Dogs Don’t Know Its Not Bacon…

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about a quest coming to fruition and possibly some person faults.

It was not long ago that a conversation about bacon and chocolate came up in a friendly chat. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure who came up with this Reesesesque concept, but my story would recall that it was me. In all honesty, however, it doesn’t really matter. The combination of bacon and chocolate has been a hot topic as of late. In my internet roaming, I stumbled upon Vosges, who actually happen to sell a bacon chocolate bar. We searched for it around town and even around Dallas a bit, but it is an elusive little bugger. there were even a few times where I was almost willing to spend $14 on a chocolate bar (thats the bar plus shipping and handling). Monday, we finally had a breakthrough. Angela’s friend Michelle found it at World Market here in town, a place we had looked for it several times. Apparently, word finally got out and they put it in stock.

In a few moments, I will be opening the bar that Angela so graciously and gregariously purchased for me, during my time of month end poverty. I know she, as well as other people, are expectant of my opinion of this holy grail of sweet and salty. So with no further ado, I will proceed to open the package and see what awaits…

…but first, I will share with you, the instructions printed on the package, the proper way to experience this sensual excursion.

Breathe…engage your 5 senses, close your eyes and inhale deeply. Be in the present moment, notice the color of the chocolate, the glossy shine. Rub your thumb over the chocolate bar to release the aromas of smoked applewood bacon flirting with deep milk chocolate. Snap off just a tiny piece and place it in your mouth, let the lust of salt and sweet coat your tongue.

Mo's Bacon BarBeyond the wheat colored sleeve, the bar is wrapped in the same silver lining of all the Vosges bars. I’ll note that, of no consequence, the bar is already broken exactly in half. Is this some other worldly hint that I am to eat half of the bar in this initial sitting? I hope not, I am the type to savor food over a longer period of time, taking smaller portions to make the bulk of the food last longer, rarely eating leftovers the next day so that there is at least a three day experience. I will do what I can to only eat two squares.

The aluminum is difficult to open. I do not recall having this much trouble with bars in the past, but maybe my anticipation is making my fingers weak and uncoordinated. I’ve corrected a surprisingly large number of typos already. The initial scent is very similar to the Barcelona Exotic Bar. The same deep milk chocolate with a hint of savory on the breeze. Even though I put it in the refrigerator after work, just to firm it back up from the hot car ride home, I took it out almost an hour ago to take the chill off. Its already soft again, making it difficult to pull the first two squares out. The scent of bacon is very subtle and almost imperceptible. Its more of an “after smell,” something that exists just beyond the chocolate perfection that all of Vosges deep milk bars are built from.

The feel is familiar, again because of my experience with other bars from the same chocolatier. The bacon bits are immediately apparent in the chocolate, they slide around as the chocolate melts on my tongue. Surprisingly, the taste is more subtle than I expected. The Barcelona (the best Vosges bar to date, in my opinion) was actually more salty. I think the combination of salty, sweet, smooth, and savory are more balanced in this one, and thus more harmonious. The fibrous nature of the bacon, however, is almost jarring with the exceedingly creamy chocolate. Where previous experiences left a salt crystal that melted naturally, the bacon is left to be dealt with all on my own, defiant and resilient.

I honestly cannot decide how I feel about it. In a way, it is superior to previous salty/sweet confections, but at the same time, the bacon left to be chewed almost reminds me of candy’s that leave chewy bits in your teeth. Also, while I understand the limitations of the medium, I almost expected the bacon to be crispier. Perhaps I would have rendered it more to make it almost brittle, but this is still very meaty. I was expecting something more like a nutty crunch, yet still obviously pork, but instead, this is a very solid matter floating in my chocolate. The flavor is perfect in its harmony, but the textures leave a lot of contrast to deal with. I find that larger bites, eaten more aggressively, deal with that conflict better, while still leaving the taste experience. The Barcelona is better served for meditative melting in your mouth, but to eat the bacon bar, you must admit you are a carnivore and plow into it, lest you risk breaking down the components and leaving them to each play solo.

Do not take any of this to think that I do not like it, it is simply a different experience than what I had imagined in anticipation. I now know that I wouldn’t spend $14 to have it delivered to my house, but I would spend $6 if I was already at World Market.

