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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:28 pm 
Smeric
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:02 am 
Smeric
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I started a "project" - listening to all songs sung by Bob Dylan available on spotify. That includes listening to some of the original versions*1) of songs he covered, and also to some of the covers of his songs by other artists*2). I like Dylan well enough to physically own several albums by him, but I mostly know his songs from from the mid-60s to the mid-70s, so I use this project to get to know his earlier and later works.

*1) He covered a lot of folk songs, especially at the beginning of his career; of these, multiple versions exists, and of course even early recordings by folk singers or their forms documented in collections by folklorists may not be "the original".
*2) Dylan is one of those artists other artists love to cover, and for many of his songs other artists' versions have become vastly more popular than his own. I'm especially interested in versions that add something; as I am discovering, there is a surprising number of covers where even famous singers try to sound like Dylan, which IMO misses the point of a cover, at least when you're not a cover band.

I've finished his first album, , which mostly consists of folk song covers. It's the second time that I listened to it end-to-end; it's not one of my favourites - nice, but nothing to write home about. There's of which a exists. Then there's of ; a song which I previously knew from .
There are two own songs on this album, , which already sounds like later stuff by Dylan, and a somewhat cloying piece of hero worship, , which I mostly mention because it inspired an own piece of hero worship by .


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:56 am 
Smeric
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Now watching La Vie d'Adèle (or Blue Is the Warmest Colour as it's known in the English-speaking world).

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:22 pm 
Avisaru
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Denise Herzing: "Dolphin Communication: Cracking the Code" | Talks at Google: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mfb6zoB_yII

Damn, I have machine learning algorithms I want to try on dolphin speech patterns. I don't think they have scratched the surface of everything that could be tried. Isn't their dataset available somewhere online? http://www.wilddolphinproject.org/our-r ... unication/ I suppose they wouldn't release it until they succeeded in finding patterns with a limited number of research collaborators, huh? :(

PS. Unrelatedly, this is an awesome channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N6y6LEwsKc

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:51 am 
Avisaru
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There's a very popular Dorje Shugden practitioner on YouTube. Incredibly, all this is not only within the same tradition, but comes from the same teacher:

The wrathful protector of Lama Tsongkhapa's teachings: https://youtu.be/grMEVwN9FWI?t=1200 That gesture he keeps making with two fingers is the threatening mudra of spellcasting.

The Buddha of Wealth, but with a surprisingly spiritual message behind him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuwKcE8SckU (Prayer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8CvwMFf6V0)

Warnings against idolatry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkICMrNG78M

It's like a microcosm of the human condition right here: Degradation and salvation inextricably intertwined to the point where it becomes difficult to tell whether they are two different things in the first place.

I wouldn't be surprised if Buddhism lost ground in India because laymen lost the ability to tell it apart from Hinduism. I guess the difference lies in what each considers invariant under any transformation. For Astika Hindu orthodoxy, that would be the Vedas. For Mahayana Buddhist orthodoxy, it's compassion and emptiness.

Buddhist invariants seem superior to the Vedas, but is it worth it to lose the diversity of Vedic thought? It's not even clear that thought at the level of philosophical speculation makes a real difference outside the entertainment genre.

PS. More channels I'm watching for some reason. Military history: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheGreatWar/playlists https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLfMmO ... /playlists. Puzzles: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTlGuN ... X2w/videos. : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4UMyTnlaMY.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:29 am 
Lebom
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Whilst I've been away, my Magnetic Fields obsession has continued apace. I now have a whole new album of theirs to explore as well. Their Fifty song memoir contains one song for each year of songwriter Stephin Merritt's life. The new material has the usual bittersweet lyrics and unusual instrumental lineups that first drew me to the band. It appear's from this song that Mr Merritt tried his hand at conworlding in his youth. Nice video to go with it:



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:03 pm 
Lebom
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By the way: I finished reading Hamlet ages ago, and forgot to share my thoughts on it.

Mostly, I'm puzzled. Sure, it's very well-written and endlessly quotable (the number of lines from this play that became cliches is astonishing). Some of the soliloquies cut pretty deep. But the plot seems weird and disjointed. Like, there's a letter saying that Hamlet has been kidnapped by pirates, then he comes back as if nothing had happened. The ending comes out of nowhere, a far cry from the terrifying sense of logic that runs through Macbeth or even Romeo and Juliet. Hamlet pretends to be mad as part of a plot, but it's unclear what was the point: Claudius, the main target, isn't fooled, and this plot only ends up alienating all of Hamlet's allies save Horatio.

