movies: the hunger games: mockingjay part two

the hunger games - mockingjay part two - the revolution is about all of us
I think that a lot of what I'm going to say about The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is going to be very similar to what I had to say about Part 1.

While I still don't know that they really had to split the book into two parts, it did leave the majority of this movie involved with action.

At this point I don't remember all the details of the book, but this certainly feels close to the original material.

After not really featuring all that much in the first half, Josh Hutcherson comes back strong in the final instalment. Jennifer Lawrence is always strong, although this movie is more about the action than the introspection.

And once again the costumes are definitely a stand-out... from Katniss's range of black on black on black battlewear through to the small number of perfect outfits worn by Elizabeth Banks as Effie (particularly the origami inspired angular kimono towards the end of the movie)... Kurt and Bart (yes, still no surnames) have done excellent work once again.

There's also a lot of fantastic CGI... so much so that I couldn't actually pick out the moments that were CGI, I mean sure, there's some effects that couldn't happen any other way... but it's all exceptionally high quality and you can't see where the real visuals end and the effects begin.

And if some of the locations were actual places I'd love to know where exactly, there were some amazing looking places.

Other than that I don't have a lot to say... it's a good way to finish out the franchise.

yani's rating: 3 pods out of 5

stephen fry in adelaide

stephen fry in adelaide for one evening only
This was the third time I've seen Stephen Fry live... or fourth if you count when I took Ma to see him "live" on the big screen (which wasn't in the least bit live, but it was him on stage doing that thing that he does so well)... and the first time he's been to Adelaide (as far as I know), the previous two instances being in Melbourne.

And seriously, I could listen to that man talk until he completely ran out of words or things to say (I'm guessing in both instances that would take a considerable amount of time). Doubly so if he started doing accents or impressions, which I think he is unable to stop himself from doing.

I would also be very happy to listen to him repeat his favourite line from The Importance of Being Earnest...
"I hope, Cecily, I shall not offend you if I state quite frankly and openly that you seem to me to be in every way the visible personification of absolute perfection."
It was something of an interesting crowd... there were clearly a large proportion of the homosexual persuasion... some of whom I'm pretty sure had come straight from Picnic in the Park just across the river from the Festival Theatre, then there were what I'm guessing were just general Fry fans... and possibly people involved in the Dunstan Foundation. And then there were people who may have fit in all or none of those... I mean I'm pretty sure that former PM, Julia Gillard was also in the audience.

The event was hosted (or possibly MC'ed) by political journalist Annabel Crabb. And I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed most of her hosting... while I don't have a major dislike for her, she's just not somebody I'm especially fond of, but mostly she was good.

They divided the event into two halves... after a brief intro by Crabb, Stephen spoke for around half an hour (and walked just short of 2km with his continual pacing back and forth... we know because he counted it on his Apple watch), then Crabb came back out and they sat down for some questions for the following forty five minutes (which turned into just this side of an hour).

Stephen spoke about Oscar Wilde, and the decriminalisation of homosexuality and his own homosexualist journey from impressionable youngster learning about Wilde through to now. And as I said at the start, I could listen to him just talk about anything he likes for as long as he likes.

Crabb's questioning in the second half started off pretty well, but I think it got a little fluffy towards the end... of course she may have been attempting to bring it back from the kind of serious/dark place it went to. But the aforementioned listening to Stephen thing was still in effect.

So all in all it was an excellent evening.

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photo saturday: urban layers

melbourne goddesswell worn eyebird

words and shoespainted face
Clearly I didn't sleep terribly well last night, or else the week I've had has just worn me the fuck out, because I really feel like I could go and have a nap. But if I do that I'm liable to wake up at like 2am ready to start the day.

Going back to last weekend, I managed to do a few things I've been needing to get a move on with... first and foremost, Ma's yearly calendar made from my photos...

This year is technically a little bit of a cheat...

Partly because we didn't go anywhere this year, so I went back through all our previous trips and worked out that 2015 was actually the ten year anniversary of our first trip to Melbourne. And we'd actually made twelve trips in total... so it seemed like it was all coming together perfectly.

Hence the "Dec-ade" calendar was born.

