Thursday, May 28, 2009

Middlesex

Miss Missives has a general love for the odd, disenfranchised, different, marginalized, and fringe elements of society. Selfishly, I gravitate toward these people because they have some of the most fascinating stories to tell, stories you will never hear from the soccer mom or the angsty teen. They often tell tales that rather than be relatable, grab you for the very fact that they show a part of life you could never see on your own. Sometimes it's just another door to peak in through and sometimes it's a bridge to seeing someone's humanity.

So when I read that my reviewee was a
BDSM loving, dyslexic transsexual
I poured myself a big glass of cheap red and hunkered down expecting quite the read. Michelle, do you want the good news or the bad news first? The bad news is I didn't get the read I expected. The good news is, you are indeed just like everyone else.

It is probably a tad unfair that I judge a blog by what I want it to be, by what I know it could be, by what I know would draw people in and make them come back for more. Michelle's blog is her own and not a Choose Your Own Adventure where I get to pick the direction she goes next. Still, there's so much I want to know, and yes, much of it is her life as a transsexual but not for the prurient reasons you might think. Now after a little digging, I did come across some of her BDSM photos and got my first look at the cha-cha of a post-surgical transsexual--so, okay, a little prurient(it looks just like any other happy cha). Michelle does put herself out there but there is also so much she holds back.

In one post she says
the short time I spent on some psychiatric wards was among the more humorous and enlightening times of my life.
Michelle, where my dear are these stories? How did you figure out you came delivered in the wrong packaging? How did you come to terms with it? How did you tell your family? How did you evolve to the woman you are today? What did you think of Transamerica? Are these too painful, too personal perhaps, but these are the things I'd ask you over lunch and wine.

It is possible that Michelle has written more about this than I give her credit for because I couldn't read the entirety of her, as of last count, eight different blogs. Yes I'm not even joking. Miss Missives can hardly handle her own blog, reviewing duties here and a little Facebook and Michelle manages to juggle eight different sites to which she posts regularly. Who's the better woman now? Michelle is analytical and clearly likes to compartmentalize things, hence eight different blogs. There is the main site submitted for review, there is her home page, there is Linux Crusade, there is Technilife, there is the Story of L, there is her photoblog, and ShootGreen-her other photography site, and finally there is her bondage site. Oh, and she twitters too.

Michelle works in the Computer Engineering field and it reflects in her writing, technically adept, detailed, methodical but sometimes lacking the emotion and fire that I think such life experience would provide. I completely ignored the computer, photo and technical posts because I had my hands full with the more personal works. There are loads of technical posts but even her personal posts feel distanced. Maybe one has to put some space between themselves and their feelings when they have faced a hostile world for so long but I just know she has more to say.

Michelle, I'll tell you the same thing I told MongolianGirl, at least once a month, pick something you are afraid to write about and write about it anyway. I think you have stories to tell that you're not telling. These are your own words and they are right on.
What do I need? I need to shout. I need to scream. I need to take risks and feel the angry wind in my hair. I need to push my limits; to slam down the accelerator and drive like a maniac; to bear arms against the enemy and pit my wits in a battle of survival; to pilot an attack helicopter ... I need to destroy things; but in the name of good ...
You, like most everyone else need to edit, edit, edit. For example, this is very good but a little editing would give it oomph, momentum. There was a great deal of good information but even the most personal pieces often felt distant, plodding and technical. There were some things that stood out, like this and this and even this. And Michelle, you minx, you switched templates mid-review but I like the changes and your clean, uncluttered designs(yes, all 8 of them) get big gold stars.

Michelle, your blog is yours to do with what you will, and the very fact that this blog is a bit boring shows that you are a person like anyone else, and not just a personality, caricature or headline. If you want a good example of how to connect with a reader, share stories--even painful, unflattering ones, how to write about difficult and highly personal subjects, check out yesterday's reviewee. Look at this compared to something like this. One of the most amazing things about blogging is how it can connect people who might never cross paths in life outside the Internet. You have an amazing opportunity to connect with the world and show people who you are.

For having the courage to be your authentic self, you get this











For designing and managing to juggle so many blogs you get this:





For making said blogs feel like a four inch thick Linux Manual and making me trudge through so many, you get this:


83 comments:

  1. "At least once a month, pick something you are afraid to write about and write about it anyway". That's excellent advice, really really good- I plan on using it myself.

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  2. It IS excellent advice. There's nothing like stepping into the middle of the fire and writing about it. Well, actually, I kind of like it when some asshole decides to over-think my writing and then analyze me in my comments section. It's like the cherry on top because I then get to threaten people with pumpkin muffins and violence.
    If you do take this challenge, Michelle, please do it on one blog. I am so seriously not going to keep up with eight. Eight? Really?
    Nice review Miss M. Pumpkin muffin? Crow bar? : )

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  3. I do that too sometimes - I think about things in my personal history that I don't want to talk about and then I blog about them. I'm usually most proud of those posts because of what it took to write them, namely figurative balls. Eight blogs? Really? I don't know even know where I would begin with that. Yikes. The subject matter sounds fascinating: Transexual, BDSM.

