March 31, 2008

I'm pathetic and old

Pretty good TV show quiz here. Here's the pathetic part: I got 27 of 31 right, including one show which never actually aired. And now for the old part: I was correct on all the shows which started airing before 1970.

Bow down to my extreme suckitude. I wonder every day how I managed to land my wife. My lifelong goal is to prevent her from wondering.

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I bet she just couldn't say no

And by she, I mean a metal table in his backyard.

Just think of the money spent on tetanus shots.

Link via News of the Weird Daily.

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March 22, 2008


McQ excerpts from another article which... you know, I'm going to let you read it yourself. The true believers will piss and moan and say that nothing's changed, while those still capable of rational thought on the issue will say it's simply more data to digest.

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March 20, 2008

When you can't kick Microsoft completely to the curb

It's time for VirtualBox.

Look, I've long extolled the virtues of Linux and I've linked to the almost infinite variety of Linux equivalent pieces of software. However, there are some things that simply cannot be easily replaced, such as Quicken, which I've been using for more than a decade. And since Quicken 2008 is completely enabled using even Crossover Office, I'd be forced to boot into Windows at least once a day. Or rather, I would be if it weren't for VirtualBox. Lifehacker has the scoop:

You love working inside your Linux desktop, but at the most inconvenient times you've got to reboot into Windows—whether to open a tricky Office file, try out a Windows application, or even just play a quick game. However, with some free tools and a Windows installation disk, you can have Windows apps running right on your Linux desktop and sharing the same desktop files. It's relatively painless, it takes only a little bit longer than a Windows XP install, and it works just like virtualizing Windows on a Mac with Parallels Coherence—except it's free.
If you're curious what the end result might look like, here's a screenshot from my quick installation. I would've loved to have gotten iTunes running, but I didn't have time to wait for all the post-XP-installation patches/upgrades to install to show you.


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March 19, 2008

Another giant gone

I'm a day late here, but Arthur C. Clarke has passed away. I was always a fan, even through his latest co-authored offerings. Childhood's End, Rendevous With Rama and The Fountains of Paradise will always remain among my favorites. In fact, I've even read both versions of his first novel, which John Derbyshire sees fit to mention here. More from Derbyshire:

I think I read everything Clarke wrote from then up to Fountains of Paradise (1979). Science fiction, like opera, is a thing not everybody "gets." To those who "get" it, though, Clarke was a great grand-master. He wrote "hard" sci-fi: no magic, fantasy, or weirdness, nothing that contradicted what is known. He scoffed at UFOs and other popular delusions of the time. He had a true scientist's respect for the evidence, yoked to a wonderful gift for speculating within the evidence. His feet were always planted firmly in known fact, while his mind soared through infinite space and time. (One of his novels takes place a billion years in the future.)

Clarke's unwavering respect for evidence showed up in his famous 1984 falling-out with Robert Heinlein over the Strategic Defense Initiative. Heinlein was for SDI, Clarke was against, and there was an ugly spat, with both men standing their ground. Later Clarke went over the evidence carefully, saw flaws in his math, changed his mind, and did his best to make up with Heinlein. (Making up with Heinlein unfortunately required extraterrestrial powers.)

Derbyshire also links to this classic short story of Clarke's, which will take you only a few well spent minutes to read. Have at it.

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Nobody does it better

Allah unloads on the Obamessiah and the MSM as only he can:

Hey, guys? If the last 20 years count for anything, the best estimates of his “fundamental beliefs” are that the United States is a racist hegemon begging to have jets flown into office towers to teach it a thing or two about imperialism. He’s a gutless, opportunistic coward who was afraid to say an unkind word to one of the power brokers in the black community on whom he counted for votes as an Illinois politician, and now that he’s a national figure he’s throwing the same guy under the bus to preserve the illusion that he’s a “post-racial” politician. And you’re sitting there cheering him on because you don’t care what sort of idiocy or anti-American vitriol you have to swallow to put a Democrat back into the White House. Does that about sum it up? Have I missed any “nuance” in the “U.S. government created the AIDS virus” rant that Obama never, ever heard anything about and that you’re now willing to wave away?