However, it's the calendar for 2016, so it's a decade plus one technically... and it was only after I'd designed the whole thing that I realised that one of the shots in question was actually from my solo trip to Sydney in 2012. Whoops. But I liked the image in question, and to be honest I didn't have anything to replace it with.

It's also the first year that I haven't reshuffled the months excessively... which was great... but mostly because I did it all chronologically.

And it definitely reinforces the fact that we really need to go somewhere next year.

Sunday addendum: Every year when I go to get the calendar bound at Officeworks, I'm convinced that they're going to screw it up and ruin it somehow... every year I'm very happy to find that they don't.

So I guess it had to happen sooner or later, but this year, Steph, who served me, bound it along the left edge not the top.

Now a) I'm always very specific about telling them to bind it "along the top" and b) it's a fucking calendar, why would you ever, ever think that it should be NOT bound across the top. After I pointed out that she'd completely fucked it up she offered to trim it off and do it again, but I decided to live with it as it is. She also didn't charge me for the binding, which was good.

And after ringing Ma to complain to her, she said I should speak to the manager... which I was in two minds about... but then the universe took the decision out of my hands by having a member of staff ask me if there was anything they could help me with... I said, yes, who's the manager, she said that'd be me, and we were off to the races as they say.

I basically told her what the situation was and that I would deal with the item as it was, but that Steph had basically screwed up a Christmas present and that she should be more careful and use her common sense a little more in future.

The thing that will be the real kick in the rubber parts is if it turns out that Ma actually likes it bound along the wrong edge once she uses the calendar.

And now back to the previously scheduled post...

I also got around to looking through my cross-stitch supplies to see if I had any of the colours for the mini Disney princess pattern from Wee Little Stitches I'm intending to make for Tink's girls... I'm planning on splitting the pattern in two... giving half to each girl.

As it turns out the pattern requires 44 different colours... of which I had ten. Thankfully Ma came to the party with another ten, and then I picked the rest up today. Not that they'll go to waste or anything.

Speaking of Tink, this week was also Haircut Night... and we made further plans for my pre-Christmas hair-do... I still don't know if it's going to be the best hair decision I've ever made, but I've made worse ones. And it's possibly only for that one month if it turns out to be horrendous or ridiculous.

Otherwise, we just did the usual cut and colour on my hair this time around.

In other news from this week, work has been incredibly draining. Partially physically, but mostly mentally... and because every time I feel like I'm getting on top of things I end up feeling like I'm back behind the eight ball.

Hopefully once things start to drop off slightly I'll be able to catch up... or at least process things enough that I can pass them on to other people to complete.

I also got an emergency call from La Ninj at 6:30 on Thursday morning saying that I needed to publish some content to the website right that second... cut to me eating cereal with one hand and making changes to the website with the other about ten minutes later. Fun times.

But I was also a little annoyed that there were so many people on leave on Friday... and that a couple of us are having to rework stuff that someone else was supposed to be managing because it wasn't done properly the first time around... and they're on leave for a week.

On a completely (well mostly anyway) unrelated note... I got my two big boxes of Christmas things out from under my bed this week. It was partially so that I could find my little gay Christmas tree to put on my desk at work. I don't know how much stuff I'm actually going to put up around the apartment, but I might have a crack at it during the week in the lead up to next weekend when I'll go down to Ma's to put the tree up at her place.

Oh, and the Fringe guide drops next week... so that means a couple of days of insanity picking and planning and buying tickets... and then two months of waiting for the Fringe to start.

That's pretty much it though, for this week anyway.

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photo saturday: brick colours

blue and yellowblue and yellow

green, orange and whitegreen and tan
So SBS's new channel, The Food Network (Australia) has only been running for like three days, but already I can tell that I'm going to spend a fair bit of time watching it. At least until they screw it up, or they keep repeating shows (which seems to be a little bit of a thing at the moment) so I've seen everything.

Otherwise this week has been much the same as usual...

It is always interesting when somebody points out that someone else does stuff in much the same way you do it, however you get away with it because you're you and they don't because they're not. And you realise that maybe been unconsciously teaching them that's the way to behave, so you attempt to modify their reactions by modifying yours (and, to some degree theirs).

On the flip side, it's also interesting that both of my 2IC's are more like me than seemingly anybody else we work with. I swear, they came that way, I didn't break them.