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  4. I tried to read her blog (the main one), and even though I'm an engineer (electrical, not computer), I found it too methodical and cold. I felt no connection to this person at all.

    But ye gods... eight blogs? Wow.

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  5. Great review. Funny, I very nearly used a Choose Your Own Adventure reference in yesterday's review.

    Great minds, Miss.

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  6. I got nothing. Nothing. Her blog is like a cold, dull scalpel.

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  7. But I did feel like I traveled back to 1998 when I looked at her template.

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  8. For those of us who are longterm fans of blogs, the reason we like those people whose experiences are so different from our own is that we get to experience their lives through their eyes.

    And when they don't really share that inner view, there's very little point.

    I'm there to learn what it feels like to be you. If you don't tell me, I can't work up much of an attention span.

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  9. This was the most difficult review I've had to do. It took me two weeks, just based on the sheer volume of material.

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  10. I'm glad I'm not the only one who felt like her stuff came across cold. I kept reading and reading thinking, is it because I want it to be salacious perhaps or is it because this person is holding me at arm's length? Still, like I eluded to in the review, maybe some people get so used to feeling like they cannot connect (based on the fact that the outside doesn't match the inside and people relate to you based on the outside)that they lose that ability to let their guard down and relate. I really wanted to love this.

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  11. BDSM loving dyslexic transexual? No wonder she likes linux.

    Zing.

    God, I hate linux.

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  13. General observation/question:

    This review has been up for quite a while, yet (as of this comment) has only 13 comments. Other blogs where the general sense is "writing much without saying much" and everyone agrees, some pot shots are taken at the author.

    This hasn't happened in this case, and I wonder if people are pulling their punches because she is a transsexual, and people either are uncomfortable with the fact or are afraid to "bash"?

    Not accusing. Just observing.

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  14. Actually this review consistutes some of the best blogging advice I´ve heard. It has definitely worked for Mongoliangirl, and really, it´s good advice for any blogger. I don´t think there are many people that if they dug really deep inside and were honest with what they throw out there, I wouldn´t be interested in reading about it. Well, except maybe that military posse that raised shit around here a couple months back, and of course the people that submit who can not string together a coherent sentence.

    I have no idea how anyone can keep up with 8 blogs (I mean updating them frequently) and still eat and bathe, let alone work. I´m struggling just with one. I still eat, but bathe, well...I guess I could improve in that area.

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  15. Eh, SciFi, sometimes it's just too easy. I may beat up on retards and Indians and Mia, but I really got nothing bad to say to someone who willfully had their cock removed.

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  16. @ ScifiDad

    Do potshots at linux count? Because I hate that bitch.

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  17. @Thantos - that's like taking shots at portable toilets; nobody likes them.

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  18. Seriously, I can't imagine paying someone to remove my cock. I'm baffled a bit. Sorta. I'm just happy I'm not a hospital custodian.

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  19. I think that's an interesting and valid observation, Sci Fi Dad. I can only speak for myself when I say, "Yes, I'd be less likely to mock a transexual" because it feels cruel. Like, hasn't this person had enough to deal with? What's great about the review is that the advice is perfect and the reviewer is quite honest.

    On another note, I do get confused sometimes by the opinions of what makes a good blog. I know people's opinions are subjective, but I'm confused as to whether "soul baring" is really a good thing on a blog. My expression of raw emotion was deemed not a good thing. Maybe some "cold" detachment can benefit the writing.

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  20. Interesting point made by SciFi.

    I think the point is, there are those people whose lives may not be that terribly interesting but are excellent writers and are gifted at portraying their day to day life in a way that can be meaningful for others to read.

    Then there are those whose life experience is so interesting but it´s a damn shame that they are incapable of transmitting their experience or telling their story in any meaningful way (maybe because they can´t write or maybe because they don´t dig enough). Then there are those, like yesterday´s reviewee that have both the interesting life experience and the ability to write their asses off.

    I think people get reamed around here when they are either horrible writers or just generally people that are not very likeable, or they get a Meh review and don´t take it well. Otherwise, I really don´t think we give them THAT hard of a time, do we? Oh, shit, are we really such assholes?

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  21. Gwen, I don´t think your soul-bearing was deemed as not good, I think you just weren´t Nutjobbers cuppa tea and he happened to review you. I love your soul-bearing.

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  22. @Gwen - I agree with what Blues said.

    Your style works for you.