Hamlet's feelings towards Ophelia are also a complete mystery. He never mentions her in all of his soliloquies; one scene he gives her the cold shoulder, and the very next he makes crude passes at her. When she dies, he hams it up as the tragic lover, only to completely forget her the next moment. It seems he has no feelings for her at all, but then what's the point of pretending to have them?

So, overall, color me skeptical.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:15 pm 
Sanno
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But the river tripped on her by and by, lapping
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I'se so silly to be flowing but I no canna stay!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:35 pm 
Avisaru
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I saw The Last Jedi last night! I really enjoyed it. It wasn't what I expected at all; it kept setting things up to "obviously" go a particular way and then yanking the rug out from under me. And there's a few minor structural criticisms I have. But as a whole? It was an incredibly enjoyable movie that fit perfectly in the Star Wars mold.

Not really spoilers, but some general thoughts that some people may consider spoilers:
The movie did seem to go on and on forever; some of the subplots ended up being quite pointless, especially because of what I mentioned about the movie constantly yanking the rug out from under you. I think you could have trimmed down a bunch of scenes in the middle and not lost anything. I kept thinking the movie was going to end way earlier than it actually did! There were about four or five different points that seemed like surely they were going to be the climax. It also had a few plotholes (I still have no clue how that character ended up in that place at the end) and a lot of unanswered questions (or, perhaps more accurately, questions that were deliberately skipped over, such as the backstories of certain characters). But... I don't know if the unanswered questions are actually a knock against the movie. Star Wars movies have always worked in broad strokes (if you think about it, we actually know very little about Darth Vader and Palpatine's backstories in the original trilogy, we don't know anything about most of the planets they visit, who Yoda is, etc.), and I'm okay with being like "OK so this character is playing this role. Why? I dunno but rest assured someone will write a book about it eventually."

The movie was also really, really dark. It was simultaneously totally different from Empire Strikes Back and weirdly similar to it. And yet, it also had a ton of funny moments (and some very satisfying ones). Apparently some people didn't like the funny bits? I feel that if you didn't have them, the movie would just be relentlessly awful right up until the end. At any rate, again, this isn't actually a bad thing in my book. This is a trilogy of movies, after all; gotta have the low point to build up from. I really want to talk about the themes of the movie and how they related to this, but that would dip closer to spoilers than I'd like. Suffice to say that if the movie hadn't been dark, it would've undercut itself.

The visuals were stunning. That scene (you know which one, it was the one where you could've heard a pin drop in the theater) looked incredible. Star Wars has always had crazy spaceships and aliens and planets, and TLJ lived up to that reputation. It was a really beautiful movie and had some lovely fight scenes.

Probably my most shocking moment: A character swore. I didn't know you could do that in a Star Wars movie. :P

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:03 pm 
Smeric
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I think the thing about the film not quite mirroring Ep 5 is that... it doesn't. I watched a review earlier that pointed out a lot of parallels with Ep 6 as well, which makes a lot of sense.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:19 pm 
Smeric
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I watched Moonlight yesterday. If only I could give 7 stars on Netflix!

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ìtsanso, God In The Mountain, may our names inspire the deepest feelings of fear in urkos and all his ilk, for we have saved another man from his lies! I welcome back to the feast hall kal, who will never gamble again! May the eleven gods bless him!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:51 pm 
Avisaru
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Here's what I'm playing, anyway...

Watching TLJ got me to replay Knights of the Old Republic 2, and man, I forgot how good this game is. It's a deeply flawed game, and not just because huge chunks of it were cut. (I'm playing with the Restored Content Mod anyway, so the ending is actually playable and has things like resolution! and character arcs!) But the game is still boatloads of fun, and it's kind of nice to have some Star Wars media that at least tries to have some ambiguity about whether the "dark side" is wholly evil and the "light side" is wholly good. And it's even got some vague TLJ parallels what with the whole "I'm (possibly) the last Jedi but the Jedi kind of suck anyway, also my enemy is incredibly emo and Force bonds exist" thing.

My New Year's resolution this year is to reflect more on the media I consume, so here's my sort-of review of KOTOR 2:

If you like RPGs and you like Star Wars, but you haven't played the KOTOR games yet, you should do that. They're very good. They're set a few thousand years before the movies and focus on a civil war among the Jedi that ended up with a bunch of Sith running around who you have to defeat with your plucky band of adventurers. It's a lot like Mass Effect, except with D&D-style combat, worse graphics, lightsabers, and the ability to be cartoonishly evil. (this should come as no surprise, given that Bioware made KOTOR 1 and then made Mass Effect 1 instead of KOTOR 2) You have all sorts of versatility to build a character to your exacting specifications, but that's irrelevant because you're just going to run around with a lightsaber slapping people with the Force regardless.