As an addendum, I would like to admit a personal fault of mine that I’m sure many of you are already privy to, but as journals are meant for, I will air my laundry in an attempt to better understand myself.

I have a problem with feeling like I need to experience things first. I’ve often been a groundbreaker of new games, new foods, new movies, etc. I pride myself on finding new things and sharing them with my friends. I sometimes feel like its how I make myself valuable to my peers. I know my friends enjoy my company for reasons far more respectable than that, but its something I’ve had a decent track record with. As I mentioned in my preface, regardless of its validity, I recall being the first to envision bacon chocolate together (please don’t correct me, I’m not interested in the truth or an argument about it – also, if you thought it it first, don’t be offended by my flawed memory, yours probably isn’t all that great either).

So my own history, and my twisted recollection, I somehow felt obligate to be the one to first savor Mo’s Bacon Bar and share my experience… or at least be amongst others who all tried it together. Unfortunately, since I didn’t have money to buy a bar, I had to not only rely upon the unbelievably gracious kindness of Angela, but I also had to wait until today to taste it. It shouldn’t have bothered me that others tried their Bacon Bar first, and I know that. I told myself that repeatedly after the Twitter came in.

Its stupid and I know it. I tried to not let it bother me, and for the most part, it didn’t, which means I’m getting better, but I still know that flaw is in me, and that it surfaces from time to time. There are several other facets to this personality disorder that I am more than passingly aware of, but I’m hoping that sharing like this, and keeping myself vigilant of my own stupid complexes will help me get past them and become a better person. I don’t know exactly who I am trying to improve myself for, but I am definitely aware of my issues and would rather them not affect my friends and have them reflect badly upon me (which, in and of itself, may be yet another flaw).

So, in short, Bacon Bar good, but not as good as my imagination. Personal weakness and need to be a “ground breaker” still present, but fading and more in control.

Originally posted at K. Close III
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There and Back Again…

Thursday, March 13th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about my amazing adventures in Houston and surrounding areas. (its gonna be a long one)

FotoFest. Yes, FotoFest. A two month, biannual festival dedicated to photography that takes over the entire city of Houston. As a burgeoning photographer, and MFA student in the same subject, I am highly encouraged to go every two years to this event. This time around, we were given an opportunity that sounded, and as you will read later truly was, incredible. At FotoFest, there is a portfolio review session available to have professionals in the photography and art world look at your work and offer you guidance, suggestion, and once in a while, a show or other commercially successful opportunities. The chance to attend this review, known as The Meeting Place, is accompanied by a $750 price tag. Between the unwieldy cost, and the fact that I do not yet feel like my work is ready to show, I have not taken advantage of The Meeting Place, but this year, our faculty were able to set up an incredible opportunity. This opportunity was both a blessing and a curse, however, to my Houston adventure.

I am a man with sorely little free time, and after my trip last weekend, I was already in dire need for a little time off. However, a month ago, we were told that we would have the chance to actually sit with one of the reviewers during a full day of portfolio reviews. Essentially, it was the chance to observe fourteen portfolio reviews from an objective standpoint. How awesome is that! What this meant, however, was that if I was going to go to FotoFest and participate in this portfolio review, I had to go on this one particular weekend. A weekend which happened to be, not only in the middle of a very stressful time at work, but also the weekend immediately following the weekend where we went up to Memphis. That’s two weekends in a row where I’m away from home, separated by a super stressful week at work and followed by an even more stressful week. But stress and hectics be damned, I was going to go!

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Originally posted at K. Close III
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Monday, November 21st, 2005 | LiveJournal Archives | 2 Comments

The furnace issue continues to plague us. As I said, I went online to try and find a solution, but that didn’t pan out. Saturday, I contacted a local HVAC service company and they didn’t return my call until today. Rather than schedule a visit, they instead gave me some more things to test and check out. Still we have flame, but no flame detection. This has gone beyond frustrating to just boringly annoying. I’m getting to where I firmly believe I cannot fix it in my house and that something is truly wrong, but I’d rather fix it if just to save money. I appreciate the people at Cogburn’s trying to help me out, I really do, but I’m just getting tired of it being cold in the house. Now, even when its 60°+ outside, it barely peaks at 59° in the house. Its gotten to where we would almost be warmer by just opening up all the windows.

