remember it being last year… or the year before that… or the decade before that.

The boys seem to have found a little bit of that fire again to make things exciting. Daniel Kessler’s guitars are played with a refreshing sharpness that has not been heard in a while. Sam Fogarino’s drum playing is in top form with some intricate beats and at times drives the songs to pace that feels like it could go off the rails at any moment. Paul Banks’ voice is as confident and commanding as ever. Everything is brought together by producer Dave Fridmann (Yes that Dave Fridmann from Flaming Lips fame) who brings in a fitting production style. He retains the band’s signature sounds but adds little subtle touches that change things up a bit. For starters, bass is back. For those folks that have been missing Carlos D’s bass playing ever since he left the band (or when his bass lines started being more shoved into the background) should be somewhat appeased here. Dave Fridmann has pushed the bass out a bit more into the mix than it previously has been for a while. This is a good thing as it appears Paul did some studying on what made Carlos D’s bass lines so well liked and has tried to match that. He’s still not at the level of Carlos’ playing but he’s coming closer. There are plenty of moments where the bass jumps around or changes to an octave you didn’t expect it to go.

The album has a very strong collection of songs. Highlights from this album would include the opening track of the album “If You Really Love Nothing,” which really kicks things off with a rolling drumbeat complimented by a thundering bass and arpeggio guitars. The second song “The Rover” is a faster paced rocker that would be in line with “All The Rage Back Home” from “El Pintor.” The track features some interesting background vocals that are so drowned in reverb that they sound very otherworldly. “Complications” has a catchy yet sinister bounce. “Flight of Fancy” grooves along and features a little breakdown moment which Interpol has been doing fewer of since their third album. “Stay In Touch” features a guitar riff that reminds me of one of my favorite Interpol songs “Narc.”  “Surveillance” is a breath of fresh air from the rest of the album’s heaviness with its twinkling guitar and the bass being played high on the neck. The drums are also played quite a bit less aggressive than on the rest of the album making for a quieter groove that builds tension as it comes to the end. “Number 10” is another rocker that starts off with distant delayed guitars before exploding into the verse. There are also some interesting guitar layers here that piqued my interest as some of the guitars were using an octave pedal turned up to the higher end. This was a staple sound for one of my all time favorite bands “Failure” and it was exciting to hear Interpol incorporate this sound. Finally the album closes off with “It Probably Matters” which is by far my favorite song on the album. One of my favorite things about this band has always been their closing songs (the self titled album excluded). This particular song is definitely contending to be my favorite closing song by the band up to this point. The track is like a more upbeat version of “A Time To Be Small” from “Antics” and features a build up and release that is reminiscent of “Leif Erikson” from “Turn On The Bright Lights.”  The lyrics are very interesting as well. Normally I don’t pay much attention to Interpol’s lyrics as they just never seem that interesting to me. (I mean we are talking about a band whose lyrics for the chorus on the song “PDA” were lifted from a furniture store commercial.) However, the lyrics on this one are interesting, as they seem to tell a story of someone who suppresses their anger until it comes to the surface in ugly ways. Some of the lyrics give the impression that the person the song is about was not very good at showing they cared for their loved one and spent more time doing “the medicine” instead. The character seems to be admitting that yeah, it probably mattered that they were not there emotionally for the other person.

Overall the album is very solid. My only complaint would be the lack of epic breakdowns and jam parts that were so prominent on “Turn Out The Bright Lights.”  Also missing are the great choruses that were on albums like “Antics” and even “Our Love To Admire,” but don’t let this deter you. Make no mistake, this is a very good Interpol album with a lot to like.  If you’ve liked the band’s past efforts or have not been too thrilled with their more recent offerings, you should give this one a listen. If you’re new to Interpol, I would still recommend the first two albums. But this isn’t a bad place to start either.

 

Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay

Most of the fish and other animals could be seen with ease minus the octopus entangled on herself.  I wish the sharks were bigger and some of the pictures turned out decent while others not so much.  The videos I took of the exhibits are on my Facebook page if you want to look at them.  Otherwise enjoy the pictures with the thought there is now over 7 billion people on the Earth with limited resources as stated when I left the exhibit.