Obviously, the question was rhetorical, but the answer is definitely yes. I saw Lanny Davis on H&C the other day. When questioned about the intra-party fighting, Lanny stated something like the following:

We're all united as Democrats by a common set of beliefs. Regardless of who the nominee is, we'll all get behind him or her this fall.

Does anyone honestly believe that Democrats will not vote for HillObama, irrespective of who their favorite candidate is? While many conservatives cannot bring themselves to vote for Maverick™ due to our belief that a McCain presidency would do irreparable harm to GOP and the right in general, most Democrats are not-these days- motivated by any ideals. It's all about the pursuit of power for power's sake, which is why I still haven't written Hillary off. The Clintons exemplify the do anything, naked lust for power wing of the Democrats. And if Hillary, as I expect, pounds Obama into a frigging pulp in PA, she's likely to have overtaken him in actual votes cast, which will strengthen her position with regards to the superdelegates.

As much as I enjoy the political infighting amongst team donkey, if doesn't really matter. The winner will grind McCain into a pulp come November.

Update: I go to Ace for the D&D references and hooker pictures. After all, who doesn't? Yet he keeps going off form to post "interesting" and "intelligent" pieces like this one.

Obama, and his liberal media spirit squad, speak of having an "open, honest" dialog on race and racial resentments, hatreds, and paranoias. But Obama has had twenty years to have an open dialog -- but a private one, which is far easier -- with his "friend" Rev. Wright.

Did he have this dialog? He says he disagrees strongly with some of Wright's "controversial political positions." Did he, you know, actually raise these points with Wright?

If he did, his putative skills at "reconciliation" and "healing" seem woefully deficient. This bastard has gone on spreading his noxious racism and hatred of America until his retirement... and then beyond a bit. Obama's going to heal the racial "wounds" of 300 million but he can't get through to his very good "friend"? He can't even get him to tone down his hateful rhetoric, even if he continues to give hatred a safe harbor in his heart?
My idea of a truly groundbreaking speech would involve a Cosbyesque riff on some of the real causes of white resentment, starting first and foremost with rampant black criminality and anti-social behavior, and blacks' acceptance of this as not only acceptable but justified -- perhaps even obligatory -- given past and current racial discrimination.

He did not touch on this. He's still pandering to Wright's flock. And it's not just pandering of course; he is required to excuse the black racist, not just out of ideological fervor, but out of personal circumstantial necessity. After all, he was caught in bed with a black racist and anti-American radical, not a white racist. So of course he demands that we "understand" and "forgive" the black racist. He needs us to. His personal fortunes depend on that.

But imagine if he were white and had been caught in a 20 year cynical political alliance with a white racist -- would his calls for "forgiveness" and "understanding," and his maudlin Checkers-style "I cannot renounce him, he's my favorite dog" self-justification carry any weight whatsoever with liberals, the media, or good-hearted conservatives?

Well, it's funny in an unconventional way. And I suppose his use of the word "spirit" could be considered part of the fantasy wargaming genre. But no pictures of hookers. Sigh. Guess I'll have to check in later.

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March 18, 2008

New to the blogroll

Okay, old-sort of-to the blogroll. Kim du Toit reopened, but under a new name this time: Geopoliticus.

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Important news

So. Like me, you'll likely be at work when the opening round games tip off this Thursday and Friday. And suppose, like me, you don't want to get busted smuggling in a TV. What do you do? Check out the game online. Excerpt:

Got your brackets all set? Good. Now it's time to prep for Thursday's flood of first-round games—and yes, you can watch 'em all from your desktop. Your boss is gonna love this.