The only massive downside to the week was that every time I tidied up my email inbox, it got filled up with stuff again almost immediately. Not really the way I prefer to work... I like to keep shit tidy so that I know what I have and haven't done.

But yeah, it was more or less business as usual... or the usual that is usual currently.

Today was also a return to form, with Ma coming down to my place and us doing the usual supermarket shopping.

And it was pretty much all the same as usual.

After we were finished we headed back here, I unpacked all my stuff and then we headed out to do both the Flinders Street Market and the Bowerbird Bazaar.

We started with Flinders Street and one of the expanded markets they're having in the lead up to Christmas. To be honest, while I bought a few things the first few times we went, the more we go the less interesting things there are. Granted a lot of the stuff is food or jewellery or artwork... and really I have enough art.

But it was interesting enough.

From there we went down to the showgrounds for Bowerbird. What we didn't know is that in addition to Bowerbird, Supernova was also on... as well as some sort of Uni exam thing. All of which made parking a bitch, however it did mean that we walked into the showgrounds with Maleficent and Yokai (the masked villain from Big Hero 6)... we also saw Ursula and Davy Jones, Cruella de Vil and a couple of Harley Quinns.

However, Bowerbird I am officially and for always over.

I know stuff like this is always going to get bigger and busier than it was when it first started, however I miss the intimate little market we went to all the way back in 2009 and 2010.

But now it just seems to be a certain kind of clientele... which is great for Bowerbird, I'm sure it makes all the stalls a lot of money, but the client profile really isn't me (or Ma particularly for that matter), and that also means that the stalls themselves have changed from a range of quirky fun things to stuff that mostly works for the clientele profile. And since I'm not a woman in her late twenties to early thirties either with or without a kid in a pram, then it's really not my scene anymore.

Ma did pick up a few things for Christmas presents... and our nice friends with the brownie stall were there in the corner, so I got brownies... and Archie the Pastizzi Bus was there, and I haven't had pastizzi from Archie is forever, so that was great too.

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movies: spectre

I think I said this last time, but Spectre definitely feels like a proper Bond movie.

Although, having said that, I didn't have the same enthusiastic response to this movie that I had to Skyfall.

But a Bond movie has a number of elements where it lives or dies (no pun intended)...

The pre-credit sequence... while it starts slow, it's the kind of big set piece you expect in a Bond movie.

The credits and theme song... these credit are definitely ones that you will get more out of the second time around... there's a lot going on... and they feature Bond in a way I haven't seen before. The song however... sorry Sam Smith, but no, just no. It's basically just screechy noise most of the time.

The villain... for the first time in the Daniel Craig movies, it feels like we have a proper bad guy. But that is because they've gone back to the original... Ernst Stavro Blofeld, played appropriately evilly by Christoph Waltz. And he has a proper lair and a proper henchman... things that I felt were missing from Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall.

The women... Léa Seydoux and Monica Bellucci, although Bellucci is definitely of the "blink and you'll miss her" variety. Seydoux is very believable as a strong, capable woman who isn't so much a match for Bond as an appropriate counterpoint.

The action... of which there's actually not a giant amount... there's a couple of interesting car chases, although I did feel more like one of them was more about Bond and the car than it was about the chaser. And there's a fight scene that's part From Russia With Love, part Live and Let Die and more than a little Kill Bill 2. But other than that it's more cat and mouse or small beats of action rather than full sequences.

There were also a number of small nods to previous Bond movies... not too often that it got self referential, but there were things here and there.

Having said all of that, which was mostly positive... I will say that at 148 minutes, it was maybe about half an hour too long. Yes, I know that Skyfall was only 5 minutes shorter, but it never felt like it was that long, whereas this one did tend to drag at times.

There was also more involvement with M, Q, Moneypenny and the old M's right hand man, Tanner this time around... which did at one point feel like it was an audition for an English spy TV show.  But I do really like the interactions between Bond and both Q and Moneypenny.

So overall, good but not great... but it did feel more like the older Bond movies than they have up until now... which I suppose is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you feel about the older movies.

yani's rating: 4 helicopters out of 5

photo saturday: circling

interlocking circlespeephole circle

sample circlelightbox circle
The theme of this week's photos is circles... and to be honest, it seems appropriate given that this week did feel a little like it was fully of cycles... not exactly going in circles, but a little bit of history repeating...

