You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2011.

Concept kiosk (MetroChange.Org)

For those of us who take the metro (subway), we’ve had those days when we had some money left over.

It is just an odd amount and never enough to hit zero. It is by design, of course by the vendor and the city who has these infernal machines working. “The flimsy plastic MetroCards are often chucked or ignored when the balance runs below the value of a ride, amounting to more than $52 million in unused fares each year,” Zak Stone, editor for The Daily Good.

It is part of city mass transportation life, however.

But what if there was a way to make use of that amount to help a good cause.

A group of NYU students have come up with a concept. It’s called the “MetroChange”.

What it is, is a transactional kiosk which enables the commuter to donate amounts from that metro card.

“There is a kiosk with Arduino, ethernet shield, LCD screen, IR transmitter and receiver, and mag-stripe reader”), and that each person donating would be able to choose on the kiosk which charity to donate to.

Easy peasy, I do declare.

“According to MetroChange, the idea would work best if the kiosks targeted tourists, who are less likely to refill their cards. But while it sounds like a simple, effective idea, founders Stepan Boltalin, Genevieve Hoffman, and Paul Maywill need to convince a key partner to sign on: the MTA.”

Pretty sure the MTA and the city will be hard nuts to crack, but lets see how things shake out.

Additional reading here:  Good.Is and here: SpringWise.Org

Their website is:  www.metrochange.org

MetroChange.Org’s Flickr page:  Flickr

Swipe and Donate. (MetroChange.Org)

LCD info. (MetroChange.Org)

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Drew Brees has broken the NFL record for yards passing in a season, surpassing a mark that had stood since Dan Marino set it in 1984- AP

Dan Marino was fab. I cheered for him because of his U of Pitt pedigree, and for his sinew like elbows that snapped footballs out of his palms like lightning.

He had some good ‘snap’ with that right arm of his.

Then comes this lowly drafted (Marino was picked 1st round, Brees in the 2nd round) Boilermaker and sets a new record. How about that.

It isn’t everyday that a QB record is broken, so I celebrate (albeit belated) with Drew Brees and the NFL the new set record.

Although I’m sure Dan was a bit peeved about the news, but took composure and was pro about it.

However, that surpassing of the passing total mark was a primary element to Marino’s legendary standing in sports, the breaking of that mark, just might tarnish his brand a bit.

Well, at least Brees doesn’t have a Super Bowl ring.

Oops. Actually Brees does, doesn’t he? Kudos.

Dan Marino in University of Pittsburgh colors in the 80's (sportsillustrated.cnn.com)

Brees with that way over-hand delivery of the football, at Purdue. (sportsillustrated.cnn.com)

Hate people looking or sneaking a peek over your shoulder while you are concentrating to create the most fantabulous work, in the world?

One quirky, but possibly efficient way to state: “Get the F away from me”, and at the same time give a nice little virtual birdie to your half wit co-workers, is the EFI. It is a design by Mathieu Servais and it’s a kicker.

The EFI is a self sphere protector for more privacy. Convenience of noise diluting foam and Internet/Social connectivity while activated, makes this one of the most bizarre and tasty design ideas.

Via YankoDesign.Com

Visit the designer at mathieuservais.com

Look at that beautiful shade of green... (www.mathieuservais.com)

Online service while your shades are down. (www.mathieuservais.com)

Nope. Not a huge lamp. But a "stop peeking" advertisement. (www.mathieuservais.com)

Alien in its looks, but possibly conceptually practical. (www.mathieuservais.com)

I try not to be or become too “gadget” oriented. I try to do my work, with what I have and which I can afford, at the time.

However, that doesn’t mean I can’t dream about those ooey gooey fun and gadget-y machineries, right?

Anyway, I can say that I love gadgets. If I was a millionaire I’d be looking into many things gadget (but I’d be lying, because I’d be getting custom cafe racers, a Ferrari, and many other finer things, in addition to this list).

That is why below are my next “kinda-realistic” gadgets I’d think I could/should be able to afford in the near future” (knock on wood), office equipment (I’ll do a “Tier 1” level gadget wish list later).

Drobo, Maschine, Canon, oh my!

Suffice it to say, my list here is a bit eclectic. It isn’t catering to a pure single category, for sure. It does however does cater to some tastes of mine- both practical and indulgent.