Lifehacker has the scoop on two ways to catch all the action from your cubicle, and luckily, it looks like CBS and the NCAA are making it easy on us this year. Turns out that every game of this year's tournament—including the Final Four and the championship—will be streamed online, for free. There are some caveats, however.

Not that I'm advocating using company resources to watch basketball games. That would be wrong.

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Games for Linux

Technically, the advice here is for installing into an Ubuntu system. However, by making the appropriate libraries available, there's nothing to really prevent you from installing these games into a KDE-based Linux. Excerpt:


Lincity is a city simulation game. You are required to build and maintain a city. You must feed, house, provide jobs and goods for your residents. You can build a sustainable economy with the help of renewable energy and recycling, or you can go for broke and build rockets to escape from a pollution ridden and resource starved planet, it's up to you.
9. LBreakout2

The polished successor to LBreakout offers you a new challenge in more than 50 levels with loads of new bonuses (goldshower, joker, explosive balls, bonus magnet ...), maluses (chaos, darkness, weak balls, malus magnet ...) and special bricks (growing bricks, explosive bricks, regenerative bricks, indestructible bricks, chaotic bricks). And if you're through with all the levels you can create complete new levelsets with the integrated easy-to-use level editor or challenge other humans via LAN or internet iin either deathmatch or normal levelsets. Fun!
10. Burgerspace

This is a clone of the classic game "BurgerTime". In it, you play the
part of a chef who must create burgers by stepping repeatedly on the
ingredients until they fall into place. And to make things more
complicated, you also must avoid evil animate food items while performing
this task, with nothing but your trusty pepper shaker to protect you.
14. Secret Maryo Chronicles

Secret Maryo Chronicles is an Open Source two-dimensional platform game with a style designed similar to classic sidescroller games. Secret Maryo Chronicles is a clone of the Classic "Mario bros" game . It features number of levels and stages , attractive sound and graphics and in game editor . Though not exactly small (the entire installation of Secret Maryo Chronicles was 58 megabytes download on my system ), still game is fun filled 2d side scroller with impressive graphics and sound hence i have included it in this list .
23 Playing classic DOS games with DOSBOX

DOSBOX allows you to run your old dos programs under Linux , DOSBOX provides a full featured dos environment inside your ubuntu box . DOSBOX allows running of DOS programs in Linux and Windows.
Some of the popular DOS games can be obtained at the following internet address : -

Bio Menace (This game and all it's three series were released as Freeware and can be downloaded from ) ,Commander Keen , Wolfeinstein 3D , Duke Nukem , Hocus Pocus , Crystal Caves and other can be downloaded at the following address some of the games are shareware and some freeware but trust me even shareware games would give you hours if not days of entertainment : -

Alley Cat ( This game released in 1984 is one of my all time favorite i have spent a lot of time playing this on my 386 computer ) this can be downloaded from the following : -

Dangerous Dave ( Well this game released in 1988 is a very simple game which is quite popular here in India even today in school labs you could find people playing this game !!!!!) :-

Mario Brother VGA ( Well this is also a nice game it even has a boss mode to fool your boss that you are working and to top it all it is only few kilobytes in size !!) :-

Get more old dos games here at :

No reference to Colossal Cave (aka Adventure), but I'll go ahead and point you in that general direction by saying XYZZY and PLUGH.

Hint: When you say "KILL GREEN DRAGON" and the computer replies, "WITH WHAT? YOU BARE HANDS?", say "YES". Don't try this on the bear, though. Remember: it's your bare hands against his bear hands.