On the positive side, I borrowed some wood from corwin75 on Saturday, and on the way home got an inspiration to check out one of the many locations I’ve been photographing for trees that have been cleared. I actually found a pretty good cache of wood to burn, unfortunately, the stuff that would actually fit in my Baja was a bit old and rotted. It still burns, but it burns up really fast. There were a couple tree-trunks there (about 2-3 feet in diameter and almost 25 feet long) of exceptional quality that would probably last us a year or more. Too bad I have no way to collect them.

Webber Hinged Cooking GrateAnyway, we went out and got the grill grate I’ve been wanting for a couple years now, specifically for Thanksgiving. Its got hinged sides so that after an hour or so of cooking, when you need to add more coals, you don’t have to try and juggle a 12 pound turkey resting on the cooking grate long enough to pour a new chimney starter worth of blazingly hot coals into the grill. You know, I’m just trying to make life easier. I do feel a little bad because we actually just bought a new grill grate about three months ago because the old one was beyond cleaning. So now we have two… Guess I’ll just use one for special occasions when I think I might need to dump in some extra coals. We also picked up a bag of Applewood chips to help smoke that bird. Its shaping up to be a really good turkey. I almost wish it was bigger. Those leftovers are hardly going to last. I need to remember to take a container for the leftover turkey as well. So on Turkey day I have to remember the following:

  • Grill (duh)
  • new Grill grate
  • charcoal
  • applewood chips
  • drip pan (or two)
  • container for leftovers
  • welding gloves (just in case)
  • chimney starter
  • newspaper
  • wand lighter
  • meat thermometer
  • and, of course, the Turkey

Also, I want to try to clean out the lid of the grill before then too, just to clear out some of the soot. I hope this turkey comes out even half as good as the first one. Mmmmmmm. Turkey.

Todd RundgrenHello It’s MeThe Virgin Suicides: Music From the Motion Picture [Emperor Norton]

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Thursday, August 11th, 2005 | LiveJournal Archives | 4 Comments

So I’ve been doing a shit ton of nothing lately… and getting fat doing it. Its birthday season again around all my friends, so it’s cake day after cake day after cake day. Monday I get a chocolate chip cookie cake and I’m going to love it! I’m supposed to work out tonight, and while I feel fat and probably should, my stomach feels like a lead pancake and would probably make me grumpy in the end. Besides, I just don’t feel like it. Unfortunately, we can’t go next week at all either, so it’s now or never for the two weeks.

I’ve renewed my appreciation of Boom Boom Satellites only to find that I can’t get any of their music from any service I currently have access to. They’re not on iTunes or MusicMatch. I have pretty much moved away from CDs, so I don’t really want to invest in more plastic. Even if I decided to do so, their albums are all imports and cost $25-50. So frustrating. And of course there is nothing to be found on Torrent.

Tomorrow night is Movie Night, and as I announced two weeks ago, we’re watching Spinal Tap, so bring your extra drummer and come along. Beer is a must for this one because they do go to eleven and the are green.

I’ve been pretty lazy on WoW the past few days, but that’s how I play, and it keeps me from burning myself out. Heather’s got a baby shower this saturday, so I’ll probably waste away my day on WoW. Until then, the Netflix movies are starting to pile up.

I’ve gotten 8 of those laptops out of the office, as well as four of the iMacs. I’m digging a hole, and all the while Steve is watching movies and Craig is cleaning house (no bitterness – bastards).

Anyway, I should get back to building an iMac so I can get even more room in here. If only I could take one of them home, WoW would be kickass on one of those wide screen mofos.

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Monday, July 25th, 2005 | LiveJournal Archives | 11 Comments

Thanks invisibelle for turning me on to this blog. It’s one of the funniest pages I’ve read in a while.

The label says “Ready to Eat.” They left off “By Dumb-Asses.”

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Monday, July 11th, 2005 | LiveJournal Archives | 6 Comments

Well, as seems to be the most popular way to update journals, it’s Monday and I feel like writing about what I did this weekend.

