7.28.2008

Good Luck!

Two to three days of this week are often two to three of the most dreaded days of the year for thousands of people around the country. This week, thousands of people around the nation will be taking the Bar Exam. Here in KY, the state and national essay sections fall on Tuesday, and the MBE (multiple choice) falls on Wednesday.

It's a horrible time that nobody but the most sadistic of sadists enjoy. Having experienced this, Puddin and I both know first-hand that it sucks - and I therefore want to wish my friends who are preparing to suffer through this hell GOOD LUCK. It will all be over in a couple days...well, until waiting for the results begins...and then it sucks all over again.

However, not wanting to leave you on a negative note, I'll attempt to entertain you with a story from my own Bar experience - one that, if you're lucky, won't happen to you. The story comes after the jump.



The Bar Examiners are nazis...so much so, that they restrict what items you can take into the exam room, and in what manner you may take them in. All personal possessions must be carried in a giant zip-lock bag that is inspected when participants walk in the room. There are limits on what one can take into the exam. The limits vary by state, but in Kentucky (and I'm fairly sure in most other states) cell phones cannot be brought into the exam room at all, and the proctors who watch people come in are supposed to check this sort of thing.

I feel compelled to state that I understand these are all precautions to prevent people from cheating and having an unfair advantage over other test-takers, but I do feel some of the restrictions are ridiculous (i.e. in Kentucky, when Puddin and I took the exam, you couldn't even take in a bottle of water....I guess because they were afraid somebody would sneak in lighter fluid and attempt to set everyone on on fire). However, in my opinion, if you're going to mandate these ridiculous restrictions, you must enforce them. And it was a lack of enforcement that caused me to fall prey to the person I like to refer to as "That stupid whore who was sitting right behind me whose fu**ing cell phone started ringing in the middle of the exam".

Let's set the scene - it was the last half of the last day of the exam, and I, like many of my fellow test-takers, am on edge. I'm tired, hungry, stressed out, and can (barely) see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I know I've got at least another 90 minutes before post-test freedom celebrations can begin. I'm doing my best to concentrate as hard as I can, trying to read the questions carefully and not get so distracted that I forget to answer the last 100 questions or so....then it happened.

Apparently the person who was on bag duty when this particular girl walked by wasn't paying enough attention because lo and behold, I heard a sound during the exam that I thought I'd never hear....a cellphone ringing. And it wasn't just a normal phone ring sound, it was a special ringtone. The sheer rage I experienced at that moment prevents me from remembering exactly what song the whore had chosen as her ringtone, but I do have the vague recollection that it was something to the effect of the polyphonic version of "Mambo No. 5".

I was stunned - I couldn't believe it. The person sitting across the table from me looked at me and we exchanged looks of disbelief....then I turned around to see if I could pinpoint this obvious rulebreaker so that I might kill him/her. I saw the perp, a girl, and at this point, she had multiple people looking at her, because they all knew what was going on. Now, she decides to play it off like it's not her cellphone that's ringing, so it just keeps ringing and ringing. Seriously. The person who was calling had to have hung up and immediately called back at least once.

Talking during the Bar Exam is a huge no-no for obvious reasons, but at this point I felt compelled to (not so) quietly whisper to her, "Are you going to turn that fu**ing thing off?" Then she whispers something back I don't hear - and this point, one of the proctors walking around notices the two of us talking, and can apparently see my rage because when she makes it over our way asks me if there's something wrong, to which I reply, "That girl has a cellphone and it just started ringing." The woman clearly does not believe me, as she assumed (as I did) that the bag checkers would not have let something like this happened. But then something like a voicemail or text message notification went off and the woman knew something was wrong.

She then asked the girl if she had a cellphone and if so, was it ringing, and the girl just kind of sat there...and finally answered, "Well, I guess so." You guess so? You guess so? Are you kidding me? You weren't sure that was your cellphone that was just ringing your idiotic ringtone in the middle of a quiet room that you then chose to ignore? Now, I was expecting a harsh response from this woman. Violations of the "bag policy" were rumored to have expulsion type consequences, and I was ready to see this girl go....but no, the woman just said, "Well, I'm going to have to take it from you, but you can get it back at the end of the exam."