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Coming soon to an Anderson Cooper expose near you

Yeah. In Bizarro World. Anyway, the Bard of the Internet types another thought-provoking piece. Excerpt:

From my direct observation, these Christian Fundamentalist churches have all -- every single one -- had congregations composed of all the races. From my auditing of the sermons I have never, not once, heard a message of race hate preached. Neither have I heard race hate promoted in the social meetings after. Not one single time, not even in the whitest of congregations. I have never, not for one instant, felt anything coming from these meetings that is anything other than embracing tolerance and Christian love for mankind. I have never, not for one instant, detected a whiff of bigotry or of anti-Semitism in these gatherings. Being a reformed radical from Berkeley in the 1960s I have keen radar for this sort of thing. Like many of my unreformed cohort I can detect it even when it doesn't exist.
What has also become clear to me -- what has been a revelation to me -- in the last week is that you do find racism embedded in some Christian Fundamentalist churches; churches whose congregation is almost strictly African-American. Indeed, scanning the tapes of the Reverend Wright Church that Barack Obama has attended it was difficult for me to find one white member of the congregation. I have, it is true, seen a tape where a white female pastor of another church was brought in to gush over the church, but that seemed to me to be a special occasion; something performed for the cameras.

While I can imagine many parishioners of many of the fundamentalist churches I've attended over the last few years sitting through a lot of sermons on this or that, I cannot imagine a white person sitting through the kind of sermons I've heard coming out of Reverend Wright's mouth -- unless they were overwhelmed with guilt and had a twisted sort of Christ-complex.

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March 17, 2008


So training is finished, as am I. It was a grueling 2 months of no life and no time with the wife and children. On the plus side, the lack of sleep and intense stress- my job kind of depended on my passing all of the training- combined to wreck my immune system, so I guess everybody wins. In any event, posts unrelated to pretty much anything will resume in the very near future. My thanks to anyone who stopped by to check on me. If you sent me an email, well, I've got about 1,500 to wade through, so don't be offended if I haven't replied. I likely just haven't read it yet.

Oh yeah, one more thing: UNC still sucks, but they are the ACC champs. My only consolation is that the East bracket looks murderous, so the odds are stacked against them reaching San Antonio. If they make it this year, they will have earned it.

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March 07, 2008

I is bloggging challenged

Recently, I opened up lots of tabs in Firefox of things I wanted to read and, potentially, comment on. A couple of those things were posts by Rachel Lucas. One of them really ticked me off and I typed a mini-rant about it. When I went to check later, I didn't see the comment. I figured that somehow I had pissed off Rachel enough to delete the comment. No problem, because it's her sandbox. I thought no more of it.

Then today, I decided to read the comments in a different post and-

You can already see where this is going, can't you?

-lo and behold, there was my comment in all of its profane glory, completely unrelated to the post under which it appears. It makes me look like I suffer from some severe sort of blogging Tourette's Syndrome. No one commented on the incongruity of the comment in relation to the post because, I suppose, no one wanted to make fun of someone so obviously borderline retarded.

Rachel, if you read this, the comment at 4:29 belongs in the post about Barack Obama's insane wife, not the one with the American Idol shemale.

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March 05, 2008

Is this blog on?

Anyone heard what happened to It Comes In Pints? Ken left a message, but I don't have his or Emily's email address. This is what I see at their site:


Update: Ken left a message that he can temporarily be found here, whilst the lovely and talented Emily kicks someone's ass gets things straightened out.

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The Instamonster links to a story about playing Tetris with people as the pieces. I'm sorry to say that he's a bit behind the times, as I posted the same "story" 2 years ago. I'll reprise the tale here:

There was a group of Russian soldiers close to a high, narrow ravine.

The sergeant goes close to the edge, looks down, then turns around and says:

- Soldier Ivanov!
- Sir!
- Put yourself in this position:

| | |
| |
| |

- Yes sir!
- Now jump!
- I'm sorry!!???
- I said JUMP, soldier!
- Yes sir!
The soldier jumps.

The Sergeant looks down to the abyss again, thinks for a while and says:
- Soldier Pyetrov!
- Sir!
- Move a little to your left!
- Yes sir!
- Put yourself in this position:

O |
| | |
| | |
| `--

- Yes sir!
- Now jump!
- Yes sir!
The man jumps into the void...