This list would satisfy my data security dreads, my data processing/collecting power trip fantasy, my taste-making old skook hip hop fantasy, and my Speedy Gonzales  output proper.

I think, all in all, these practical gadgets will quell any guilt for the new owners because of the practical and usefulness of existence, and also satisfy the purity of owning some of the most powerful consumer electronics out in the market.

So, cheers all.  Lets try and get there. I sure will.

Drobo Pro (Drobo)

Easily add up to 24TB of storage to a workstation or small office server without having to learn anything about storage administration. Just insert up to 8 disk drives into the DroboPro.

It’s a RAID system, so hot swap away! And from Drobo’s PR department, this machine will be able to efficiently use the maximum amount of the total space available from the inserted HD. This means, data will be duplicated on multiple HDs, correctly preventing any one HD failures from ruining a perfectly good day at the office.

My initial thought of this came from paid and non-paid sponsorship of the brand from pro photographers. I’m a photographer, as well, so when you think of all your hard earned images being destroyed, the Drobo (or systems like it) would be a good way to go.

I think it is a sensible way to go.

One of these 8 Bay models will reel you back about $1,300 (which is without the cost for the 8 HDs). But as witnesses tell, it is one of the more easier NAS systems out there. Which is important for us non-server geeks.

Canon 1D X (Canon USA)

The 1D X is for the moment, the new flagship of Canon’s EOS professional line of DSLR.

It boasts 18.1 MP CMOS sensor and new Dual DIGIC 5+ image processors for high grade image quality. The shutter pumps out 12 fps. A ridiculous 51,200 ISO range (which can be adjusted to hit a whopping 204,800 in H2 mode).

The big change is the new 61 point High Density Reticular AF system and 100,000 pixel RGB metering sensor (with dedicated Digic 4 image processor).

In addition, there is an improved HD video capture standard, numerous connectivity options, combination of processing power, durable/weather sealed construction, and a 400,000 cycle battle tested shutter durability.

The debate whether Canon or Nikon makes the best flag ship DSLR, will always rage on. But the Canon 1D X, no doubt, has high marks for the “drool factor”

It surely is a beauty in practical application in photography. Kudos.

Oh and this one will cost around $7,000 (just the body).

HP Laser Jet P4013n (HP)

I usually don’t prefer All-in-One printers of any kind.

In the past, All-in-One printers just was average at all of its functions. They were done satisfactorily, but not at their best.

Unlike working for a big company, at the home office, it’s easy to look past those All-in-One blues. For it’s more efficient to get one of these, then shell out for multiple printing machines.

The HP Laser Jet P4013n is a good one. It’s HP, a great brand for printer category, it spits out 21 pages per minute (black and in color), holds around 2,500 regular stock sheets in its ‘belly’, quality is very much acceptable from other sources, and at around $700, it looks cool and it does its job. This printer also is a Laser Jet, so it is the quality of print that we mortals are seeking, day to day.

So, lets make those invoices shine for the clients!

Apple Mac Pro (Apple)

“The Quad-Core Intel Xeon “Nehalem” processor is available in a single-processor, quad-core configuration at speeds up to 3.2GHz. For even greater speed and power, choose the “Westmere” series, Intel’s next-generation processor based on its latest 32-nm process technology.”- Apple PR

Choice of 3,6,8 GB models, 1TB of memory, ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB GDDR5 card, and one Server model is also available.

The Mac Pro has been a favorite of designers alike for many years and still is a gold standard for designers everywhere. Hands down the most elegant, in my opinion, as well as powerful.

As do any Mac, the pro model demonstrates its power from its OS X.  From many many USB, Firewire, built in wi-fi, bluetooth, the Mac Pro is stacked in standards. Plus, it is expandable to a very high level of performance. Make it a small group server, with just an addition of OS X Server software.

Nice. And so cool sitting on the office table.

The Mac Pro towers will set you back, starting from $2,500 and up. No monitor included of course.

Native Instruments Maschine (Native-Instruments)

I am not a full musician of any kind.

Sure, I’d dabbled with my Ibanez bass & some acoustic guitar during my high school “Battle of The Bands” stint. But I am not, by any means, skilled at making repeatable and original beats, as the pros.

Not until I saw a video promo made by Native Instruments, the marketer of the Maschine line of music producers. At least I could try to be like the pros, on this Maschine, machine.