The backstory is that the Mandalorians were planning on invading the entire galaxy. The Jedi council wasn't going to do anything, but this one Jedi named Revan was like "that's dumb" and rounded up a bunch of followers to fight the Mandalorians and won very decisively. And then turned evil and started taking over the galaxy anyway, causing a huge civil war between the Jedi and Revan's followers. The first game takes place during this civil war, as you're trying to end it. The second game takes place a bit later, focusing on an ex-Jedi who followed Revan during the Mandalorian War and now is trying to figure out what's happening to all the remaining Jedi, who seem to have mysteriously disappeared.

KOTOR 1 is a pretty straightforward Star Wars story, with very obvious good and evil and a nice fat plot twist in the middle. KOTOR 2 is almost a complete inversion that deconstructs a ton of Star Wars tropes. KOTOR 1 is all about how powerful and cool the Force is, whether you go light side or dark side. It's all about Sith vs. Jedi. KOTOR 2 is all about ambiguity and how the Force isn't everything. You can go completely light side in KOTOR 2, and yet maintain that the Jedi are a terrible idea, for example. There's tons of characters who were aligned to one side or the other but grew disillusioned with it. And there's even a lot about how to ordinary people, they really don't see much of a difference between "very tiny but powerful group that swans around not helping anyone (but claims to be good)" and "very tiny but powerful group that swans around not helping anyone (but is claimed to be evil)". The first game focuses on how you can reshape the future of the entire galaxy, taking place during a war that's capped off with a huge space battle. The second game makes it clear that it's about your personal demons, and even when you do manage to save the galaxy (or doom it), it's unlikely anyone is ever going to know it was you.

I don't know if this necessarily makes it a better story. A lot of people would argue that the game is needlessly cynical. But I certainly think it makes it interesting. It's true that it's pretty heavy-handed; the supposed good guys tend to have nuance, but the bad guys basically just set fire to puppies and eat babies. (I'm pretty sure Darth Nihilus literally does.) And it's not very subtle--all your companions are incredibly secretive, up until you click the right conversation options in the right order and they spill every single thing that's ever happened to them. (A certain character literally can go from "I love murdering Jedi" to "I wanna be a Jedi" in one five-minute conversation that's bizarrely easy to unlock.) The big plot twist is, in retrospect, not much of a twist if you were paying attention at all. Even with the Restored Content Mod, it's really obvious that huge chunks of the game were cut, and I can't imagine playing without the mod.

And yet I love the game to bits. I love the varied environments and atmosphere, even if I hate some of the level design. (*shakes fist at the endless running up and down corridors on Nar Shaddaa*) I love the characters, even when they're as subtle as rocks. (especially HK-47 the assassin droid, my favorite Star Wars character of all time) Even if the central plot twist isn't that great, I love all the little mysteries that the game explores (why Revan turned to the dark side, what actually happened during the Mandalorian War, why this crazy old woman is following you around, etc.). And, come on. It's a Star Wars game where you play as a Force user. Lightsabers are great.

tl;dr: i am easily entertained by lightsabers and murderous droids

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I generally forget to say, so if it's relevant and I don't mention it--I'm from Southern Michigan and speak Inland North American English. Yes, I have the Northern Cities Vowel Shift; no, I don't have the cot-caught merger; and it is called pop.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:56 pm 
Avisaru
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Minor update to my KOTOR 2 review, now that I've finished my replay! I still maintain it's an excellent game and extremely fun to play, but man, I forgot how disjointed the ending is even with mods. Basically all the "transition" bits were never created, so stuff just sort of happens without having much in the way of context. (e.g. one of your party members disappears from the game at one point, with zero explanation. Apparently he was intended to die, but none of that was ever voice acted/scripted, so he just... stops showing up.) And the final level is incredibly empty--filled with tons and tons of empty rooms. If you're lucky, there'll be four random enemies plopped in to slow you down. You get the impression the Restored Content Mod did the best they could with what was there, but it's obvious they didn't have a lot to work with.

Nevertheless, my recommendation to play the game still stands! Just... be sure to play KOTOR 1 first, only play KOTOR 2 with the Restored Content Mod, and be aware of the issues with the ending. (the actual ending bit--the final fight and conversation--are fine, it's just the bits leading up to that)

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I generally forget to say, so if it's relevant and I don't mention it--I'm from Southern Michigan and speak Inland North American English. Yes, I have the Northern Cities Vowel Shift; no, I don't have the cot-caught merger; and it is called pop.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:23 pm 
Avisaru
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Linguistics: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-sW5d ... =0&sort=da I haven't checked if this guy knows what he's talking about. In case he does, does anyone know Romani?