Friday was pretty uneventful, but in a good way. Heather and I had a nice dinner, watched some movies and TV and I played a little WoW. Finally got my Horde character into the double digits and got to spend that first talent point. Also got absorbed into the new guild, so I am no longer a Crimson Eye, I’m now a Maleficient. I noticed that these guilds are a lot more active and effective and not just a social gathering. I need to figure out how to instill those ideas into the Silver Talons.

Saturday, we went to the Movie Tavern for spazzy444‘s birthday. We saw the Fantasic Four, and while Heather and I would probably have enjoyed Batman Begins a bit more, we still had a good time and the movie was pretty fun. I thought the food was fairly good and for $30 we got two tickets, an appetizer, two meals, two drinks and a dessert. I don’t think two people can go on a cheaper “dinner and a movie date” anywhere. zero_interrupt and I got this 82oz, self cooled tower of beer, too. It was a bit tough to pour up drinks in the dark (we could have left it up on the table/bar area which is dimly lit, but then we wouldnt’ have been able to see half the screen, so we put it on the floor) but it was really different to have beer in the theatre. It was $13 for whole 82 oz and we weren’t able to finish it during the movie. You can also get a 38oz mug of beer for $12 but that breaks down to $7 for the mug and $5 for the beer. The cool thing is, you can keep the mug and come back again and fill it up for $5 every time you see a movie. How cool is that? I’ll have to determine if Heather and I will be going with any kind of frequency before I invest my $7 though.

I had just enough time to get home, get my stuff, and head back out to go to Steve’s D&D game – which went well. We got to do some investigating, some killing, some more climbing (ugh) and made off with some pretty decent booty. Steve did, however, remember why he doesn’t run pre-written modules and next time we will be back in the City, following some original stories of death and intrigue in the city of towers.

Sunday I worked on my D&D setting. Yeah, you have to go pretty far back in my past journal entries to find the last time I said that. I think I’ve finally got myself a method that works for development. Its a bit more chaotic than my previous attempts, but at the same time more organized. I’m defintely further along than I ever have been before. Speaking of which, I have more to plan for the setting.

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Wednesday, July 6th, 2005 | LiveJournal Archives | 5 Comments

Every time I go to RiceBox here in Denton, I see this print. There is no information on the print itself (signature, date, etc.) so I’m stuck looking at the picture trying to figure out how I’m going to find a copy. If you recognize this and know where I might find a copy for purchase, please let me know.


Friday, July 1st, 2005 | LiveJournal Archives | 7 Comments

So, Heather and I have still been really bad about our excersize routines, in that we don’t stick to a schedule very well. We’re supposed to go three times a week, but we’re lucky if we go twice. And unfortunately, our excuse is usually laziness. At any rate, we went last night and I felt good about it… it didn’t feel like a chore, it felt good. I was a little sick when I was done, but I still felt good, even when I got home. I just wish I could quit yawning at the gym. What’s up with that.

We finished MI-5 season one last night. Stupid cliffhanger. I had to go to the website and look up a spoiler from season two just to be able to relax afterwards. Thought about playing some World of Warcraft, but I made cookies instead (actually we watched MI-5 after I made cookies, but who cares, right). I used to bake a lot more cookies, but I’ve been lazy lately. Made these cool carrot cookies. They’re a bit like flat bran muffins, but not really. I was amazed that at the end of a desperate month, we had every ingredient in the right quantity already in the house to make them by the book. I didn’t have to fudge anything. I also used Heather’s wierd rubber non-stick mat, and it really works, it’s really non-stick. I don’t get it. I put this thing down on the table at one point while I monkeyed with some stuff, and when I picked it up, everything on the table was stuck to it. But when I baked cookies on it, the just fell right off. Amazing!

So, tonight is movie night and I’m having a twitch at the back of my neck that it’s going to be a low show night. I really want to watch 50 First Dates and I think I’m just going to have to give in and watch it with a small crowd, even though I think most of our regulars would really enjoy it. They just can’t get past the fact that it’s an Adam Sandler movie. OF course, I’ve also been dying to see Ravenous again, also. I’m fairly certina blu3warri0r‘s wife will dig it… and I’ve just been in the mood since I’ve been listening to Damon Albarn music lately.