Some sources say that there are 2 eras in hip hop production: one BEFORE Maschine (BM), and one AFTER Maschine (AM). There was a time beat producers had to choose from MPC style machines and non-tactile computer softwares.

Then came Maschine and producers everywhere, didn’t have to choose any longer.

I can’t explain how cool the Maschine is. So, go click HERE and see some demos on vid.

The Maschine line starts from around $400, but it has so much packed in power, it’s like having all your essential instruments in one. Bass, drums, percussions, guitar, synthesizer tools, and etc.

So, go try it, and you’re surely closer to hip hop beats stardom.

“Tumbling”

Fascination of time and space. Falling forward without a trace.

Warm with caress. To it I embrace.

Come to me tenderly, tumbling and tumbling hand in hand.

All words and images copyright mediaform jasonkim photograph

Taiyaki vendor marketing (tokyobling.wordpress.com)

Taiyaki is beautiful.

I’m no Foodie. But I love these little treats.

If you are not familiar, Taiyaki is a Japanese style treat, which was started by a gentleman in Japan at the turn of the 20th Century. This style of pastry has been a tradition ever since.

It is a pastry that is so memorable to me. I remember eating similar products, in Seoul South Korea, before my family immigrated. It’s such a simple product. Relatively fresh, and only has little white processed sugar. Yum.

It is beloved world over, but most popular in Japan (Taiyaki たい焼き), and in Korea (Bungeoppang 붕어)

Ready for the finish (hararie-japan-tokyo-tokyo.com)

The pastry’s recipe is simple: seasoned flour and eggs, sugar, and red azuki beans. The red bean paste is filled within the waffle exterior, cooked in traditional molds.

But it’s the simplicity that is hard to get right. Heat has to be right, the prep of the beans must be thoughtful, and the batter supporting the bean paste to the hilt.

In Japan, it is sold freshly made at street side stands. The steam mixing in the air is dreamy, if you an imagine.

A Taiyaki stand (theworldtastesgood.blogspot.com)

A chef at work (dannychoo.com)

SO WHAT ARE SOME TOP TAIYAKI SHAPES?

The undisputed gargantuan of Taiyaki shapes is the Fish Shape. Cuteness and deliciousness, in an uncompromising package of goodness, for sure.

However, what are the other shapes that adorn the street vendors in Japan and world wide? Here are the contenders!

The most popular Taiyaki Fish Shape (newyork.seriouseats.com)

Also very popular 'Traditional Pancake' shape (kcpinternational.net)

Walnuts so fun-pular! (tleaves.com)

Different colored batter (global.rakuten.com)

Miniatures! (madminiatures.blogspot.com)

Hello Kitty anyone?? (jonellepatrick.wordpress.com)

Taiyaki Gundam. Enough said (kawaiikakkoiisugoi.com)

Taiyaki Tengu of the Japanese Gods (blog.sondy.com)

So, if you haven’t had one of these delectable delights, please go where it’s available.

Around me (Northern NJ), there is a Japanese styled supermarket named Mitsuwa (9 location nationwide) where we eat these little pockets of heaven. Most of us here in northern NJ and NYC know about the supermarket and its awesome vendors inside. We visit often, for sure.

Also, if this list peaked your interest, please try this YouTube channel to see how a Taiyaki is made. And at the same time this video production will tickle your foodie drool, even more. Fun stuff.

VISIT THE INSTRUCTIONAL & AMUSING VIDEO by clicking HERE (Woof!)

Cheers for now, and I think we’ll head for some Taiyaki next week.

Photo Credit: DailyHarrison.com

Newark. Core city revitalization in the making. But will it be quick enough?

Looking at the city of Newark on Google Maps, it has all the potential for a super city. Superb location… check. Diverse gateway infrastructure… check. Dynamic downtown large business base… check. Blue collar industrial workforce… check. Within arms-length from powerhouse neighbors (i.e. the Meadowlands, Jersey City, Morristown, NYC)…. check. Large population…. check. And hub for national and international transportation infrastructure (i.e. Newark Liberty International Airport)… check.

So, with such potential, why has there been such slow progress.

And is it too late for Newark? Will it be permanently, a slumbering giant which will never achieve its full potential- again?