To start with, after I fell last week, I realised on Tuesday morning that I'd jammed up my elbow, like I did the last time I fell. Granted it took me four days to realise, but once I did I availed myself of the first free appointment at the chiro. To be honest, while I can get my back adjusted all day long, any time I need to have my elbows adjusted its... unsettling. Not that I think she's going to do me any injury, but it does feel as weird as all hell. But it also felt a hell of a lot better once she'd done it.

I also seemed to be coming down with some degree of stuffy sinus, itchy eye bullshit. Not a cold I don't believe, possibly just the continuation of this hayfever that's seemingly developed out of nowhere in the last few years. But I went to see a nice lady at the chemist and she recommended some lovely drugs, which seem to be assisting, at least a little.

The main reason that I really felt that things were on some kind of cyclical path was the fact that I found myself doing a number of things for other people that H-San had previously done for me... mostly reading emails before they were sent to ensure the harsh things you really want to say are appropriately watered down into work-speak.

It's weird... until the bruhaha last week, I didn't really think about the fact that Sugarmonkey, Rockchick and I are the senior staff... regardless of the fact that I come and go, and not really having anything to do with job levels. We've just been around the longest. I know that on an intellectual level... but I guess it's not something I tend to think about that much.

Beyond all that, there's not much to say about this week, except for the fact that I'm glad H-San is back and that the year is starting the slide towards it's end.

Today was a less interesting version of last week...

Although I did have one weird encounter... when I got to the supermarket, the woman who runs the framing shop was standing out there having her coffee and said to me "You're missing your mum" (as in she was missing, not that I was missing her)... now this is a woman we've seen maybe once or twice in similar scenarios.... it's not a store we frequent, but it does happen to be exactly opposite the supermarket. So clearly she's observed the double act that is Ma and I... although who knows how often or when. So yeah, a big serve of weird right there.

I had a brief interaction with her, explained a version of the scenario and went on my merry way.

Shopping was, you know, shopping. I bought, I think the correct term is, a metric fuckton of cheese... and a few other interesting bits and pieces... but mostly the usual stuff.

Then when I was coming back to the car, she was out there again... and said something along the lines of "did you get all the right stuff"... you know, comedy. I could have explained the actual situation, or even gone for the "this is mine, then I'm going to take her to get hers" scenario, but just went with "yes", because, really, how much does she really need to know.

It was generally a weird interaction... although it was nice that it closed the loop... see circles again.

I came back here, put everything away, then headed down to Ma's.

Unlike last week, she didn't need to do a supermarket run, so we just ended up going back to the "farmer's market" so she could pick up the fresh stuff she needed.

And that was really about it... we hung out for a bit and then I took myself home.

I think we're pretty much back to our regular schedule next week though... which is good, if only so we can do whatever we need to do for Christmas before we're actually in the thick of it.

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photo saturday: opposite saturday shopping

port adelaide sentinelnorth adelaide sentinel

household sentinelconstruction sentinel
I really would like to start one of these by saying that my week wasn't somewhat trying... but alas, this is not the week or it.

At the very least because while we generally get around 10 job requests per day... sometimes less, sometimes more, but on Wednesday we had 22 requests. Granted some were simple jobs and some were one job via multiple requests... but I wasn't loving it. I did love it when we got the 27 unread emails in the jobs inbox down to 7 by the end of the following day.

There was also a little drama on Friday, which has been brewing for a couple of weeks now (not caused by or otherwise related to me, thankfully), but I missed all the fireworks because I was in the bathroom at the time. But it wasn't unexpected... and I'm both glad and disappointed that I missed it.

And thank all the fucks that H-San comes back on Monday, if only so that I can stop getting his calls through my phone.

It was also Haircut Night on Thursday, so thank fuck for that too. This haircut was pretty much the same as usual... although I did make a suggestion for the pre-Christmas haircut that Tink was very enthusiastic about... I just need to be brave enough to actually do it. And that's all the information I'm sharing until it happens (or doesn't, as the case may be).