Wow, I’ve been here almost an hour and I’ve gotten no email and no new posts on Livejournal. It must be time to find something else to distract myself with.

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Wednesday, June 15th, 2005 | LiveJournal Archives | 2 Comments

I’m supposed to be reconciling my Purchasing Card for work, but that’s one of my least favorite activities – so I’m stalling.

Anyway, just in case you can’t hear or didn’t listen to the last phone post, Movie Night is on this Friday and we’ll be watching 50 First Dates. Now contrary to popular belief, this is not really an Adam Sandler movie, so please, if you are hesitant to come, I would encourage you to come anyway because this movie is really cute. I showed it to my parents and I wouldn’t really do that with any other Adam Sandler movie. Anyway, if you do decide to show up, its in the normal place at the normal time, and we’ll be watching the normal TV this time around (sorry no 89 inch projection this time around).

I lost my red notebook. It has all the notes for what I need to do to start fixing my novel. I have been wanting to work on my novel some more, but aside from not really having the time yet, I can’t find my notes, so I’m at a bit of a standstill. Please, if you see my red notebook, please let me know.

This past weekend was a bit better than expected, to be honest. Before heading out of town, we filled up on gas and stopped by the Kroger to get Wine and Beer. People look at you funny when you buy two bottles of wine and a 12-pack of beer at 8 in the morning. We drove 8 hours up to Memphis (West Memphis to be exact – my grandparents moved out of the city when FedEx tried to block out the sun) and spent the evening with Jeremy, Christy, Mom, Dad, Nony (my grandmother) and Grandpa. We laughed a lot and drank a lot and generally had a good time. Truthfully, that’s the family reunion I was most looking forward to. Heather was apparently either very bored or very stressed because she drank all but two inches of the first bottle of wine – more than I’ve ever seen her drink in a sitting. I mentioned that I had brought my Geocaching equipment and that we could go out and do a cache or two in our free time on Saturday. When I first started talking about it, my Grandfather seemed genuinely interested, but when I started talking about The Bell Witch, I think he became very confused and somewhat addled.

At any rate, around ten, Heather, Cristy, Jeremy, and myself headed out to the mystery hotel. No one had ever stayed there and Nony just kind of picked it out of a hat. First off, they wouldn’t use the credit card with which the room had been reserved, so I had to bust out the credit card of my own to get the room. When we got to the rooms, they were, uh, functional. I kind of get the impression they’re fixing the place up, but we caught them mid way. The exterior was a mix of fresh stucco and rotten concrete. The main room looked nice, though half of the lights didn’t work. The bathroom on the other hand, while it didn’t look unsanitary, wasn’t necesarily inviting either.

Either way, we crashed out about midnight, resting up for the “festivities” of the following day. My night’s rest was not as complete as I could have wanted as something in my intestines decided it needed out very badly and I spent the entire night getting up every two hours to go to the uninviting bathroom. Without going into too much detail, by morning, I’d gotten up 5 times, gotten a lot of reading done, and was genuinely tired of pooping. I was fairly certain I was doing better when we headed out to find breakfast in this one horse town in Arkansas. After much deliberation (and our first visit to Wa-lMart on this trip), we finally decided to eat at Shoney’s. They had a breakfast buffet on until 2:00 so we had our run of the place. I ate too much grease and regretted it a bit after my nocturnal adventures the night before. We had a 2 hour drive down to Enid and that passed relatively uneventfully. Along the way, I learned that toilets in Mississippi have no locks, bought a lot of bottled water to help flush out my system and rode out the rest of the trip in relative comfort.

We got to the hotel about two hours ahead of time so we decided to actually do one of the Geocaches. Jeremy and Christy had never done one, so when I told Jeremy it was 5 miles “that-a-way” he was understandably confused. We drove around for a half an hour or so until we finally found the set of trails that the cache was hidden within and got to get out of the car. It went really well for having no idea where anything was and really just following an arrow to get where we were going. Christy took a puzzle from the cache and we replaced it with a matchbox car and a glasses case. She got really excited about the prospects of using Geocaching in her Science labs at school and even said she was going to write a grant to get it added to her curriculums. I’m looking forward to hearing more about that. We looked at the time and realize we still had over an hour before we had to be back at the hotel, so we headed off to find another cache but it was constantly just out of reach. No matter what lake road we went down, when we hit a dead end at the water, the beacon told us it was a little further to the east. We finally had to give up and head back to the hotel.