“The mayor of Newark wants to set up a citywide program to improve residents’ health. The health care program would consist of a bus ticket out of Newark”- Conan O’Brian 2009.

Like any other “Gotham”, it has its dark sides and the scars to prove it.

Newark NJ‘s story is long and socially checkered. But recent and large scale efforts have been planned for the next decade. Developed for the betterment of the community, this human endeavor has driven the city to how it is now- with substantially wider stance and athletic poise.

That seems to be the first phase of the plan.

As cities go, Newark has had its ups and downs. And no other social earthquake more represented the downward spiral than the Newark Riots of 1967- historically noted as the most central event which officially helped accelerate Newark’s economic and social disintegration.

Fast forward to today, the scars are still apparent. The city has 28.4% of its population and 25.5% of families below the poverty line (that is less than $11,000 per year for an individual). City’s unemployment rate has been hovering at 9.4-10%.

Progress has been slow and the middle class of Newark hasn’t grown enough, in the past 40 years.

Directly born out of mis-management of its policies and corruption from it’s head executives (6 prior mayors identified in corruption since the 1930’s), Newark had major hurdles and difficulties. Of course, the city wasn’t the only one to be affected by rampant corruption. But it surely had defaulted in systematically trying to catch up to the levels of today’s comparable cities. Newark simply was at a stand still and “wasn’t functioning”.

Since the hay-days of the 1940’s, Newark had lost 100,000+ of its populous, ever lower production, and wider gap in income levels. Crime had accelerated at a steady pace throughout the city. Deaths had grossly solidified the public’s attitudes. In 1996, TIME magazine elected Newark as the most dangerous city in the Nation (although by 2007, Newark made great headway and was better ranked at #22). This was non more apparent, then when Conan O’Brian and Mayor Cory Booker (current mayor) was in a 2009 public “feud”. Conan fired the first large salvo stating in a monologue on his show:“The mayor of Newark wants to set up a citywide program to improve residents’ health. The health care program would consist of a bus ticket out of Newark”. Although, the two protagonists shook hands and ‘made up’, the sentiments on the ‘brand’ of Newark, was still dark and tarnished in the eyes of the public.

Despite of it all, Newark is (and still can be), a large and important part for the State of NJ– helping drive the narrative for the state as a whole…

The Strengths, Strengthened::

Despite of it all, Newark is (and still can be), a large and important part for the State of NJ- helping drive the narrative for the state as a whole- successfully developing and nurturing its middle class, strengthening its resolve, communities, and revitalizing the city’s brand. Although it can be seen as a ‘drain’ on resources, in many ways, but there’s no doubt that the history of Newark (both good and bad) is the soul of NJ.

Newark’s biggest strength is that it’s a gateway nationally and internationally, and being a hub of air, road, rail and ship traffic. For example, Newark Liberty International Airport is the 2nd busiest in NYC area airports and the 14th busiest in the US. Port Newark is the 15th busiest in the US. Largest port in the eastern seaboard. The city easily has access from major arteries, including NJ Turnpike and the Garden State PWY. All significant railways stop at Newark’s Penn Station including PATH, NJ Transit, AMTRAK, Newark Light Rail, AirTrain Newark

The city also boasts the NJ Performance Arts Center, The Prudential Center, Newark Symphony Hall, NJ State Opera, Garden State Ballet, Newark Library (largest in NJ); the Newark is also the home of NJ Devils (NHL), NJ Nets (NBA), Red Bulls (MLS), Newark Bears (Can-Am League), NY Liberty (WNBA), and so forth.

These income pillars will give Newark the leeway, which it will need.

With a renewed “Citizens First” criteria, the plan has been to move light speed forward to a newer economy, which would attract, settle, and develop higher paid and higher educated Newark citizens.

The Future of Newark::

Yes. There certainly can be a bright future for Newark and its residents.

Leap Frogging” can summarize what Newark and its administration has been pushing, in the last several years. With things being equal and the city not made a “police state”, it certainly is an energizing initiative.

The plan has been to (1)leverage the strengths of Newark, (2) benefit by strengthening the core attributes of Newark, (3) strengthen its educational philosophies & practices, and (4) supply opportunities to its citizens- both residents and businesses. The city aims to tackle these by implementing smarter land development, better business partnerships, water protection, green neighborhood initiatives, smarter energy consumption, green workforce, and public health agendas.