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Golden Crocodile with the lazy eye that can hold its breath for two hours.  Nearly half of the 23 species are threatened with extinction.

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Sleepy Komodo Dragon is the largest lizard that eats everything they kill.  They smell their prey with their nine-inch tongue.  They grow up to 10 feet long and weigh up to 300 pounds.  There are fewer than 5,000 left in the wild.

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African Cichlids is from Lake Tanganyika in East Africa.  98% are found nowhere else and are generally aggressive fish.

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Fly River Turtle or the Pig-nosed Turtle that lives in freshwater and has a vulnerable status.   Arowana or Dragon Fish is endangered and thought to bring health, happiness, and good fortune.

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Razorback Catfish swim upstream like salmon and sifts through the sand for their food.

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Motoro Stingray can live in little or no salinity.  This freshwater ray protects themselves with venomous barbs on its tail.

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Southern Stingray and Rays that you could touch with one finger.

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Piranha are self explanatory and do not make good pets for obvious reasons.

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Pacu are cousins to the piranha and are omnivores.  When released into a non-native habitat they will out-compete species already there.

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Different Sharks including the Nurse, Zebra, White Tip Ree, Sandbar, Galapagos, Sandtiger, Grey Reef, and Ray.

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Different Fish including the French Grunt, Parrotfish, Queen Triggerfish, French Angelfish, Sergeant Major, Porcupine Puffer.

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Jellyfish have tentacles and feeding structures by the adult stage.  They have six cycles from planula to medusa.

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Starfish, Anemones, and Giant Pacific Octopus that likes to hide and was in the corner of the tank.  The latter can reach 16 feet in length and weigh up to 100 pounds.

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When Should You Hire an Editor? 3 Professional Editors Weigh In – by P. S. Hoffman… — Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

on Writers Digest: Want to write the best possible book? You need an editor. Editors are critical for making your writing “tight” and immersive. But before you hire one, you must know the answers to these questions: When should I hire an editor? Why am I hiring them? How do I find the right editor? […]

via When Should You Hire an Editor? 3 Professional Editors Weigh In – by P. S. Hoffman… — Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

Movie Review: The Meg (2018)

Movie Review: The Meg (2018)

Quote from The Meg by Jonas Taylor: “You’re going to tell me your story and I’m going to say no.  You’re going to offer me money and I’m going to say no.  You’re going to try to appeal to my better nature and I’m still going to say no because I don’t have one.”

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Here Comes the Big Tooth

Before I begin with my review, I have to say I was flipping through channels today and watched a little bit of 5-Headed Shark Attack on SyFy.  I lasted about two minutes into it before switching to another channel.  I couldn’t tell you for certain which head bit into the prey (I think the middle one) because the scene ended prematurely and left a trail of blood that almost disappeared from the screen.  On the other hand, The Meg because who wants to pronounce megalodon will not disappoint.  Yes, this story has been done before, but unlike the countless others before it, this one involves a creature from the past.  I went into it thinking, at least, I’ll be able to see a CGI gigantic shark and ponder what it would’ve been like to have been around when they existed during the slow parts.  I never did the latter and it kept me more on edge than I thought.  While never one to scream in movies, a few times I was caught off guard.  In addition to the relationships of the divers and the Big Tooth, the relationships among the land and water crew were done to satisfaction.  Most of the comedic scenes had good timing and a few where I think I was the only one laughing.

The Tiny Humans Who Made It Happen

The Meg is an adaptation from Steve Alten’s book and written by Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, and Erich Hoebar.  It is directed by Jon Turtletaub.  The story mainly focuses on the characters of Jonas Taylor and Suyin Zhang played by Jason Statham and Bingbing Li.  One is an ex-Naval Captain while the other is an oceanographer.  It also stars Rainn Wilson, Cliff Curtis, Winston Chao, Ruby Rose, Page Kennedy, Robert Taylor, Jessica McNamee, Masi Oka, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, and Shuya Sophia Cai.  This is a Warner Bros. Pictures production and had the release date of August 10, 2018.  The MPAA rating is PG-13 for action/peril, bloody images, and some language.  It runs 113 minutes.  Put plain and simple, The Meg is a man vs. beast kind movie that starts in the deepest parts of the ocean and ends in the shallowest.