Puzzles in the form of online drama: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svJF_FoSI9o https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG_-mm ... =0&sort=da

History in the form of online memery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuCn8ux2gbs

PS. I'm reading A New Kind of Science by Stephen Wolfram. Next on the list is The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer.

PPS. How to do magic tricks: https://www.youtube.com/user/SankeyMagi ... &flow=grid Awesome religion channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/ReligionFo ... ast/videos

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:59 am 
Sumerul
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I'm currently working my way through a biography of Victoria Princess Royal, Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, Empress of Prussia and mother of Wilhelm II. After I finish this book I am hoping to read one on Princess Victoria by Hesse and Rhine, Victoria Princess Royal's niece by her sister Alice. Her life is a very tragic one, surrounded by death. She watched 4 of her siblings die or be murdered, two by the Bolsheviks (the Empress of Russia including of course her entire family). And she's Prince Phillip's grandmother.

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Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:07 pm 
Sanno
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Not really watching anything these days. Trying to get myself to do more reading.

English: Just finished the English translation of Andrus Kivirähk's Mees kes teadis ussisõnu (The man who spoke Snakish). It was annoying. Now I'll go back to reading Independent people, J.A. Thompson's translation of Sjálfstætt fólk by Halldór Laxness.

German: A little over halfway through Heinrich Böll's Gruppenbild mit Dame and still enjoying it immensely. I'd kind of sworn off WWII books, but his humour makes reading about that era much more tolerable. I also find the unconventional structure (i.e. a series of fictional interviews) very appealing. Bolaño is looking a little less groundbreaking now.

Spanish: Just started reading Fuentes' Muerte de Artemio Cruz because someone else I know is. I feel like I'd need to brush up on my 20th-century Mexican political history to get as much out of it as I'd like to. (My faulty memory made it out to be a very different sort of novel.)

Catalan: Solitud by Victor Català (a pseudonym for Caterina Albert). I thought this would be an easy one because the story is fairly straightforward, but Albert's "rich diction" is filled with dialectal expressions and other nonstandard forms. I have to keep consulting dictionaries to make sense of some passages and that often sends me down a little rabbit hole for a while, which really slows progress.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:45 pm 
Smeric
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:58 pm 
Smeric
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I'm making a so I can add other videos to my . There are translations of the title/description in French, German, Hebrew, Russian and Spanish.

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ìtsanso, God In The Mountain, may our names inspire the deepest feelings of fear in urkos and all his ilk, for we have saved another man from his lies! I welcome back to the feast hall kal, who will never gamble again! May the eleven gods bless him!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:18 am 
Smeric
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:14 pm 
Avisaru
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If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way. - Mark Twain

In reality, our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness, which indeed is a divine gift. - Socrates


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:17 pm 
Smeric
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Which one is private? I viewed both in when not logged in and I can still see them.

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ìtsanso, God In The Mountain, may our names inspire the deepest feelings of fear in urkos and all his ilk, for we have saved another man from his lies! I welcome back to the feast hall kal, who will never gamble again! May the eleven gods bless him!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:18 pm 
Avisaru
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Posts: 409
The first one.

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If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way. - Mark Twain

In reality, our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness, which indeed is a divine gift. - Socrates


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:21 pm 
Smeric
Smeric
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Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2015 6:44 am
Posts: 1998
Location: suburbs of Mrin
Silly me, put the wrong playlist:

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ìtsanso, God In The Mountain, may our names inspire the deepest feelings of fear in urkos and all his ilk, for we have saved another man from his lies! I welcome back to the feast hall kal, who will never gamble again! May the eleven gods bless him!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:48 pm 
Smeric
Smeric

Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:25 pm
Posts: 2261
Location: Austin, TX, USA
I think anyone would be bored if they saw a list of what music I like listening to. :P


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:39 am 
Smeric
Smeric
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Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2015 6:44 am
Posts: 1998
Location: suburbs of Mrin
Why? What do you listen to? Most people I know are bored with jazz, classical music and hurdy-gurdy. Very few like Mongolian throat singing.

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ìtsanso, God In The Mountain, may our names inspire the deepest feelings of fear in urkos and all his ilk, for we have saved another man from his lies! I welcome back to the feast hall kal, who will never gamble again! May the eleven gods bless him!


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