Man alive - that's some crazy punishment - I was happy to know that violations of Bar Exam testing policies were met with such fervor and punitive measures as had been threatened. I don't know that my head has ever been as close to exploding as it was at that moment.

Then the proctor asked me if everything was okay. I didn't respond verbally, because I couldn't think of anything to say to someone who had quickly become the number 2 person on my "I'd love to punch you in the face" list. So, dumbfounded, I just looked at her with this perplexed, "Are you f'in kidding me" look on my face until she finally turned around and walked away. She clearly earned her money that day - taking away someone's cellphone....whew...that's a story for the grandkids. I hope she didn't have to go into therapy after that for her clear use of excessive force.

And then, after some deep breaths and visions of violence, I went back to the test.

So there it is, kids - PreView's Bar Exam nightmare - granted, looking back on it, it is kind of funny, but I know at the time I was just ready to kill somebody. So, having experienced that, I can only wish for you (1) bag checkers who are more on the ball, (2) fellow test-takers who have a little bit more respect for their colleagues....and oh yeah, (3) some general good luck so that you can kick the shit out of that damn test :)

-PreView


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7.24.2008

LOST and (not really) Found # 4

As I mentioned before, it finally happened. I’m caught up on Lost.

I’m still digesting most of it, but my thoughts on the last 5 hours of the season are after the jump. As always, beware, there are plenty of spoilers ahead – but if you haven’t watched the finale yet, you’re even farther behind than I was, and that’s pretty bad.



First, where the hell did the island go? And how the hell did it “go” somewhere? I am beyond thoroughly confused on this point, and while I’m sure it will be addressed multiple times on this blog, particularly when the show starts back up, I think for now on this particular issue, I just want to bring up these few questions/points:

(1) The obvious questions are (aside from the two above), what was that wheel Ben was turning to “move” the island, what was the bright light, and why can the person who moves the island never come back?
(2) I don’t believe Dharma put the wheel there – if you remember, Ben had to break through Dharma’s equipment to get to the wheel. Also, on the video Ben had Locke watch, the guy moderating it said that Dharma “believed” what was behind the wall was something like a concentration of negative energy or something like that.
(3) It appears that when Ben turned the wheel, he was in the same outfit that he was in when he ended up in the Sahara desert, with the same cut on his arm, suggesting that he was teleported to that place. But yet another question arises – why did go to the Sahara desert and where did the island go?

Now, on to the man we finally saw in the coffin – I have to admit, I was extremely surprised when we saw it was Locke. Apparently, he was going by the name Jeremy Bentham. Obviously, I wonder what the significance is here. The obvious questions that come up after that are: Why did Locke leave the island? How did he get to the mainland? Why did he contact the Oceanic 6 after he got there? How did he die? (I don’t buy the stated cause of death – suicide – why would he be telling everyone they had to go back to the island and then kill himself?) And why in the world does his body have to go back to the island?

In the conversations the Oceanic 6 had about Jeremy Bentham (Locke), Jack for example, mentioned that Bentham stated that bad things had happened after Jack left, and that Jack was partially responsible for that, and that he had to go back to the island, that all of the Oceanic 6 had to go back.

We learned some more about the flashforwards, i.e. that before bearded, drunk Jack met Kate at the airport, they lived together and were at one point, engaged. However, as Jack kept having visions of his father and drifted back toward the drugs and alcohol, he questioned their relationship and Kate, particularly about her whereabouts on a particular day and she finally admitted she was doing something for Sawyer. What was she doing? She wouldn’t say – however, I believe it was something that had to do with Sawyer’s daughter, Clementine – I think that’s what he whispered to her before he jumped out of the helicopter. Now, while Jack wants to go back to the island, but Kate clearly doesn’t, and I imagine she’ll put up a fight when Ben tells her that she and Aaron must go back, but Ben will probably say something to her regarding Aaron’s safety, something like he won’t ever be safe unless they go back to the island, and eventually, she’ll relent.

Sayid and Hurley are up for going back to the island – and Hurley appears to be back into the full-blown crazy stage, seeing Charlie and Mr. Eko. Whether he is actually crazy remains to be seen.