Oh, and it hasn't taken all that long, but I'm kind of bored with salad... possibly because there's less flavour options than there was when I was making soup. And the individual elements don't always keep as well over the length of a week. But it's easier than coming up with other ideas at this stage.

Today was a little more hectic than I would have preferred... because Ma is still recovering from her surgery, I was shopping on my own this morning, and then when I was done (and had picked up the Doctor Who set from Lego Dimensions without any drama), and I'd unpacked everything and dicked around for a bit, I headed down to Ma's place to take her out to her shops.

We started off with the "farmer's market" near her place... neither of us have actually been before, and it wasn't super amazing, but Ma got the stuff she wanted, and I picked up a couple of bits and pieces... although I'll be honest, I forgot we were going, so I'd already bought most of the stuff I needed at the supermarket.

Then we headed to her shopping centre. Now I know that we go to our regular supermarket first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds, and when we do end up in other centres on a Saturday we generally don't go anywhere near the supermarkets... but holy crap. I will say that there was a lot of hot rough trade action, but also a lot of wow, just no.

But I survived.

And that was it really... we headed back to Ma's place, I hung around for a while and then headed back to my place. So very much the opposite of a normal weekend.

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movies: crimson peak

crimson peak - beware
If ever a movie lived up to the tag line on it's poster, it's Crimson Peak and it's "Beware" tag.

Which is what I'd tell anyone if they asked what I thought of the movie.

Normally I like Guillermo del Toro movies, the Hellboys, Pan's Labyrinth, Pacific Rim, Blade II... but I don't know what the hell went wrong with this one. It's so blatantly melodramatic and painfully obvious... and if I'm honest, kind of boring because of it.

Part of the problem is also Mia Wasikowska... she always come across as insipid and a little wooden, and this role is no different. Tom Hiddleston and a frankly unrecognisable Jessica Chastain give better performances, but their characters are fairly one dimensional and obvious that it defeats the purpose of their performance.

And rather than relying on suspense and tension, del Toro has indulged in jump scares and a bunch of gore which isn't particularly frightening. It was also disappointing that the supernatural elements were incidental to the plot and could easily have been removed without affecting the movie that much.

Even the supposed "gothic romance" is lukewarm at best...

So I think it's safe to say that I wasn't a fan.

yani's rating: 1 black moth out of 5

photo saturday: all hallows

incomplete bride of frankenstein('s monster)vamp girl

newtown sallynewtown smiler
This week, once again, has been a big fat check in the "dude, seriously" column.

I will say that the upside was the fact that I was busy all week long. The downside, you guessed it, I was busy all week long.

There was some added stress because Ma went in for her elective surgery on Tuesday... I had one of those "what if the worst happens" brain farts that I couldn't quite shake. But she's all good, surgery went well and after a couple of days staying with her bestie, she's back home as of this morning. So that's a weight off my mind.

It does mean that Saturday's are going to be a little atypical for much of the month of November... and this Saturday was even atypical on top of that.

Oh, but before I get into that... I just want to state for the record, I do actually have a heart and it is in actual working order. I know because I've seen it.

Back around the time of my last bout of the flu I started noticing some ectopic heartbeats... essentially it's when it feels like your heart is "holding it's breath" for a beat and then the following beat is a big thump. It got to the point where I went to my GP about it and he referred me on to the cardiologist.

That led to me going in for an ultrasound on my heart on Friday morning. And I gotta say, laying there while the young woman shoved the transducer into my flesh and I got to watch my heart on the monitor is all kinds of weird. Especially as the thing that I could see most clearly was one of the valves right in the middle as it opened and closed.

Just weird.

But the doctor told me that my heart is in good shape, and the ectopic beats have pretty much stopped. So that's good.

On a completely unrelated note I booked in for a consultation on my tattoo cover-up on my left arm. The tattoo there is a cover-up itself and it's at least 15 years old at this point, and frankly it's pretty damn bad, especially compared with the new one.

And I had an artist all picked out, and he finally reopened his books this week... and that is the point where I discover that he doesn't do cover-ups. Goddammit! Anyway, that led me to look around for another studio and more specifically an artist whose work I liked and that I felt fitted into what I wanted to have on my arm. Which led me to Progression Tattoo, and their Open Day/Consult Day in December... and more specifically to one of their artists who has a couple of pieces very much in the style that I was thinking. So on Friday I called and booked in for a consult. Yay!