Again the sergeant looks down, thinks and yells:
- Soldier Sidorov!
- Sir!
- Move yourself a little to the right and kneel!
- Yes sir!
- Jump!
- Yes sir!, (and jumps)

The Sergeant analyses again the situation and says:
- Soldier Strogoff!
- Sir!
- Put yourself in this position:

| | |
| |
| |
| |

At that moment a jeep stops. The Captain in the jeep gets up and yells:
"Stop that at once!!"

The sergeant approaches the jeep and speaks to the captain:
- Sir, you undermine my authority when you overrule me before the men.

The captain replies:
- Sergeant Tchebychevich, I DON'T CARE!!!!! And I warn you, you'll be
court-martialled if I find you playing Tetris with the soldiers again!

Okay, maybe it's not exactly the same.

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Don't fix it if it ain't broken

However, if it IS broken (your PC, that is), you might want to have a SystemRescueCD Live CD nearby, even if you don't use Linux as your OS of choice. While there are some black bag recovery discs out there ::cough-coughminiPEcough-cough::, SystemRescueCD has the benefit of being completely Open Source, which means you won't ever violate the law while using it. Anyway, excerpt:

For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of using SystemRescueCd, the Linux kernel distribution can be booted from either a CD-ROM or a USB stick. Once it's running, and I've yet to meet a busted PC that still had a working CPU and memory it couldn't run on, you have your choice of the lightweight WindowsMaker GUI or a shell command-line interface.

The distribution comes with a variety of system tools, such as the low-level disk partition programs GParted and sfdisk and disk repair tools like TestDisk and Partimage. For higher levels of repair, it comes with such programs as Midnight Commander, an excellent file manager based on the design of the old MS-DOS Norton Commander and CD/DVD writing tools such as dvd+rwtools.
[ed. note: I used to love Norton Commander back in my old DOS days]
The new SystemRescueCd also has better support for fried graphic systems. It now includes Xvesa. This is a generic X Window server that can deliver a graphics interface without needing to know anything about the graphics hardware. You won't get a great display, but any graphic display is better than none.

Very cool. While I'm quite comfortable with a command line interface, I know that many people are not. That's one of the -very few- advantages of getting old. One of the more notable advantages is not being, you know, dead, so I'm not complaining.

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Free software! Get yer free software! has compiled a pretty good list of 157 pieces of free software for you, some of which you don't even have to download to use. Excerpt:

We did the math: If you bought popular apps instead of trying their gratis counter-parts, at the manufacturers' list prices you'd be out $5,183 and change! Why spend money when you can get what you need for nothing? Sometimes, you do get what you don't pay for.

I use, have used, or at least tried over 90% of these tools. Am I a geek or what?

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March 04, 2008

In honor of Gary Gygax

So Gary Gygax has passed away. I guess he didn't make his System Shock roll.

From Wizbang comes this test, which tells me what D&D character I am. Not surprisingly, it's the Lawful StupidGood kind:

I Am A: Lawful Good Human /Cleric (3rd/2nd Level)

Ability Scores:







Lawful Good A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. He combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. He tells the truth, keeps his word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished. Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion. However, lawful good can be a dangerous alignment because it restricts freedom and criminalizes self-interest.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Primary Class:
Monks are versatile warriors skilled at fighting without weapons or armor. Good-aligned monks serve as protectors of the people, while evil monks make ideal spies and assassins. Though they don't cast spells, monks channel a subtle energy, called ki. This energy allows them to perform amazing feats, such as healing themselves, catching arrows in flight, and dodging blows with lightning speed. Their mundane and ki-based abilities grow with experience, granting them more power over themselves and their environment. Monks suffer unique penalties to their abilities if they wear armor, as doing so violates their rigid oath. A monk wearing armor loses their Wisdom and level based armor class bonuses, their movement speed, and their additional unarmed attacks per round.