I’m up in the air about how Sun will feel about going back to the island. Initially, I think she’ll resist, but I also think that Ben will tell her Jin is still alive, and that she can see him if she goes back to the island. Is Jin alive? I don’t know. Do I think there’s a chance he’s still alive? Yes. He knew the boat was about to explode, and I’m sure he knew the helicopter wasn’t going to come back for him, so there is at least a chance he jumped off the boat before it exploded. As a side note, though, I don’t think there’s any chance Michael is still alive. I think an interesting question comes up at this point, though – since Sun was pregnant while they were on the island, will her kid have to go back too?

We also had some interesting flashbacks, and one particularly interesting reference to someone’s past.

We saw two more flashbacks with Locke where he encountered someone from the Dharma initiative and someone who, at least now, is in Charles Widmore’s employ. First, we saw young Locke, at his foster parents’ home, being interviewed by Richard from the Dharma initiative (under the auspice that Richard ran a school for special kids), who asked Locke to pick out certain items that were his. Things seemed to be going well until Locke picked out the knife as being his. Richard asked him if he was sure, young Locke indicated yes, and Richard said no, quickly packed things up and left.

Why was Richard interviewing Locke? How had he even heard about Locke at that point?

Then we have high school Locke, who has been given an opportunity to go to another special program, but Locke instead states that he is interested in boxing, fishing and various other non-geeky activities. I don’t think anyone missed the implication that Locke had been picked on for being so smart.

Was this another attempt by Dharma to recruit Locke? I’d be willing to say yes.

Then we have Mr. Abbadon pushing handicapped Locke around in the wheelchair, telling him that it’s a miracle he’s alive given the injury he suffered, and that he can still do anything he wants, and encouraging him to go on a walkabout.

Here, we clearly learned that Locke had interactions with one of Widmore’s people. I think it’s also clear that this wasn’t happenstance, it was planned. But again, why? How did Widmore know that the Dharma people were interested in Locke? Also, how could Widmore have known that anything beneficial to him would come from Locke visiting Australia?

In other past news, the only flashback we’ve seen on Charlotte was her on some sort of dig in a desert where they found a polar bear skeleton with a Dharma collar on it – this seemed to please her at the time. And while the survivors were preparing to leave the island, Miles asked Charlotte why she was leaving, when she had been trying to get back to the island for so long.

The obvious questions then arise: when was Charlotte previously on the island? Why and how did she leave? Why did she want to go back?

Also, as far as Miles goes, why does he want to stay on the island? He can still hear voices, or spirits, or something, as he was able to detect Rousseau’s death, but what benefit is it of him to stay on the island? To try and weasel money out of Ben again? But even if he were to get it, how would he get off the island?

Finally, the last thing I want to address (for now), is Walt. We see Walt, who has obviously grown up over the past couple years. He visits Hurley and tells him that he thought when the Oceanic 6 got back, somebody would come to see him but nobody did – but then Locke did, and told him some things about the island. Hurley hinted to Walt that people might still be alive on the island, including his dad (which as stated above, I don’t think is true – but I’ve been wrong about Lost-isms before).

How is Walt going to be involved at this point? Is he, too, going to have to go back to the island with the group?

Before I sign off, I’ll leave you with one last question - which I think points out an inconsistency in the story.

Keamy (the mercenary) had what is referred to as a “Dead Man’s Trigger” wired to his body. I know they explained it in the show to a point, that basically, if Keamy’s heart stopped, it would trigger the pounds of C4 explosive they had on the boat. It’s called a Dead Man’s Trigger, because it’s the only time a dead man could pull a trigger, so to speak. (Although I imagine that was pretty obvious to all of you.) Here is the question. With all of the crazy time differences on the island and the real world, the phenomena of people going crazy if they get too close to the island multiple times, and all that weirdness – how is it that this simple radio transmitter could get through all of that and get back to the boat to trigger the explosive, with no problems? I understand that is how the trigger is supposed to work, but how many things on the island go as they are supposed to?

I’m looking forward to the comments – expect another article once some comments have come in and other points have been raised. Also, I’m sure there were some pertinent things I left out, but the notes I took during the shows (yes, I took notes, because I shotgunned five hours at once) are at home, and I’m not. So I’m sure there will be follow-ups.