Insert mental image of me doing the happy dance here.

Today was... yeah actually today wasn't very exciting. As previously stated, I was on my own, but since Ma was only getting home today, she didn't need me for anything, so I was left completely to my own devices.

Shopping was fairly standard, beyond the general buying of a few extra treats... including grabbing some Turkish Delight for the production of Christmas Rocky Road. Yes, it is a whole month away from being required, but it's not going to come to any harm.

I did have a bit of an impulse buy in Target though... they have this "Summer" watermelon designed quilt cover, and it was fairly cheap, but the material didn't feel crappy... so I bought one, and a fitted sheets and extra pillowcases from their "home brand" range in bright red. It's going to look nice I think, and if the quilt cover is big enough then I can retire the ugly brown one I tend to use during winter. And then potentially match up the brown fitted sheet with the green IKEA quilt cover. Sorry, thinking aloud...

After that I came back here, unpacked everything and put it away and then headed into the city to the Flinders Street Market for their Mini Comic-con. I wasn't expecting a lot... and, yeah... it was okay, but not fantastic. And there was only one dude who's portfolio I really wanted to go through, however it was being hovered over by a guy who, granted, was buying a ton of stuff... but at the same time he was totally stopping anybody else from looking at the stuff.

In the end after a couple of loops around the place, I gave up, bought some gingerbread cookies and a giant messy meringue thing and came home.

And I kinda think it might be time to start working on Ma's calendar for 2016... and given that we haven't been on any interstate jaunts since my birthday last year I've been a little stuck as to what the hell I was going to do... but then I realised that our first trip together was in 2005, which makes it a decade of trips (this tripless year notwithstanding), and we've done twelve trips... so I'm going to go back to each trip and find a signature image I haven't already used and make up a calendar of that... call it Decade, appropriately enough.

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photo saturday: vanilla with sky

mason whitemanly white

piped whiteribbed white
This week has been a little vanilla... although with the occasional coloured sprinkle... and the odd chopped nut or two... and I have now officially run this metaphor all the way into the ground.

I had my first "salad disaster" this week... I mean it wasn't a total write-off, but I definitely had to persevere through it. Part of the problem was the dressing was a little too thick and too creamy, mostly because I put the remainder of the container of sour cream I had in it. In theory good... in practice, it needed less.

And making too much risoni and too much chicken was also problematic, if only because it meant that the dressing I did have didn't go far enough.

The week itself was a little bit m'eh... we had our Halloween/birthday morning tea on Wednesday, I wore the mask I bought last weekend, which was appropriately creepy, especially when paired with a slight head tilt and a "broken doll" type walk.

Granted I couldn't eat with the mask on, and it did get very warm very quickly, so I ended up wearing it on top of my head for most of the time.

Then Thursday after work I had an interesting encounter... not exactly what I was expecting, in some ways better, in some worse... although the gentleman in question was the type who couldn't just stay still afterwards... which kind of broke the mood.

Yesterday I picked up my giant Assassin's Creed Syndicate box set... the Charing Cross edition, with the statue... and because of that the box is legitimately gigantic. And I won't be able to play it until after Christmas since that's when I'll get my PS4, and I also have to work my way through the previous game... and I'll also have Lego Dimensions for when stabbing virtual people gets too much. So, yeah, lots of video games to play...

Today wasn't overly exciting... well, there was some minor excitement due to some water coming out of the building's gas plant room, but I reported it and it eventually got fixed.

The supermarket portion of the day was somewhat more extensive than usual... Ma is having some elective surgery done next week which means she won't be driving for a while, so she needed to stock up on a bunch of stuff.

It also means that Saturdays are going to be a little different for a few weeks.

Anyway, once we were done at the supermarket, we took a wander around Target, and ended up finding a few bits and pieces for Princess T and Miss Oh for Christmas, so once we got back and I'd unpacked my part of the shopping we decided to head down to Marion, since they have all the stores.

It wasn't necessarily the most productive trip... It would be slightly easier if we spent more time with them... but then family you don't spend time with is always much harder to buy for at Christmas.

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