It’s a hearty and hefty task, to be sure. A legacy like Newark will be hard to steer on to the better rails, quickly. However, the vision is high and achievable- albeit a plan that can take decades.

With a renewed “Citizens First” criteria, the plan has been to move light speed forward to a newer economy, which would attract, settle, and develop higher paid and higher educated Newark citizens.

And the very important middle class, can return.

Summary::

Founded in 1666, by Connecticut Puritans, Newark’s glorious decades started in the industrial revolution- initially powered on the back of leather refining. It has come a long way, and has even a longer way to go. But in some sense, the city has turned a corner and out of that hole it had dug itself in from its past.

Simply, the city is getting ready for the ‘money shot’. And the public and its residents can’t wait to see the city get there.

The question is, will Newark be ‘lost’ in its way, again? Who knows.

But as a premier NJ powerhouse city, Newark no doubt has the constitution to recover (sans government corruption).

And for opportunity seekers, out there, Newark can be a great place to look.

Lets just keep the fingers crossed.

—-

Article by Jason Kim appears on CityJuJu.Com HERE

Monroe Tropics (words by Jason Kim)

The retribution diabolically handled with unforgettable execution demands respect to the inept ultimate.

Proficient and detailed, Parsons walked to the rights of the curb. Distinct in his work and patience, oozed the ooze each watcher forgave voluntarily.

The watch indicated the seemingly triangulating monsoon particular to that summer’s afternoon. Dauntingly dragging his epsilon, onto the crest of his white beaten button top.

He stroke that match, kissing that fragrant lock trapped within the classic but unmistakable coffin which evenly scorched the pleasure into the cortex of his heart and brain.

The bodies of wretched recluse, whom lied within his breast pocket, until summoned quietly and effortlessly, called for death and silent short conversation. Hessians dedicated to the fuming endeavor. Three died within those 15 minutes.


It was time.

Parsons was regretful, in his view and from without.

He’d done a bad thing.

He’d done a very bad thing.

The memories of the tyrannical deeds, done to height. It had to be done. He didn’t know. Second guess? No.

She was a beauty. Glimpse of her sheen deflected across the blue Chevy, classic and gorgeous. Catlike eyes, stilting long legs. Oh what a cool drink of tequila. Oh a shot would be good right now.

His destiny wasn’t complete. He could not stop. Couldn’t be distracted. He was doomed. He knew it.

Dragging weights on shoulders he’s never felt, clogged up and down the knees forward. They were heavy, he reckoned. Indeed they were.

The heat was damning. It pierced the heavy and humid air, with a zap and zip. Scorching the linen, parching his skin, drowning the cells in understood monotony.

His mind was too cluttered, step by step. Cacophony of silence and images flooded in front of his visuals.

“I’m sorry for what I’d done, Rachel“, he murmured, under his breath, as he slowly wiped the speckle of sweat from his eye brows.

“I’m sorry for what I am. I’m sorry.”

He closed his eyes, for a micro second. He walked again.

It wasn’t always like this. Trembling with fear now, Parsons was a man’s man. A man who could predict the outcome, and get it done.

It was 1995, on a hot day like it was today. It was his glory years, he thought to himself.

You see, he was the best. The best damn gangster on this side of the tracks. And he knew it.

Best of all, everyone else knew it.

“I made it happen…I was king…”, he murmured to himself again. His eyes now were glazed with pity, putrified and stagnant.


Destiny in its holy might, never could foresee, the density in challenges, collecting on to one’s feet. A pool of hope, redemption, science, regret, retribution, harm, forgiveness, triumph, calculation, bargaining, and silence- collections of a hateful encyclopedic emblem of knowledge and anti-knowledge.

All is to avail. Useless and deleting.

Collar no longer stiff, dripping with thickness of his sweat. Clear and focused, his fedora hat stained with guilt. Guilt longing for its pass, to carry further the stench of undoing. Destruction set from the first time, and only time.

“What have I done…”


Parsons was here now.

Have you ever had a thought like this?

“Man, what can I do with these shipping pallets, I have lying around my house.”

Don’t we all??

In any case, the folks at MOST Architecuture proposed and delivered a most stunning and visually satisfying of designs for indoor office environment.