-PreView

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Continuing the video kick - afro ninja and more

After I posted the video with Rusty, the narcoleptic weiner dog yesterday, I got to thinking about other videos that have really cracked me up over time. I know that most of you will have seen most of these, but I'm posting some more for fun, just to bring back some good laughs. "Afro Ninja" is immediately below this text, and a few others will follow after the jump. Enjoy. (All videos taken from YouTube.)

- PreView





This next video simply shows that while weiner dogs look cute, they could easily be trained to be weapons of mass destruction. Thanks to Mrs. Sheriff to pointing this out to me.




Powerthirst - energy drink spoof - love this one. You've got to hear the sound on this, though, because it definitely adds to the overall feeling.




Before all of the UFC events, they play two songs in the background while getting comments from the fighters in the main events and things like that. I came across this spoof about a year ago before UFC 75 - if you're an MMA fan, you'll get a kick out of it - if not, you won't get quite the kick, but I still think you'll have a good laugh.




Finally, I don't know how many of you may caught any one of David Blaine's street magic specials on TV at three in the morning on the gameshow channel or something, but the next few videos are clearly a spoof of those. For the record, I think David Blaine is awesome (go ahead, Puddin, take your shots), and I think Criss Angel is a tool. Three different spoofs of David Blaine's street magic, shot by the same guys.









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F'in Weiner Dog...

When I signed off on one of my comments in my P4P article with "In with the queen of hearts" I got to thinking about the games Puddin' and I used to play in some of our more boring law school classes. I think our favorite one, besides "1-10", was one where we would IM each other various quotes and things designed to make the other one laugh out loud in class.

Somehow we came across this video of a weiner dog passing out. Needless to say, it's hilarious, but what was more hilarious was one of the comments one of the more eloquent users had posted which read something to the effect of "Fu**ing weiner dog, passing out and sh**." Needless to say, the phrase "Fu**ing weiner dog" got passed back and forth more than once along with "In with the queen of hearts" from the commercial where the guy was imitating an automated phone machine that played the song when put on hold.

In honor of that, and all the fun we had, I'm posting this. Enjoy. And for the record, I still have trouble not laughing every time I see it.

-PreView

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7.23.2008

Who really is the number one pound for pound MMA fighter in the world?

As countless people have stated (myself and Puddin’ included) this past weekend was an historic weekend for MMA. By the way, I went 7-4 in my UFC picks and 10-2 in my Affliction picks, so at least I posted better than 50%.

Given everything that I’ve seen since the two events about whether Fedor Emelianenko is better than Anderson Silva, I’ve decided to offer up my own analysis of who truly is the best pound for pound (P4P) fighter in the world.



SOME BASIC INFO

Fedor Emelianenko
6 Feet Tall, 230 pounds, 31 years old
Nickname: The Last Emperor
26-1 Record (1 No Contest)
Trains out of the Red Devil Sport Club in Russia
Training background: Sambo and Judo
Won World Combat Sambo Championship 4 times, and medaled in the Russian National Judo Championship once.
Was Heavyweight champion in Pride fighting organization when it disbanded in 2006
Current World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts (WAMMA) Champion

Anderson Silva
6 Feet 2 Inches Tall, 185 pounds, 33 years old
Nickname: The Spider
22-4 Record
Trains out of Team Nogueira MMA Academy in Miami (which Silva co-owns with UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira), formerly with the Black House fight team, and prior to that, Chute Boxe.
Current UFC Middleweight Champion
Will coach alongside Lyoto Machida and Antonio Nogueira in the upcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show.

QUALITY OF MOST RECENT OPPONENT

FEDOR VS. SYLVIA
Sylvia outweighed Fedor by 35 pounds and is eight inches taller.
Sylvia (now) has a record of 26-6
Sylvia is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion.
Sylvia has beaten such fighters as Andre Arlovski, Brandon Vera, Jeff Monson, Assuerio Silva, Ricco Rodriguez (when he wasn’t a washed up drunk), Jason Lambert, Ben Rothwell, and Mike Whitehead.