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  23. Blues: What's with this 'we' shit? Gotta mouse in your pocket? I'm not an asshole, I am a distinguished gentleman.

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  25. Gwen, your soul baring is the right kind.

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  26. I wasn't easier on her but I'm sure I was kinder in my criticisms. Like Blue said, I really think she's probably been exposed to enough hostility. Plus she's probably not getting torn apart in the comments because she doesn't present herself as god's gift to blogging.

    I opted not to link the nekkid pictures because I was a little afraid of the commentary that might follow. Strangely Key, I never worried about you on this one--I knew you wouldn't touch it, figuratively. Oh and they don't cut it off, they turn it inside out and refashion it:)Ta Da!

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  27. Ah. Interesting things happened :)

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  28. Why yes, it's like Missouri in here today, isn't it?

    MM: I'd touch it out of curiosity. And I think I'd rather they just cut it off. Wow.

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  29. Ghost - I proudly consider myself a member of the peanut gallery, hence the we.

    I think people that submit here can get a lot out of the commenters input.

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  30. Thank you so much for an honest and ... I believe ... 100% accurate review.

    Apologies for the 2 week review time, but I hope you enjoyed the wine.

    Most of the interesting stuff is actually not included to protect the guilty as much as the innocent ... but I've taken it on board and will try and get close in and personal in some future posts.

    I have to remember that my family is very likely reading to discover just how much laundry I'm hanging out to dry and, living with my Mother, I have to be careful that I don't disenfranchise her from the rest of the family. Living with Mum has put a number of breaks on, but ... certainly ... I'll try and find a way.

    The biggest problem I have faced is posts that just get buried; the meaningful writings can get smothered by the mundane everyday; that's why Shutter Fug and Shoot Green have been taken in to the main msknight site ... if I'm writing my heart, I don't want it to be wasted ... indeed, doing the transfer probably took about a month, which is why many of the posts have received less attention lately...

    ... but again, I thank you for your time; it hasn't been in vain.

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  31. You know, Michelle, maybe you should develop a persona, I hear that's a good way to dodge the radar.

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  32. Michelle, you can always go anonymous. If you can handle 8 blogs you can handle 9 right?

    There are some people who will say, you would be surprised at how much of the real internal you your family and real life friends can take - give them a shot.

    I´m too scared for that shit though and had to go anonymous on mine.

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  33. Ooooh, what Blues said.

    Michelle, I can vouch for Blues, you would be amazed what your friends and family can tolerate. Trust me, my whole family has read my blog.

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  34. Ghost, have I ever told you how much I admire you for having the balls to share your blog with your family?

    That would never fucking work with my family. See I still have the evangelicals to deal with and my language doesn´t go over well or my...um...quasi-atheism. And for some reason I can not muster up the guts to tell them to fuck off if they don´t like it.

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  35. Why thank you, Blues. Funny you mention balls, what with my impending vasectomy and all.

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  36. I kind of liked the detachment, honestly. It's probably just me, but sometimes I get turned off when people who have lived unusual lives make a big deal of themselves, as if no one else has ever scaled their heights of drama. At least I feel like I can trust Michelle's perspective. But I'm also curious about the stories she hasn't told.

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  37. Well, there will be a book when I'm at the end of my life ... that'll be providing that paper is still around :-)

    Going through some of those older posts has me in tears even now. life-of and story-of will start to get more personal and more emotional ... recounting more and revealing more ... but techni-life, shutter-fug and linux-crusade will stay technical and to the point.

    As to the main sites, msknight.com kimonokrazy.com and realbondage.co.uk - well ... they are more of a history than a running blog.

    Shoot-green is dead ... i've finished the transfer.

    i want to see how my film script goes through the crunch of the reading service before I judge how far I dare go on the BDSM angle ... in many cases, the pain is still fresh. Also need to hear from my writing partner when he gets back from Cannes ... see what kind of interest he got; it is low budget after all. You never know, I might just also end up blogging about how to make a movie!

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  38. Michelle- You reminded me of what I forgot to suggest--create a best of tab and highlight those personal, gut wrenching posts because it would certainly help a new reader cut through some of the everyday stuff to get to the heart of you.

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  39. I hate boring blogs. They make me feel completely uninspired.

    But, I get work done, so...holla.

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  40. Good suggestion. I did actually have one on the life-of blog before I changed the template.

    I decided to remove it ... probably because of the fact that nothing was really turning out to be the, "best of," any more.

    The problem is that I end up covering so many things in my life, that I'd have too many sections for things to be the best of. I looked in to that, and also tagging, but in terms of a story line, that turns a blog upside-down.

    A blog always presents the last first, and I haven't worked out a way around that yet ... that's why I brought shoot-green to a conclusion, and took the best parts of shutter-fug on to the main site.