Secondary Class:
Clerics act as intermediaries between the earthly and the divine (or infernal) worlds. A good cleric helps those in need, while an evil cleric seeks to spread his patron's vision of evil across the world. All clerics can heal wounds and bring people back from the brink of death, and powerful clerics can even raise the dead. Likewise, all clerics have authority over undead creatures, and they can turn away or even destroy these creatures. Clerics are trained in the use of simple weapons, and can use all forms of armor and shields without penalty, since armor does not interfere with the casting of divine spells. In addition to his normal complement of spells, every cleric chooses to focus on two of his deity's domains. These domains grants the cleric special powers, and give him access to spells that he might otherwise never learn. A cleric's Wisdom score should be high, since this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Ace had the most appropriate line:

He will be remembered by many geeks of a certain age for helping making long-lasting painful celibacy seem almost hip and cool (almost), and also, sadly, for undermining Israel's ability to defend herself from her enemies.

I'm a gamer from way back. I played D&D from the original 3 paperbacks (Men and Magic being the first) before the first edition advanced rules came out. Add in my physics major and I simply had to beat the women off with sticks in college. Sure, that's how it was.

Update: Be sure to check out this article from the Cimmerian.

Update: Order of the Stick eulogizes Gygax in its own, unique fashion.

Link via Twenty Sided.

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I'm old fashioned

Also, I'm old. At least, my birthday last weekend reminded me that I haven't been 20 for a while. In any event, in the comment thread to this post, Bill Quick posted the following comment:

Me? I’m busily emptying out my bookshelves, except for those items simply not available in electronic format. I’m an early adapter, but I expect that within ten years the only people still reading everything on dead tree will be the hopelessly stubborn old fogies who babble on about things like the “feel” or the “smell” of a “real book.”

Guilty as charged. When I learned to read, a vast new world opened up for me to explore. I go anywhere, any when and be almost anyone, all while sitting comfortably in my favorite chair: I was there at the Alamo; I saw stars being born; and I took part in intergalatic civil wars, fighting methane breathing aliens. Holding the book was part of the experience for me.

And that hasn't changed. I love sitting with a book not, unlike Giles on Buffy, for the smell or touch alone, but rather because the tactile sensation is part of the reading experience for me. Have I ever read e-books? Sure, and I'll probably grab my own e-reader some day. But I think that that day might be delayed a bit. I have too many books that I love lying around. Too, too many books. So many books that I might have to add on to my house. Sigh. But I'll keep on aquiring more because it's just what I do.

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Words fail me

Okay, they actually don't, but I might try to reduce the profanity I post on this blog.

Of what do I speak? This post. Bask in the sublime idiocy and arrogance wrapped in its cocoon of blissful ignorance.

It would be wrong of me not to note that Tim F. has the post listed under several categories, one of which is General Stupidity. While I find that category accurate, I suspect that I do so for entirely different reasons than Tim.

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It's tough having an obsession

Some time ago, I received my first Instalanche for this post: Stacked and Packed. I couldn't claim any credit because, hey, a hot woman brandishing a ginormous gun is its own reward. In any event, Risawn recently discovered Battlestar Galactica on DVD and, not surprisingly, she's hooked. She owes it all to her brother:

Well, guess what? We threw in the first disc, watched the miniseries, and now I'm hooked.

Damn you, Jared, why did you have to get me hooked on ANOTHER freakin' TV Show?

Sucks, doesn't it? But the pain goes away once you stop resisting the assimilation.

So she's pretty, smart, a gun nut AND a BSG fan. You'd think it wouldn't get any better than that, but it does: Risawn might be the only person I know besides myself who includes the Death Gate Cycle among his or her favorite reads. I bought the first book at a used bookstore in Australia and bought the rest when I got back to the states, even going so far as to pay full retail price for the hardback version of the final book. And I can't tell you how much I loathe paying full retail price for hardbacks.

Anyway, stop by and congratulate her on her latest obsession. As addictions go, it'll be an easy one to quit, what with the upcoming season 4 being the last and all.

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