SILVA VS. IRVIN
Irvin and Silva were within a pound of each other at the weigh-in, but since both likely put on at least 15-20 pounds after the weigh-in, there is no telling who weighed more going in.
Irvin (now) has a record of 14-5.
Irvin has beaten such fighters as Houston Alexander, Terry Martin, Bo Cantrell, and Scott Smith

EDGE: Fedor

While I can’t stand Sylvia, I think he was the harder opponent. Irvin is no slouch, but whereas Sylvia is a former UFC champion, it’s arguable that Irvin has really just been on a bit of a lucky streak lately.


FINISH OF MOST RECENT FIGHT

FEDOR VS. SYLVIA
Fedor beat Sylvia via Rear Naked Choke at 36 seconds of the first round.

SILVA VS. IRVIN
Silva beat Irvin via Knockout (Punches) at 1:01 of the first round.

EDGE: Fedor

This was a tough one – both fighters finished their fights early in the first round, and both did it in dominating fashion. Silva was fighting at Light Heavyweight, one weight class above what he normally fights in (but he has fought in LHW before), and Fedor was fighting a fighter who was 8 inches taller and 35 pounds heavier. As I said, it’s tough, but coming down to one of the final factors – time – Fedor was quicker.


QUALITY OF LAST THREE FIGHTS (prior to recent fight)

Fedor
His last three fights were:
Hong Man Choi – 12/31/07
Matt Lindland – 4/14/07
Mark Hunt – 12/31/06
Won all three in the first round by submission

Silva
His last three fights were:
Dan Henderson – 3/1/08
Rich Franklin – 10/20/07
Nate Marquardt – 7/7/07
Won all three, two by TKO, one by submission – none went past the second round.

Edge: Silva

While Fedor’s record may appear slightly more impressive on paper strictly looking at the finishes (3 submission wins, all in the first round), the actual quality of his opponents has been pretty low – Hong Man Choi had only one other pro fight before he fought Fedor, Mark Hunt has wins over Marko “CroCop” Filipovic and Wanderlei Silva (but both of those were two years ago, and now his overall record is 5-4), and Matt Lindland is a great fighter, but he normally fights at Middleweight, and so had to go up two weight classes to fight Fedor, losing speed and power. Additionally, Sylvia was considered by many (myself included) to be Fedor’s first true quality opponent in almost three years. Further, Fedor’s wins came much farther apart than Silva’s. Silva has often said he’d fight every three months if he could – not only do I believe him, I think he’d probably win all the fights.

Silva beat Nate Marquardt, an up and comer in the UFC who has wins over Jeremy Horn and Dean Lister; Rich Franklin, former UFC Middleweight Champion; and Dan Henderson, former Pride Middleweight AND Light Heavyweight Champion, who many thought was going to be Silva’s biggest test. Puddin, GAM and myself all saw this fight live – it was awesome – Henderson did manage to stifle Silva most of the first round, but Silva ultimately capitalized in the second and submitted Henderson.

OVERALL STRENGTH OF RECORD

Edge: Fedor

Fedor has wins over Tim Sylvia, Matt Lindland, CroCop, Mark Coleman, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Kevin Randleman, Gary Goodridge, Heath Herring, Ricardo Arona, Renato “Babalu” Sobral, and Semmy Schilt – and Fedor has beaten some of these people twice, or even three times.

Silva has wins over Dan Henderson, Rick Franklin, Nate Marquardt, Travis Lutter, Chris Leben, Tony Fryklund, Jeremy Horn, Carlos Newton, Hayato Sakurai (who had never been stopped before he faced Silva), and Roan Carneiro.

Both fighters have been fighting since 2000.

While Silva has a number of wins over quality opponents, Fedor’s list is a bit more impressive, with multiple former (and one current) UFC champions. Many of the people on Silva’s list are awesome fighters who have faced a number of quality opponents in their own right, but I just think that overall, Fedor has faced stronger challenges.


FINAL COUNT
Given these factors, Fedor wins 3-1. These points are just, of course, my opinion. I know there are other factors you can take into account, such as the fact that Silva has fought in two different weight classes (Middleweight and Light Heavyweight) and has posted wins in both.