    Two years of blog is a lot for someone to go through ... so I have yet to work out a good way of presenting, "subject paths," in a way for a reader to follow a thread ... if you know what I mean.

    If you've got any hints on that, I'd be very grateful because I've been bashing my head on that one for a while.

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  41. Seriously, comment filibuster. Gah.

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  42. ... the only way around this in my mind, is to start another blog about the transsexual side of live, and leave life-of to turn in to general life comment.

    I was hoping that Twitter could take the brunt of the small daily stuff that catches my eye and I feel about, but 140 characters isn't enough ... Twitter isn't working out on that score.

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  43. At this point, I'm just hoping my eyeballs will fall from their sockets soon.

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  44. but 140 characters isn't enough Hahahaha.

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  45. Try this...

    "Best of," had. No work. You know how to work? Tell me please.

    Any better?

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  46. Yes, much better. Um, Twitter works fine unless you are tragically verbose. Most people can get a thought across in less than 140.

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  47. Fuck, go ahead and cue my villain music.

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  48. Well, as you've worked out, I'm not tragically verbose, I'm crushingly, harrowingly, pittifully verbose :-D

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  49. Yes, and the irony of that last comment is too much for me.

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  50. You're telling me that this is the sounds of eyeballs rolling across the floor that I'm hearing?

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  51. Seriously, I think I may have found the blogging equivalent of tryptophan.

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  52. Ah! An amino acid that is essential to life. What a compliment :-) Thank you!

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  53. Look, I got the message. I asked, I received. I'm listening. What more do you want?

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  54. Yeah, but typically tryptophan is delivered in the form of a roasted bird, not a madlib of monotony.

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  55. Well, roasted bird is one way; personally I prefer via chocolate. Or are you telling me that right now, you'd like to stick a spit up my arse, out of my mouth and roast me on an open fire?

    Join the queue.

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  56. No, I save that sort of treatment for my fiancee.

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  57. You nailed this review, Miss M.

    And I'm with you: I can barely keep up with my personal blog, this place, Twitter, and the 10 minutes of work I squeeze in every day.

    Edit, consolidate, and captivate: that's what Michelle needs to do.

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  58. Oh Gok, cue the villian music? As my Grandma Missives would say, "You sir are a hoot."

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  59. Thanks Cal, when I decided to be nice, I looked to you for inspiration, cause you know, you're nice and shit.

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  60. I have a lot(relatively speaking) of transsexual clients and you know, every last one of them is nice. They are all male to female, I guess the female to male ones don't require too much grooming.

    Today I'm bored, no one wants their vag waxed--stupid recession.

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  61. Is it bad that I only wanted to look at the pictures?

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  62. Thankfuckingallah, Sarah, I was worried that I was the only one.

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  63. No sir, you definitely aren't alone.

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  64. I'm sure we all looked. My point is, its all I wanted to do.

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  65. Different strokes for different folks. Not my cuppa I have to say but I lean more towards pigtails and knee highs.

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  66. Plus I live in Southern California, with real estate prices here, I just don't think I oculd afford a dungeon.

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  67. I'm left reading this wondering who is talking about the cha-cha, and who about the bondage!

    Part 1 of the nut house comes on the 7th.

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  68. I looked at the pics...first thing I did.

    FF-I dont care how bad the recession is, I am getting my vag waxed! To bad I am all the way on the east coast.

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  69. Oh, MG...I made the pumpkin muffins, and my 8 year old said they were heaven. And thats saying somethin.

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  70. Because I truly have a problem, I went right for the pictures.

    And now my crotch hurts.

    Oh, and I then promptly fell asleep trying to read anything else. I slept right through the other 7 blogs.

    What did I miss?

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  71. You missed the ninth - http://www.kimonokrazy.com/ - but I wouldn't worry - it's as boring as the others ;-)

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  72. Just for clarity, Michelle, I don't think anyone here was too curious about the bondage material. Trust, you're not shocking me with any of that. Now, an inverted cock? Ok, I had to go check it.

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  73. No problem, Ghost ... I'm not in any position to dictate anything to anybody ... I put it up there, it's up to others what they're curious about.

    It's actually supremely good to get feedback on what people want to know about. No one gives much in the way of feedback any more. If I went purely by the stats, it would be the L2J support engine I wrote ... but hey!

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  74. Ok, wait a second. An inverted cock? Where the shit was THAT one? And how did I miss it?!

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  75. How did you miss that, Sarah? That's the only one I was looking for. Granted, it took a little looking around.

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  76. Apparently I didnt search as hard as you did Ghost.

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  77. What are the rules about requesting a review some time down the road? ... or is that exactly where I should be heading with this question? It'll take me a while to label all the posts!

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  78. Miss Missives- I took your advice today and thought of you. Thanks for the wise words, though they weren't actually directed at me.

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Grow a pair.