That night we went to a burger cookout at Enid lake for all the people who showed up the day before the reunion. Good food. I got to hang out with my cousins Cody and Bridgit. They’ve grown into very cool and interesting people. I wish we had more time to talk and hang out, but we at least got to chat with Cody a lot. Bridgit was constantly off talking to other people (when she wasn’t biting me or giving me wet willies that is). We got kinda bored after a while and Cody was obviously bored, so we offered to give him a ride back to the hotel and let him hang out in our room and watch TV, but he seemed a bit reluctant. We didn’t push the issue, which probably was for the best when as the evening got on. I was still pretty confident I’d beaten whatever had kept me up the night before – until I had just about finished dinner and my guts started tying themselves into knots. I finally had to have Jeremy rush us back to the hotel (I’d heard bad things about the bathrooms at the lake) and dump me out of the car at the door to the room while they went back to Wal-Mart (the second visit) to get me some happy pink stuff. It turned out that pretty much everyone had given up on the cookout around the same time we had and by the time I was feeling better, we were able to go up and spend some time in my parents room. I did feel a little bad because apparently Heather, Mom, and I all watched a lot of the same TV this past season, so we talked about that a whole lot, which left Jeremy and Christy out of the conversation. There was just some really good TV on this past season, what can I say?

The next night went well, I think I only got up once. The next day we headed out for the official reunion which was fun while being too long and too short at the same time. Again, Cody was pretty bored so it ended up being six of us sititng at a table as “outsiders” for the most part – Jeremy, Christy, Heather, Dad, Cody and myself. We talked and joked a lot, but mostly just grumbled about not knowing anyone and being bored. Dad did mention that he was feeling about like I sounded the day before, and I did see him head up the hill toward the bathrooms quite a few times. I don’t know what hit us, but it wasn’t the best time or place to do so. At one point, Mom insisted that I show her my tattoo. She said it wasn’t pretty – I wasn’t exactly sure how to take that comment. My grandfather, when he found out about it, gave me the same look as he did when I had been talking about the Bell Witch two days earlier. Eventually, my, uh, cousin? uncle? this guy I’m related to brought out the skiboat and I really debated going water skiing. I don’t get many opportunities to do so, and I really enjoy it – besides, the last time he tried to pull me, I never got my ballance, so I kind of wanted to prove myself. In the end, it was too late to do it and I decided that next time I would definitely go skiing. That evening we drove back to West Memphis, drank some more, ate leftovers and finally said our goodbyes. I almost forgot to return my family slides on the way out (we’d been in Jeremy’s car since Friday evening, so I hadn’t even thought of them), but luckilly I noticed them when I started packing our car back up in the driveway.

One more night in the mystery hotel and we were on the way home the next morning. We got about 150 miles in when the Check Engine light came on. Heather nosed around in the manual and decided it wasn’t as bad as if it was flashing, but we still looked up where the nearest dealership was. We found one in Little Rock and made a bit of a detour to get to it. It took them about an hour to fix the car but it was all waranteed so we didn’t have to pay anything. It would have been nice if we were in walking distance of any place to eat (other than a Kroger) since we were there around lunch and stuck not travelling. At least that way, we could have condensed our time off the road. I did get to see the new Subaru Tribeca. Its a luxury car alright – no doubts about it. I decided that if I was forced to get an SUV, it’d be the Tribeca (not the Murano as I had initially intended). I also got to see the new bed cover for the 2005 Baja. It was not big thrills. We skipped lunch (since we were forced to stop for repairs) and got home around 5:30. All in all, it was a good trip and I feel like the driving was worth it. Mom said she’s going to send us a refund for the one night in the hotel that I had to pay for, as well as gas money, so that makes it even more worth while.

Yesterday, my brother called me. It turns out that after talking about WoW while we were up there, he’s got an itch to try it out. If you have a 10 day free pass, I can hook him up with that so he can decide if it’s better than EQ2.

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