However, Fedor is extremely agile and multi-faceted for a Heavyweight – while many Heavyweight fighters tend to exhibit only one true strongpoint in their fight game (i.e. Nogueira being able to get the crap beat out of him and then still submit someone, or Couture being a great wrestler, or Sylvia being able to give people laugh when he gets beat time and time again), Fedor has exhibited great submission and striking game in addition to his no-nonsense approach to fighting. He never shies away from a fight and always jumps on his opponents regardless of their size or skill – one thing I neglected to mention about Hong Man Choi is that he is 7 Feet 2 Inches tall and weights 352 pounds – and granted, while he only had one other professional fight, Fedor jumped on him and repeatedly attempted takedowns and ultimately submitted him.

I’m a big fan of Fedor, but I’m also a big fan of Silva – I think they both exhibit great skillsets, and are both respectable, admirable fighters. I try not to get into the senseless debates on various forums about which one could beat Chuck Norris quicker, or whether or not Fedor actually killed a bear with a knife (I do believe that), and I think as long as one of the two of them remains in MMA, one of the two of them will always be at the top of the P4P list.

Silva is a very close second in my book, and I think if the UFC manages to bring in some more middleweight talent (i.e. Paulo Filho, Matt Lindland, or have Wanderlei Silva drop down to middleweight), then Anderson might be able to move up the line a bit faster. However, I think that none of those three fights will happen, for various reasons. Further, if Fedor stays with Affliction, he at least has a few good heavyweights to fight – Andre Arlovski, Josh Barnett and Ben Rothwell.

Silva’s next opponent is rumored to be Patrick Cote. Fedor’s next opponent is TBA. Regardless of who it is, though, I’m going to go ahead and say Fedor will still stay at the top of my list after that fight. Cote isn’t a complete can, but he’s nowhere near Silva’s league, and I think Silva will eat him alive in less than a minute. Silva was originally supposed to fight Yushin Okami (who has a win over Silva, via disqualification, so essentially Silva beat himself) but Okami broke his hand.

If Fedor ends up facing any of the above named fighters, it could be an entertaining match. MMA fans are waiting for what many fans consider to be a superfight between Fedor and former UFC Heavyweight (and Light Heavyweight) Champion Randy Couture. Couture is still engaged in a heated legal battle with the UFC, and reports say that, at the earliest, Couture won't be able to fight in another organization until November. However, at 45 years old, Couture isn't getting any younger, and I think it's safe to say that Dana White's (CEO of the UFC) goal is to keep Couture stalled until he's just too old.

So until next time....

-PreView

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7.18.2008

PreView's Picks for UFC Silva vs. Irvin and Affliction: Banned

Puddin commented the other day that this is an historic weekend for MMA - that's quite true, given the facts that the UFC is challenging the Donald Trump backed Affliction in a programming duel on Saturday night, Anderson Silva (arguably the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the world) is trying his hand at a new weight class, and Fedor Emelianenko (also arguably the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the world) is facing his toughest test in about three years in Tim Sylvia.

There are also a number of other quality fighters on the cards this weekend, and some new blood trying to make its way into the UFC. My picks for both events are after the jump.


UFC:
Silva vs. Irvin - Silva

Vera vs. Andy - Vera

Franca vs. Edgar - Edgar

Velasquez vs. O'Brien - Velasquez

Johnson vs. Burns - Johnson

Taylor vs. Dollaway - Taylor

Credeur vs. Yarbrough - Credeur

Farber vs. Markham - Markham

Loughran vs. Rees - Rees

Giboo vs. Blackburn - Giboo

Hartt vs. Gugerty - Hartt

--------------------------------------------------------

Affliction:

Sylvia vs. Fedor - Fedor

Barnett vs. Rizzo - Barnett

Buentello vs. Aleksander Emelianenko (Fedor's little bro) - Emelianenko

Babalu vs. Whitehead - Whitehead

Negao vs. Lindland - Lindland

Hominick vs. Young - Hominick

Arlovski vs. Rothwell - Arlovski

Belfort vs. Martin - Belfort

Ambrose vs. Pyle - Pyle

Dewees vs. Nogueira (UFC HW Champ's Twin) - Nogueira

Levens vs. Lazama - Levens

It's going to be a big weekend - I hope some of you are able to check it out.

- PreView


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It finally happened!

So I finally forced myself to have a little TV marathon the other night and watched Lost....and yes, it was awesome. Hopefully I'll have an article up by Monday on all of the conspiracy theories running through my head.

-PreView

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