The Characters and Plot Summary

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The Meg opens with Jonas Taylor who is a great swimmer and diver with greater reflexes.  He can keep calm during stressful times and make the right decisions when others think he has failed.  Because of this, he decides to leave the Mariana Trench to drink and tool around his moped in Thailand.  It will take a lot to get him back into the water, but with some coaxing by some of the team stationed on the underwater research facility, Mana One, Jonas finally comes back home.  He does his best to get along with everyone, even his nemesis of Dr. Heller.  He receives the necessary information from the scientists and crew.  He then submerges into the Mariana Trench to do what he is asked.  He doesn’t need to prepare.  He knows his stuff.  It is deep in the water he gets even more evidence that something “big” lurks below, but it’s up to Dr. Minway Zhang and his financier, Jack Morris, to make the next move.  It’s decided that to save humankind or at least keep the casualties low, the scientists and crew must find the shark and kill it.  Remember that every fight has unintended consequences and the massive rows of teeth on this beast along with its quickness under water proves difficult to slow down.  It is here you see the great advancements of CGI and the athletic prowess of Jason Statham in his action scenes.  It’s not enough and the meg wants more of a challenge.  It swims toward a crowded beach where you see all kinds of Chinese beach bums including a child who likes to eat popsicles when he should be swimming instead.  The remaining team devises a plan to stop the water beast once and for all or if you prefer, water creature.

Thanks for not Putting Fur on the Shark

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I was intrigued with the CGI in this movie.  I’m not well versed in this area of movie making, but I’ve seen enough extras to know it takes a lot of behind the scene work to make something that doesn’t exist anymore as realistic as possible.  I knew the shark wasn’t real for the obvious fact megalodons don’t exist anymore, but when I saw the close ups of the shark, to me it was real.  Yes, that’s an enormous fish with teeth that are fourteen inches long and bodies that are between 31 to 38 feet long although this one is 70 feet long.  I will also say the shooting and editing of this movie was done well in the eyes of a lay person.  There wasn’t any abruptness or discontinuity that took you out of any of the scenes.  A movie of this caliber wouldn’t have this issue, but I wanted to say it anyway.  Sound plays a vital role in this movie and the reclining seat I was in shook unexpectedly during the loud parts.  Get ready for the rendition of “Hey Mickey” by Pim.

Final Evaluation

I preferred the first half of the movie more than the second half.  It might have had to do with the fact I thought it progressed better with a good mixture of subtle humor and obvious seriousness.  The second half seemed to push the humor a little too much in places.  I’m thinking of one character that could’ve had a change up in dialogue.  He said the same thing over and over and after a while it wasn’t so funny.  There were some other minor mishaps, but don’t want to go in depth or I’ll give away some plot plots.  Let’s just say when I put two and two together in my head, I came up short by one number.  Despite having said this, while I wouldn’t have minded keeping its original R rating, I enjoyed this lighter hearted version too.  It’s not every day you get to see a prehistoric creature on the big screen, even if it’s done through CGI.  I would recommend this movie with the thought this story has been done before, but good overall entertainment.

Pisaries Creator’s Rating

I rate the overall experience of this movie 88%.

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cwhite2018

 

 

The Easy Puzzle

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Pisaries Creator

The Moving Puzzle

I call this my moving puzzle and also the most challenging because I have worked on this at least four times due to spilling it all over the floor and the fifth because I had to move.  I never lost any of the pieces even though I’m missing five in the picture.  I finally finished it to find the missing pieces one by one as I was still unpacking and rearranging things in the new apartment.  I’m posting this anyway because I think the puzzle and myself deserves it.

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Pisaries Creator

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