Functional, practical, lean, mean, and Green focused, the office of BrandBase looks just fantastic.

The beauty, of course is within the mind and heart of what the design implicates. The pallets have been used to create work desk areas for inividual employees, conference desk areas, flooring footprint, plus methods in gettting up and down from floor to floor.

The ingenious and beautiful design surely possesses the ‘wow’ factor for the client’s customers. It surely gets my vote on innovative thinking and outside of the box execution.

I commend such designs, and I am jealous I’m not rich enough to have a space that I can use such artistic inspirations.

To make it even more “Euro Chic”, the top office has some IKEA shelving furniture for good measure. Yum.

Read Further @ Unplugged

Like all lyrics of a song, from a rock and roll icon or not, can (sometimes) not possess the kind of meaning that one reflects the lyrics to have.

Image copyright mediaform jasonkim photograph

The song is “Fire in the Sky” by Ozzy Osbourne. Yes. I am a fan of Ozzy Osbourne. Have been a listener of his work ever since my first encounter with “heavy rock”, “metal”, or “heavy metal” (well, at least for the likes of early 1990’s.

As a short intro, I’d been into “heavy metal” music and groups since freshman in high school. It was certainly not “in the cards” for a Korean-American to be a fan of such persuasion. But it did happen.  As kids do, we struck to many of the time’s biggest musical trends. I happened to be into the “rock and roll / metal” phase.

And you know, I never lost it. For me, a great kick-ass rock music just tops a mood, I’d happen to have at that moment. Especially, when I was in a great mood.

—–

Well, as I’d said, Ozzy was one of my “influencers” within the rock world (as he was to millions of others). Now, I wasn’t dripping mad about his work and idolized him. But I did love his work.

And “Fire in the Sky” was one of those “early stuff”. What a composition.

—–

“Fire in the Sky”, to me is about our hidden angsts, which were born out of our travels through our lives lived.

From the time when we were born, we had zero expectations of what life would bruise us with. But quickly we are jarred, hit, startled, and ultimately damaged. In small increments or large, the damage is fully identifiable from an emotional and idiosyncratic symposium.

We see this all the time from our basic cable TV stations. Our closest and most identifyable fears are played out in “reality TV” shows every day and every night.

The shows are numerous:  “Hoarders“, “Too Fat for 15”, “Super Nanny“, “Cops”, “UFOs Over Earth”,  to name a few.

And I think from a very myopic viewpoint, the lyrics describe our emotional wreckage that is within each of us. Some large, some small- but all poignant and unforgettable.

“The introduction to his heartache began as a child” describes such start to our lives after birth. What kind of path in life can be clearly influenced the moment of our birth, for it is just pure luck that we get to be born in the situation our mothers bore us.

As many studies have documented in the past and current, we are slates that haven’t been hardened and whenever we are thrown negative or positive actions, it has in effect been recored and harden into that slate.

It’s not all negative, but not all is positive, as well.

For a human being, living and surviving in this reality we call Earth, an emotional crumbling (of the walls) is the final devistation we all don’t want to go through. Everyone has a different tolerance to pain and causes, but emotional breakdowns are final, no matter how you get there.

The “Castles” as Ozzy sings, is what I think of when I think of that very formidable but ultimately fragile “emotional and mental constitution”.

The words Ozzy sings aren’t very definitive. But they are clear for what they are.

—–

A call for help. A call for assistance, can come without crying and/or yelling out.  We humans are very weird that way. We are very fragile animals, from this view point.  Millions go through this, in every country, everyday.

“The Fire in the Sky” hits that emotional note with great instrumentals. Oh and the guitar is by Zakk Wylde– an awesome guitarist. At least IMO.

—–Lyric—–

The introduction to his heartache began as a child
So it’s no wonder that he grew up to be so wild
So he protected his feelings in walls he imagined
But castles crumble exposing the frightened child

Chorus:
Fire in the sky
Can’t you see that all my castles are burning
Fire in the sky
Won’t you help me now my castles are burning

In solitude he couldn’t deal with his own existence
The burning questions in the castles have still remained
God only knows how he searched in vain for the answers
Now castles crumble exposing his naked flames, yeah

Fire in the sky
Can’t you see that all my castles are burning
Fire in the sky
Won’t you help me now my castles are burning
Did you ever see that my castles are burning

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